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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Codabar is a linear barcode symbology developed in 1972 by Pitney Bowes Corp. ([1]). It is also known as Codeabar, Ames Code, NW-7, Monarch, Code 2 of 7, Rationalized Codabar, ANSI/AIM BC3-1995 or USD-4.

Library Book Barcode

Although Codabar has not been registered for US federal trademark status, its hyphenated variant Code-a-bar is a registered trademark ([2]).

It was designed to be accurately read even when printed on dot-matrix printers for multi-part forms such as FedEx airbills and blood bank forms, where variants are still in use as of 2007. Although newer symbologies hold more information in a smaller space, Codabar has a large installed base in libraries. It is even possible to print Codabar codes using typewriter-like impact printers, which allows the creation of a large number of codes with subsequent numbers without having to use any digital equipment. After each printed code, the printer's stamp is mechanically turned to the next number, as for example in mechanical mile counters.

Check digit

Because Codabar is self-checking, most standards do not define a check digit.

The variants of Codabar in commercial and public use will sometimes define a proprietary check digit.

For instance in an all-numeric string, the check digit algorithm might double the odd digits, take modulo 9, sum the results with the even digits, and represent the total in modulo 10. ([3])


Depending on the particular specification, for example the Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility's Uniform Symbol Specification, the body of a Codabar string may only encode the numerals 0 through 9. Some variants allow the symbols dollar, dash, plus sign, colon, slash, and dot. ([4])

The alphabet characters A, B, C, D, and in some specifications, E, N, asterisk, and T are used in matching pairs to mark the beginning and end of the barcode. They do not appear in the body of a Codabar string.

Each character comprises 7 binary identifiers (4 bars and 3 spaces). Each identifier or element is made up of a certain multiple of constant-width modules. Different specifications allow for different width modules, the smallest being 0.0065 inches, allowing 11 characters per inch to be encoded. Logical 0s and 1s are represented by narrow and wide elements respectively. ([5])

Char. Pattern Bars Spaces
0 lll l 0001 001
1 lll l 0010 001
2 ll ll 0001 010
3 l lll 1000 100
4 lll l 0100 001
5 lll l 1000 001
6 l lll 0001 100
7 l lll 0010 100
8 l lll 0100 100
9 ll ll 1000 010
- ll ll 0010 010
$ ll ll 0100 010
: 'lll'l 1011 000
/ 'l'lll 1101 000
. l'l'll 1110 000
+ ll'l'l 0111 000
A or T ll l l 0100 011
B or N l l ll 0001 110
C or * ll l l 0001 011
D or E ll l l 0010 011

External links

  • EAN MediaWiki extension, a MediaWiki extension, visualizing Codabar/Code39/EAN-13/EAN-8/UPC-A barcodes by specifying only the numbers/symbols in the wiki-text.


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