Code 128

What is a Code 128?

Computer Identics, in 1981, designed Code 128, which is another linear barcode popular in industry and stores.

The Code 128 character set includes the digits zero through nine, the letters A-Z (upper and lower case), and all standard ASCII symbols and control codes. The codes are separated into three subsets A, B, and C. There are three separate start codes to indicate which subset will be used. In addition, each subset includes control characters to switch to another subset in the middle of a barcode. Subset A includes the standard ASCII symbols, digits, upper case letters, and control codes. Subset B includes standard ASCII symbols, digits, upper and lower case letters. Subset C compresses two numeric digits (the set of 100 digit pairs from 00 to 99) into each character, providing excellent density.

An example barcode of alphanumeric encoding in a single Code 128 barcode is:

Code 128

Code 128 is usually selected over Code 39 in new applications because of its excellent density and much larger selection of characters. It has been widely implemented in many applications where a relatively large amount of data has to be encoded in a very small space.

Where is a Code 128 used?

Code 128 barcodes are compact, high-density codes used in logistics and transportation industries for ordering and distribution. They’re geared toward non-POS products, like supply chain applications needing label units with serial shipping container codes (SSCC).


  • Transport
  • Shipping
  • Tracking