GS1 Databar

1D Symbologies

Symbology GS1 Databar

GS1 DataBar barcodes (formerly known RSS or Reduced Space Symbology) are most commonly used in retail and healthcare.

Unlike UPC and EAN barcodes, a GS1 DataBar barcode can encode all 14 digits of a manufacturer’s GTIN (Global Trade Item Number). This makes it ideal for retailers to identify small and hard-to-mark items such as fresh produce and pharmaceutical goods.

A GS1 DataBar, which is 50% smaller than UPC and EAN symbols, can also encode additional identifiers, such as an item’s weight or price, used at the point of sale.

The GS1 DataBar is a family of seven one-dimensional linear symbologies used within the GS1 system.

Four of the seven (omnidirectional, stacked omnidirectional, expanded stacked and expanded) are explicitly used by retailers at the point of sale.

Characteristics of a GS1 DataBar barcode

  • Encodes a 14-digit GTIN (Global Trade Identification Number) plus Application Identifiers, which allow additional information (including price, weight or expiry date) to be encoded.
  • Valid Application Identifiers are defined in the GS1 specification.
  • Supports variable length data content.
  • Verifies barcode data by an implicit checksum.
  • Does not require quiet zones around the barcode.
  • Standardized use through the ISO/IEC 24724 international standard.

Application areas

GS1 DataBar barcodes are used by retailers (particularly in point-of-sale checkout operations) and in healthcare to identify items that are too small to allow for traditional barcode types or where additional information needs to be encoded, such as product weight, expiration dates, or serial numbers.


A wide variety of devices can read GS1 DataBar barcodes. While the first barcode scanners were laser-based, today any smart device with a camera can read GS1 DataBar barcodes if the right software is installed.

Scandit’s barcode scanning software supports all major barcode types, including GS1 DataBar barcodes.

Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK specifically:

  • Supports omnidirectional, truncated and stacked GS1 DataBar barcodes.
  • Supports normal and expanded stacked GS1 DataBar barcodes.
  • Enforces strict standard adherence to eliminate false positives in blurry, irregular or damaged barcodes.
  • Supports Limited GS1 DataBar barcodes, enabling scanning codes with quiet zones (white area before and after the code) that are significantly smaller than the symbology specification allows.
  • ScanditParser supports version 20.0 of the GS1 Application Identifier definitions standard.

GS1 DataBar Barcode Scanner

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GS1 DataBar code FAQs

What is a GS1 DataBar Limited code?

A GS1 DataBar Limited barcode is a fixed-length symbology that can store 14 numeric digits, including a check digit. It encodes Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) that begin with ‘0’ or ‘1’. GS1 DataBar Limited barcodes are designed for very small item identification and are mainly used in healthcare or where omnidirectional scanning is not required.

How do GS1 codes work?

GS1 introduced the barcode in 1974 to encode a product identification number that can be scanned electronically, making it easier for products to be tracked. There are many different barcodes within the GS1 system.

GS1 is the only authorized provider of Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) – the number you see under a barcode, which is unique to a product. Retailers and healthcare providers use the GS1 system to generate and use different GS1 barcodes to identify, sell and manage their products globally.

What is the difference between UPC-A and GS1 DataBar?

Both the UPC-A and GS1 DataBar codes are high density barcodes. However the GS1 DataBar code is over 50% smaller and can encode 14 numerical digits whereas UPC-A barcodes only encode 12 digits.

How do I generate a GS1 DataBar barcode?

To generate a GS1 DataBar barcode you first need a GTIN (Global Trade Identification Number) from the organization GS1. You will need to sign up to GS1, then log in to create your GTINs and GS2 DataBar barcodes.

Can I reuse my GS1 barcode?

You can’t reuse GS1 barcodes unless you’re producing a second run or batch of the same previously barcoded product. A barcode assigns a unique number to each product which it keeps, regardless if the product is still available on the market or not.

GS1 DATABAR Variations:

  • Symbology GS1 Databar Limited GS1 DataBar Limited
  • Symbology GS1 Databar Expanded Stacked GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked
  • Symbology GS1 Databar Expanded GS1 DataBar Expanded
  • Symbology GS1 Databar Stacked Omni GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional
  • Symbology GS1 Databar Stacked GS1 DataBar Stacked
  • Symbology GS1 Databar Truncated GS1 DataBar Truncated
  • Symbology GS1 Databar Omni GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional