What is a Codabar?

Codabar was developed in 1972 by Pitney Bowes, Inc. It and its variants are also referred to as Codeabar, Ames Code, NW-7, Monarch, Code 2 of 7, Rationalized Codabar, ANSI/AIM BC3-1995 or USD-4.

Codabar is a discrete, self-checking symbol that encodes up to 16 different characters with an additional four start/stop characters. Codabar can encode the digits zero through nine, six symbols (-:.$/+), and the start/stop characters A, B, C, D, E, *, N, or T. The start/stop characters must be used in matching pairs and may not appear elsewhere in the barcode. Since Codabar is self-checking, there is no established checksum digit.

A typical Codabar barcode looks like this:


Although newer symbologies hold more data information in a smaller space, Codabar has a large installed base in libraries.

Where is a Codabar used?

Codabar barcodes are used by logistics and healthcare professionals, including U.S. blood banks, FedEx airbills, photo labs, libraries, etc.


  • Logistics
  • Healthcare
  • Education