What is Barcode and QR code? Explained in Detail


In your daily life, you might have come across many images that look crazy with some black dots, squares, and black rectangular stripes on them. Nowadays these images can be found on almost every product including eatables, books, money transition apps like phones and paytm, dresses, cosmetics, electronic gadgets, and all that we can get easily from the market for daily use purposes.     
What is Barcode and QR code? Explained in Detail

These images with lines and squares called barcodes or QR codes are found on everything from cereal boxes to serial killers that store pieces of information in sequences of lines that can be read and interpreted by machines.       

But have you ever imagined where they came from, how it was invented, how these codes are made, In what way it is used to simplify the works, how information is stored on these images, and finally how you can make your own codes?
Ok friends, I m gonna cover all these topics in this article so that you will be aware while accessing these images.


Norman Joseph Woodland was the one to give the idea of a barcode. All this started when a small food seller realized to find that it was hard to keep a record of their list and their prices. So he decided to find an effective solution. And he approached the Drexel Institute of Technology so that he could give a practical answer to the problem arising in his head.
Bernard Silver of the Institute accepted the challenge and started working on the problem. They tried to find an automated solution to keep records of the items sold. Soon Barnard Silver felt with some of his students that the answer lies in ultraviolet rays, scanners, and ink. And ultimately, both Silver and Woodland filed the patent application and brought this barcode into the market
Norman and Silver theorized this work by taking inspiration from morse code dots and dashes. They threw a bright light at a series of elongated dots and dashes, then used a machine to read the pattern of reflection back to a receiver. It uses a concept of absorption where black absorbs light and light reflects it.

Now barcodes became the most efficient way to quickly read a string of alphanumeric characters but while all barcodes look pretty similar to the naked eye and share common features like a start and end code so they can be read correctly regardless of orientation There are a variety of different standards with different characteristics with UPC being the most common that encode data in different fashions and can only be read by compatible scanners and software.
It helps the industry and market by quickly reading the stocking codes for groceries, dramatically simplifying record keeping, and speeding up the customer’s experience in one nip. 

With the same concept, QR codes were invented in 1994 by Denso Wavenow QR(Quick Response) codes are being utilized to keep more information in a squared image. A barcode only keeps information in a horizontal direction, whereas a QR code can keep information in both horizontal and vertical directions or it is a 2D format. Because of this, a QR code keeps hundreds of times more information than one barcode.


What is Barcode and QR code? Explained in Detail

Both Barcodes and QR codes work on the same principle i.e, absorption of rays. When bright rays are allowed to fall on these codes, black dots or lines absorb the rays whereas white or empty space reflects rays back to the receiver. According to this interpretation is made and information is decrypted. Barcodes need a special machine to scan them.

But QR code being 2D stores more information than barcodes. So QR codes use a higher-level technique to decrypt the data.

As I said QR code is 2-dimensional codes in which black blocks contain data in encrypted form. These black blocks are encoded with URLs, Phone numbers, SMS, email message, PDF, etc.

Normal barcodes contain rectangular strips and lines which are of different width and contains data that is interpreted by the software by scanning the barcode. 

Similarly, the QR code of each block contains data, after scanning the code, the location of blocks is interpreted by the software and a combination of data of these blocks merge together to form a specific URL, Phone numbers, etc. 
As you can see from the image shown above that the patterns which are known as alignment, are used to assist in the navigation of larger codes while timing patterns determine the size of modules.

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Basically, these can be scanned by QR code Reader and by Mobile phone with the help of apps. Some smartphones come with a pre-installed QR code reader. 
Now how to scan QR codes?
Simply follow these steps-

  • Open the downloaded or pre-installed QR code reader app. 
  • Then you will see your back camera on which a square is displayed. 
  • Now you just need to place that square on your QR code then you will automatically visit that site.

After attempting these methods, if still the task is not completed then there may be an error in that code

Barcode scanners are nothing but a source of red light. They glow red LED light on black and white barcode patterns and then read the patterns of light which are reflected back to a string of light-sensitive CCD or photo-electrochemical cells. As the light passes through the barcode it generates on-off pulses that correspond to black and white backgrounds. Barcodes have a sequence of black and white strips and when light

What is Barcode and QR code? Explained in Detail

What is Barcode and QR code? Explained in Detailmoves past these black-white bars from left to right, it will read it as on-off-on-off-on-on-and so on until the stopping code comes. After that, an electronic circuit attached to the scanner converts these on-off to binary digits 1-0-1-0-1 and then the computer detects these binary digits.

Different types of barcode scanners are available for various purposes but generally, oversized razors type scanners are dominant in the market.
Now it is also possible to scan these barcodes using smartphone apps.

