A guide to barcodes for products and outer cases
Express Guide to GS1 Barcode Symbols for Retail and Logistics

A short introduction to barcode numbers and symbols for products and outer cases.

What is a barcode?

A barcode is simply data printed in a machine-readable format. A barcode scanner works by measuring the widths of the bars and the spaces in a barcode symbol. The white space is just as important as the dark bars!


What types of barcode symbol are there?

There are different types of barcode symbol depending uponthe product or package and where the item is going to be scanned e.g. a supermarket checkout vs a warehouse. In this guide we describe the most commonly used types of barcodes and how they should be printed.

What is a GTIN?

The word "barcode" typically refers to the printed symbol or image (the black bars). A GTIN or Global Trade Item Number on the other hand is the official term for the "barcode number" printed under a symbol. A GTIN is created from a special prefix licenced to organisations by a GS1 office.


Download your free copy of our short guide today to better understand the basics of product barcodes.


Tel: +353 1 208 0660
Email: helpdesk@gs1ie.org
Registered in Ireland as GS1 (Global Standards 1 (Ireland)). Co. No. 404327. A Company Limited by Guarantee trading as GS1 Ireland. 
Office Address:  Second Floor The Merrion Centre, Nutley Lane, Dublin 4, D04 KF62, Ireland.