What is the Difference Between QR Code, PDF417 and DataMatrix?
A QR code (Quick Response code) is a 2D barcode type. It consists of black squares arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by a camera, scanner, or other imaging devices.
PDF417 barcodes are a type of stacked, variable length, bi-directional 2D barcode. It is one of the most widely used 2D barcodes, most commonly found in logistics, transportation (boarding passes), government identification (driver licenses and identification cards), inventory, and document management (postal packages).
The Datamatrix is a 2D high-density barcode symbol. Since 2000, this barcode has been recognized as a standard of ISO/IEC 16022. It encodes text, numbers, files, and data bytes. It uses small square modules and the perimeter of these modules is purposely different from the interior. This helps a barcode scanner identify cell locations for proper decoding.
A quick comparison table
Error Detection & Correction
QR codes use the Reed-Solomon algorithm, which enables the code to be read even if up to 30% of it is damaged
PDF417 barcodes use the Reed-Solomon algorithm, which enables the code to be read even if up to 50% of it is damaged
DataMatrix code ECC 200 symbologies use the Reed-Solomon algorithm for error detection and correction; ECC 000-140 uses convolutional error correction
QR Code vs. PDF417 vs. DataMatrix Code
- PDF417 barcodes are variable in dimensions, most commonly seen in the rectangular shape. DataMatrix codes and QR codes are basically square.
- QR codes have a larger capacity than PDF417 and DataMatrix codes.
- QR codes are extremely popular for mobile applications.
- PDF417 is a barcode with several linear rows of stacked codewords. It can be read from left to right in linear order with a simple linear scan. However, QR codes and DataMatrix codes are 2D matrix barcodes; you should use a 2D imaging scanner to read them.
- QR codes have the ability to encode Kanji characters.
Take the Next Step
We hope this helps you to determine which barcode type you are going to choose. Now it’s time to read the barcodes. You can download Dynamsoft Barcode Reader to implement barcode reading functionality into your application.
A series on different types of barcodes
- The Comprehensive Guide to 1D and 2D Barcodes
- Difference Between UPC and EAN
- Difference Between Code 39 and Code 128
- Difference Between QR Code, PDF417 and DataMatrix
- Difference Between Intelligent Mail barcode, Postnet and Planet
If you’d like to compare other barcode types, please check out our online barcode comparison tool.