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GS1 barcode types

EAN was the European name for a group of barcode standards which have their counterparts in the US UCC standards and the Japanese JAN standards. These standards define several different barcode types used for traded articles. Many of the organisations responsible for these standards formed GS1 to coordinate the standards worldwide, and the individual organisation have renamed themselves to reflect this change. Thus the E-Centre in the UK has become GS1-UK. Similarly many of the standards appear to be in the process of being rename; thus the barcode type EAN-128 is now known as GS1-128.

The discussion on this page uses the older nomenclature.

GS1-13 / EAN-13

EAN-13 is the main scheme used throughout Europe for retail article numbering and is identical to UCC-13 used in the USA. It is a numeric only coding scheme. The > symbol in the right margin is a light margin indicator. In the left margin the first code digit is used as the margin indicator. No other marking should appear in the light margins.

  GS1-13 barcode image     GS1-13

EAN codes require 13 digits (12 if the check digit is calculated automatically. Numbers used for EAN article numbering are assigned by the country’s GS1 member organisation - see http://www.gs1.org/

EAN-13 check digits may be determined using the dLSoft check digit calculator

GS1-13 symbols may contain a 2 or 5 digit supplementary:

  EAN-13 with 2 digit supplementary      EAN-13 +2


  EAN-13 plus 5 digit supplementary    EAN-13 +5

Note that there is not a one to one correspondence between bars and the code numbers.

GS1-8 / EAN-8

EAN-8 is a smaller and shortened version of the EAN code.

  EAN-8 barcode image    EAN-8

EAN-8 requires 8 digits (7 if the check digit is calculated automatically by dLSoft products), and support 2 and 5 digit supplementaries.

EAN-8 check digits may be determined using the dLSoft check digit calculator

GS1-14 barcodes

14 digit GTINs may be represented by ITF or EAN128/UCC128 barcodes, and modern implementations should use EAN128/UCC128 – so that is what the dLSoft barcode libraries use.  GS1-14 barcodes may be constructed from 12/13 digit retail UPC/EAN/UCC barcode numbers by left-filling the numbers with zeros, and use a special checkdigit.

EAN-14 in EAN128 barcode form may be created by providing 13 digits; the Logistical Variant digit (normally 0 in the UK) followed by the first 12 of the retail digits (eg. from EAN-13 numbers but without EAN's check digit). Creation from UPC-A numbers requires two 0s followed by the first 11 digits of the UPC-A barcode number without the check digit. dBarcode calculates the EAN-14 check digit if Auto-checkdigit is enabled, and then produces the EAN128 barcode.

GS1-14 barcode image

EAN-14 check digits may be determined using the dLSoft check digit calculator

GS1-128 barcodes

GS1-128 barcodes (formerly EAN-128 or UCC-128) are modern very high density codes. The scheme is based on Code 128 but is distinguished from it by having its first character as an FNC1 character.

  EAN-14 barcode image     EAN-14

 GS1-128 barcodes commonly include Application Identifiers (the characters enclosed in brackets) which identify the function of the characters following the brackets. Application Identifiers are defined by GS1, and some examples are shown below:

Users of GS1-128 should note that while there is a nominal size for these symbols (31.8 mm high and 11*n+2 mm long, where n is the number of characters including control codes), many applications of these codes use recommended sizes of between 50% and 84% of nominal.

GS1 Databar barcodes

The GS1 DataBar symbology - formerly known as EAN.UCC Reduced Space Symbology (RSS) - is a family containing three linear symbologies and three stacked variants, known as GS1-DataBar barcodes.

For more information see GS1-Databar barcodes

GS1 Composite barcodes

GS1 Composite symbols consist of one of the above linear barcode components associated with an adjacent 2D component which is used for encoding supplementary data – such as a batch number or expiration date. The linear component should be scannable by normal 1D scanners even though such scanner may ignore the 2D component.

For more information see GS1 Composite barcodes



ITF is a large barcode intended for use on the outside of packing cases and scanning a a distance. In this form it most commonly uses the same code and EAN-13, but with a LEADING 0. If a check digit is calculated by dLSoft products for this code then the EAN-13 check digit is produced.

Modern implementations tend to use GS1-128/EAN-128 barcodes rather than ITF barcodes.

ITF barcode for packing case

(shown reduced in size)

The horizontal bars supporting the bars of the barcode are called Bearer Bars, and these are recommended rather than mandatory.

ITF barcode for packing case with print gauges

(shown reduced in size)

Similarly optional H printer gauge marks (and the accompanying extra light margin space) are optional, because these were also features of older printing technologies, designed to check for impression depth and ink spread.


A shortened version of this code is ITF-6

  ITF-6 barcode image       ITF-6


The ITF 6 code is not intended to have H gauges.

Note that these ITF codes use the same encoding scheme but are intended for different uses than Interleaved 2 of 5 (I-2of5)