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Bar code to 2D Code
from DENSO WAVE Inc.

Bar codes have become widely popular because of their reading speed, accuracy, and superior functionality characteristics.

As bar codes became popular and their convenience universally recognized, the market began to call for codes capable of storing more information, more character types, and that could be printed in a smaller space.

As a result, various efforts were made to increase the amount of information stored by bar codes, such as increasing the number of bar code digits or layout multiple bar codes.

However, these improvements also caused problems such as enlarging the bar code area, complicating reading operations, and increasing printing cost.

2D Code emerged in response to these needs and problems

Multiple bar code layout


2D Code with stacked bar codes (stacked bar code type)


2D Code (matrix type)

2D Code is also progressing from the stacked bar code method (that stacks bar codes), to the increased information density matrix method.

About QR Code

QR Code is a kind of 2-D (two-dimensional) symbology developed by Denso Wave (a division of Denso Corporation at the time) and released in 1994 with the primary aim of being a symbol that is easily interpreted by scanner equipment.

QR Code contains information in both the vertical and horizontal

QR Code (2D Code) contains information in both the vertical and horizontal directions, whereas a bar code contains data in one direction only. QR Code holds a considerably greater volume of information than a bar code.


Typical 2D Code

In addition to QR Code, some other kinds of 2D Code have been developed. Below is a table of typical 2D Code and their features.

QR Code PDF417 DataMatrix Maxi Code
Developer(country) DENSO(Japan) Symbol Technologies (USA) RVSI Acuity CiMatrix (USA) UPS (USA)
Type Matrix Stacked Bar Code Matrix Matrix
Data capacity Numeric 7,089 2,710 3,116 138
Alphanumeric 4,296 1,850 2,355 93
Binary 2,953 1,018 1,556
Kanji 1,817 554 778
Main features Large capacity, small printout size
High speed scan
Large capacity Small printout size High speed scan
Main usages All categories OA FA Logistics
Standardization AIM International
AIM International
AIM International
AIM International



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