Difference Between Barcode and QR Code

Barcode vs QR Code | Barcode vs Quick Response Code

Barcode and QR codes are methods of storing data using geometrical figures, which can be read using optical devices.


Barcode refers to a method of storing data using geometrical figures. The basic technology of the barcodes was developed in the 1970`s in United States, and became popular in 1980`s for the purpose of tagging goods with product information that can easily be read and recorded by means of computers.

Initial barcodes were one dimensional barcodes, where the code is a series of black stripes in white background. This particular pattern was inspired by the Morse code, where long and short dashes are used; therefore, it is best described as an optical Morse code. The optical detection methods for the code were based on the optical soundtracks used in movies.

There are numerous ways in which these lines can be arranged to represent a detail; a standard for these arrangements to represent details and figures is known as symbology. Universal Product Code (UPC/EAN), Interleaved 2 of 5 (I of 5), Codabar, Code 39, and Code 128 are examples for the symbologies used in barcodes. Symbology specification documents the standard that contains:

• Definition for the width of the bars and spaces.

• Method for defining each encodable characters (whether numeric only or full ASCII).

• The free space required for undisturbed reading of the code.

• Start and stop characters for the code.

• Check character support for the code

For reading barcodes a barcode scanner is used, where reflected light from the barcode is measured and interpreted inside a computer; computer converts the code into human language using the symbology.

Barcodes are very popular in supermarkets where product information can be stored easily and accessed fast, which help to speed up the processes. Postal services around the world use barcodes. Barcodes are relatively inexpensive, and help businesses enhance speed and efficiency. Therefore shipping lines, couriers and many other industries use it.

Barcode can be developed to use geometrical patterns, such as squares and hexagons, other than stripes. This method is known as two dimensional barcodes, where the heights of the symbols also carry information, not only the width.

QR Code

QR code is a two dimensional barcode system developed by Denso wave (a subsidiary corporation of Toyota) to track vehicles during the manufacturing. QR code stands for Quick Response Code. It is adopted by ISO and now has become a global standard for storing product information.

They have a square appearance because information is stored both vertically and horizontally. Therefore, the capacity of the QR codes is much higher than the barcodes and can store thousands of alphanumeric codes.

What is the difference between Barcode and QR Code (Quick Response Code)?

• Both barcode and QR code are ways of storing information using geometric figure so they can be retrieved by optical devices.

• Usually barcode refers to a single dimensional barcode while QR code is a type of a 2-dimensional barcode.

• Barcodes store information vertically only, whereas QR codes store information both horizontally and vertically.

• QR code has a larger capacity for storing information than the barcode.

• Barcodes can store only alphanumeric data, whereas QR codes can store alphanumeric characters, other language symbols, pictures, voice, and other binary information.

• QR has no data correction while barcode has data correction.

• Barcode depends on the database while QR code is independent of the database requirements.