Barcode ID Badges

1-D Barcode ID Cards

1-D Barcode ID Card

Barcode ID badges are one of the most widely used forms of encoded ID cards and are easy to create, as the information in a barcode can be encoded onto an ID card during the regular ID card printing process.

A barcode consists of a group of printed and variously patterned bars and spaces of numeric or alpha numeric data, scanned and read by a barcode reader to verify cardholder identity. Barcodes can include detailed personalized data such as a cardholder’s name, address, department, employee number, access authorizations, training status, expiring date and biometric fingerprint or portrait data, depending on the type of barcode used.

There are two kinds of barcodes, 1-D and 2-D. One-dimensional linear barcodes (1-D) consist of a single row of bars, which store less data than two-dimensional barcodes, making them best for applications that need only encode a few characters, such as a single unique character string used as a pass code in secure access control ID card systems. The data stored on 1-D barcodes is highly redundant, making them more resistant to data degradation. 1-D barcodes are usually printed along the length of an ID card, and are read using swipe style ID card readers, with either visible or infrared sensors.

2-D Barcode ID cards

2-D Barcode ID card

Two dimensional (2D) barcodes store more information than 1-D barcodes, and appear as a matrix of variable sized square dots, usually read by a raster-scanning beam sensor in a hand held barcode reader “gun”, or in fixed supermarket style ID card readers which don’t require swiping. 2-D barcodes can encode up to 500 bytes per square inch, making it possible to store biometric data such as fingerprint and signature capture, or compressed versions of cardholder portraits. This feature is unique to 2-D barcodes and is not available with 1-D linear barcodes. Since 2-D barcodes do not require swiping and are very tolerant of artefacts, physical wear should not be a problem, but a potential downside to using 2-D barcodes is the higher cost of their ID card barcode scanners.

The “height” of a barcode is not important, but the higher each bar is the easier it will be for a barcode reader to read it. About 0.4 inch (1 cm) centered on the ID card reader sensor is normally sufficient.

Barcodes are susceptible to being copied so it’s important to consider if possible security breaches due to copied barcodes will adversely affect your operations. Barcode ID cards also pose the risk of potentially becoming physically damaged due to the manner in which they are usually used, i.e. being repeatedly swiped or heavily handled. Despite these risks, the major advantage of a barcode ID card is 2-D barcode’s capacity for data encoding, which can be up to 500 bytes per square inch. Some of this data will normally be used for error correction encoding, making 2D barcodes remarkably tolerant of holes, cuts and dirt marks.

Barcodes should always be printed using the Black Resin K panel of an ID card printer ribbon because this color is opaque to both visible and infrared sensors. As a security measure it is possible to print a black resin barcode on top of a dark YMC color panel in such a way that it cannot be photocopied, but it will still be able to be read by an infrared swipe reader.

Contact us today at or call 800-965-5932 to learn more about barcode ID cards and how they can improve your ID card system. We provide excellent customer service!

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