2D Barcode Learning Centre
2D Barcode Learning Centre

2D Barcode Learning Centre

Have you found yourself asking ‘What are 2D barcodes?’. If you have questions relating to barcodes, then rest assured Matthews has the answer. With over four decades worth of experience in product coding, labelling, automatic data capture and inspection, we have seen everything – and implemented and developed an excellent solution.

2D Barcodes By Application

Whether you’re exporting, or want to connect with your customers and trading partners, or protect your high-value brand from counterfeiters, we have the answers to guide you in how to use 2D barcodes.

If you’re looking for information on how to transition to two-dimensional bar codes, use them at retail POS to better manage stock, or are wanting to learn how GS1 2D barcodes are used in the supply chain from packing houses to logistics, this section on 2D Barcodes by Application will help you.

2D Barcodes for Retailers

Get the advantage of 2D barcodes at point of sale for better stock management, less waste, and faster recalls.

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2D Barcodes for Brand Owners

Connect your customers and trading partners to more product information, so you can protect your brand and build greater brand trust.

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2D Barcodes for Production Managers

What you need to know to streamline the transition to 2D barcodes.

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2D Barcodes for Quality Control Managers

Make sure 2D barcodes scan right every time and prevent costly mistakes – here’s what you need to know to streamline the transition to 2D barcodes.

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2D Barcodes for Exporters

Protect your brand from counterfeiters and improve brand trust with overseas customers. See how 2D barcodes provide the solution.

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2D Barcodes for Small Business Owners

Protect your high value products and build trust amongst your customers and trading partners with 2D barcodes.

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2D Barcodes for Transport and Logistics

Learn how 2D barcodes are used in Transport and Logistics, and what’s coming next.

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2D Barcodes by Industry

Two Dimensional Barcodes are ideal to use in industries from fresh produce, dairy, eggs and meat, to infant formula and ready meals, through to electrical goods such as televisions and PCs.

How? The amount and type of data embedded in 2D barcodes means they can help businesses better manage stock. No more selling expired food products means reduced waste and increased customer safety. The detailed information in GS1 2D bar codes helps manufacturers ensure each component has been included in finished goods. And, of course, the data embedded in 2DB simplifies the recall process.

2D Barcodes in Fresh Produce

One of the first industries to embrace data embedded barcodes, there are many advantages for fresh produce.

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2D Barcodes in Meat, Poultry & Seafood

An industry quick to take up 2D barcodes, the meat, seafood & poultry industry has really benefited.

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2D Barcodes in Ready Meals / Food Service

As Australia’s fresh, ready-meal market is booming, find out how 2D barcodes can benefit your business.

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2D Barcodes in Dairy & Eggs

The ability for consumers to quickly and clearly discover brand stories will unlock major benefits for these industries including eggs, creams and speciality milks.

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2D Barcodes in Infant Formula

At Matthews we've been working closely with the infant formula industry for a number of decades to assist with supplying next generation coding and labelling solutions.

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2D Barcode Basics

GS1 2D barcodes are becoming more commonly used. This section explains firstly what Two Dimensional Barcodes are, the differences to “normal” or 1D bar codes, the benefits of Two Dimensional Barcodes and how you print them.

What is a 2D barcode and how does it work?

2D barcodes are two-dimensional barcodes that are embedded with data.

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How do I create a 2D barcode?

Before you create a 2D barcode, consider your product, equipment, and processes.

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How do 1D and 2D barcodes compare?

2D barcodes differ from traditional 1D barcodes with a smaller design and ability to hold a greater amount of information.

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What are the benefits of 2D barcodes?

The benefits of 2D barcodes across applications comes down to the fact that they can hold a large amount of information in a small space.

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2D Barcode Learning Guides

2D barcodes are all the same, right? Not quite. There are different types of Two Dimensional Barcodes just like there are different types of coffee. In this section, you can learn exactly what a DataMatrix code, a QR code and a GS1 DigitalLink code are. By understanding the differences between them, you will know when each can be used. We've also included a fact sheet on GS1 Barcode Standards, so you will be confident that your GS1 2D bar codes scan properly.

All Things 2D - Related Topics & Articles

This section contains fact sheets about a host of Two Dimensional Barcode topics, from practical pointers on how to get started, what equipment you’ll need and tips on printing them properly. We’ve also included articles on using 2D barcodes in promotional coding and serialisation, along with some interesting background on RFID codes and the introduction of GS1 2D bar codes to Australia.

2D Barcodes - an Introduction to Application Identifiers

Don’t know what an application identifier in a 2D barcode is? This short video gives you all the basics, from what they are, the information they hold and their uses, to how you can check them on your phone.


2D Barcode FAQs

Looking for some quick answers about GS1 2D bar codes? Here are some short answers to the most frequently asked questions we get. You can also find more information on these Two Dimensional Barcodes in the sections above.

What are 2D barcodes?

While they look a little like crossword puzzles, 2D barcodes are, in fact, a barcode just like the “traditional line bar codes” that we’re used to seeing. Usually square, but sometimes rectangular in shape, data is embedded in the tight groupings of small dots. Like more information? Learn more here about what a 2D barcode is.

How do 2D barcodes work?

Two Dimensional Barcodes work the same as linear bar codes, also known as 1D barcodes; scanning reveals the embedded information, which can include the use by/best before date, price, product weight, batch/lot or serial number, GTIN and information such as the producer name’s and grower’s ID number. Like more information? Discover more about how 2D barcodes work.

What types of 2D barcodes exist? Is there just one type of 2D barcode?

No, there are actually two main types of 2D barcodes.

The most commonly used is the GS1 DataMatrix format, which has an even number of rows and columns and a “light” square in the top right corner. This format is often used to mark small, individual objects (think fresh produce) and is currently being used by Woolworths.

The second type of Two Dimensional Barcode is the QR code. This format is not used in retail POS, rather is used on packaging to engage consumers, who can easily scan these codes with their smartphone.

Like more information? Delve here into detail about DataMatrix and QR codes.

What are the benefits of 2D barcodes?

Quite simply, because of the amount of data that can be embedded in 2D barcodes, along with the fact it’s dynamic and not static, 2D barcodes offer businesses greater traceability, and higher levels of food safety for the end consumer, the retailer and the food manufacturer.

Like more information? Discover more benefits of 2D barcodes.

What is the difference between 1D and 2D barcodes?

Apart from the obvious answer of their shape and size, one of the main differences between 1D, or linear, and 2D barcodes is that Two Dimensional Barcodes can hold a lot more information. They also differ in the type of data they can hold and the type of equipment needed to scan them.

The two areas where 1D and 2D barcodes don’t differ are that both types need white space around them to scan properly (this is also known as “a barcode quiet zone”), and both barcode formats are regulated by GS1’s standards worldwide.

Like more information? See here for more about the differences between 1D and 2D barcode formats.

How do I print 2D barcodes?

You can use a variety of different technologies to print 2D barcodes – laser, thermal transfer overprinter (TTO), label applicators and label printer applicators (LPA). This applies whether you're printing a DataMatrix code or a QR code.

The type of printer you use depends upon your business and what your product is. Start with how to create a 2D barcode, then learn more here about printing and labelling 2D barcodes. To make sure you choose the right technology for your needs, it’s wise to talk early in your 2D barcode adoption journey with the experts. That way you’ll be able to print compliant 2D bar codes, which scan without problems every time. Ask for help on adopting 2D barcodes here.

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