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Normally barcodes are used on grocery stores, clothes, eatables, pharmacy products, and electric bills so that barcodes can be scanned to keep all the necessary documents. They are not created for personal use, whereas QR codes can be utilized for both commercial and individual purposes. We can make our own QR code and keep the necessary data and information embedded in it. We can use the QR code to store visiting cards, websites, PhonePe, and Paytm Numbers so that transitions can be made easily by just scanning, storing emails, Photos, And all those details which we do manually by typing.
Barcodes have 95 white and black strips Out of 95 blocks, 12 blocks are used to assign numbers. Each number has its own significance and indicates various particulars 

Numbers are assigned according to their importance and use-

What is Barcode and QR code? Explained in Detail


  • The number written on the right-hand side of the center bar represents the materials of the product whether it is made up of plastic or natural things, vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
  • In the given picture. If “2” is written in the place of  0; then it shows that the product is either vegan or non-vegan. And if “3” is present instead of 0, it shows the product of the pharmacy or medicine
  • The number written on the left-hand side of the center bar indicates the item number or product code
  • The number present near the left bar i.e, the first 2-3 numbers from the left (“0”, “5” and”1″) shows the country code where the product is manufactured.
  • The last digit of the right side ( Here “7” )is the check digit which ensures that whether the given information has been properly scanned by the barcode reader or not                     

Barcodes are actually designed by the GS1 company.GS1 is a not-for-profit organization that develops and maintains global standards for business communication and manufactures barcodes for its clients for their products and assign the information according to the need of the various companies and follows the basic rule and regulations.

In order to create a barcode, you have to visit the Official website of GS1- and register with all the required particulars. This company offers various types and forms of barcodes and obtains a decent revenue by managing each and every barcode globally.

QR codes

What is Barcode and QR code? Explained in Detail

In the case of the QR code, you can generate it by yourself using an appropriate app or software. Any individual can generate the QR code by storing the appropriate information in it. You can add a webpage, video, photos, your Facebook profile, an App page on App Stores, a Bitcoin address, or simple text among various options.

Simply add the required data or content and the QR generator will take care of the rest. Once the QR Code is generated, you just download the image and put it up wherever you want your audience to scan it. You can design the QR code as per your needs and wish. You can change the color, and style, secure it with a password and you can change the content at any time. A QR code is very simple and stores more content and information than older barcodes.


Barcodes have become successful in recent years they help in automate supermarket check-out systems. Uses of these codes are almost universal as you might be observed that in malls, stores, etc. barcodes are used. These codes are adopted by different malls and stores throughout the world. 

Its Uses-
  • Barcodes are very useful as they reduce shoplifting (An unnoticed theft of goods from the retail shop by putting items inside your pocket or bag) and price tag swapping.
  • Used to keep track of objects, persons, air luggage, rental cars, parcels, etc.
  • Used on tickets of cinemas, Sports arenas, and theaters to identify duplicate or fake tickets easily.
  • Used in hospitals and healthcare centers to know the person’s identification including medical history by giving them a wristband to which barcodes are attached.
You can get more uses of barcodes by searching them on the internet.
Just like Barcodes, QR codes are also very useful as they can be scanned by smartphones which convert the code to a suitable form, which helps us to complete the task in less time
Its Uses - 
  • Used on the products so that a person can gain more information about that product by simply scanning the QR code.
  • Used to store personal information for use by the organization.
  • Used for storing URLs, Phone Numbers, bank details, etc.
  • The QR code may also be linked to a location to track where and which QR code has been scanned.
  • The QR code is also used as currency. In June 2011 Royal Dutch Mint introduced the first official QR code coin in the world.
You can get more uses of QR codes by searching them on the internet.
Technology is growing quickly day by day and it is doing all its effort to make our tasks easier. The QR code is a clean way to store data in a small space. As you have seen in this post, you can store many types of data and distribute it to others using all types of media.
I know everybody must have used the QR code at any point in their life but only a few people knew all the complete details of these advanced codes. I think I have covered all the points related to Barcodes and QR codes. If you still have any other queries related to this topic, you can leave a comment below. If you liked my post please like and share it with your friends.
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I am the owner of the blog My love for technology began at a young age, and I have been exploring every nook and cranny of it for the past eight years. In that time, I have learned an immense amount about the internet world, technology, Smartphones, Computers, Funny Tricks, and how to use the internet to solve common problems faced by people in their day-to-day lives. Through this blog, I aim to share all that I have learned with my readers so that they can benefit from it too. Connect with me : LinkedIn | Instagram | Facebook | Quora

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