Two-Dimensional Barcode

What Does Two-Dimensional Barcode Mean?

A two-dimensional barcode (2-D barcode) provides information storage on both horizontal and vertical axes. This graphic image can be printed, embedded on a digital screen or otherwise presented for scanning and analysis.

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Two-dimensional barcodes are also known as matrix barcodes or matrix codes.

Techopedia Explains Two-Dimensional Barcode

One of the most common uses of 2-D barcodes is in smartphone reading. A phone can be equipped with a barcode reader that quickly and effectively gets information from the 2-D barcode. This can be used for product services, dissemination of news or other purposes. One of the main benefits of 2-D barcodes is that they increase data storage capacity by several orders of magnitude. With the ability to store over 7000 individual characters, 2-D codes provide a large amount of information that is easily accessible by some of today’s top technologies.

In a Quick Response (QR) code, one of the most common types of 2-D bar codes, the design includes a finder pattern, an arrangement of squares that shows the scanner how big a QR code is and how it is positioned. There is also an alignment pattern, another pattern that provides accuracy for scanners. These 2-D codes are often "redundant" in the sense that they have a particular "margin of error" so that the code can be compromised and still be read well by a scanner.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.