Reading Damaged Barcodes

Reading Damaged Barcodes

Improving accuracy and decoding rate remains a top priority for developers working with barcode reading SDKs. While configuration tweaks and improvements in the algorithm can result in drastic improvements, end users can also play a significant role by improving the image resolution at the time the image is taken, ensuring an adequate quiet zone, and avoiding other defects. For more information, read this post on how to improve barcode recognition accuracy when using an application

In this post, we are going to talk about reading damaged barcodes.

How to Read Damaged 1D Barcodes

Barcodes represented data by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines.

If the lines are partly ripped or scribbled, as long as there is a valid part, we can still read them. 

If the lines are severely damaged, but the human-readable text is still there. We can use OCR to read them. The Dynamsoft Label Recognizer is a good fit for this situation.

How to Read Damaged 2D Barcodes

2D barcodes such as QR code are like an evolution of 1D barcodes. They are designed as damage-resistant.

QR code uses Reed–Solomon error correction so that even if a QR code is damaged, we can still read them. When users are generating QR codes, they can select which correction level to use. There are four error correction levels: Low, Medium, High and Quartile. If we use the highest correction level, 30% of data bytes can be restored.

Dynamsoft Barcode Reader can utilize QR code’s error correction design to read damaged QR codes. The following code is readable as the damaged area is less than 30%.


But some QR codes are unreadable for some barcode scanners like the following one as its finding pattern is broken.

Dynamsoft Barcode Reader can make extra efforts on reading damaged QR codes. It can restore QR codes even though their finding pattern is broken like the one above. Check out this post to learn more: DBR Auto-Restores Incomplete Parts of QR Codes and Data Matrix.


These capabilities are integrated into all editions of Dynamsoft Barcode Reader and require no extra licenses. Supported editions include Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, and JavaScript.

How Dynamsoft Barcode Reader Scans Difficult-to-Read Barcodes?

Dynamsoft Barcode Reader can also read the following types of difficult-to-read barcodes:

  • Angled
  • Curved
  • Glare
  • Low contrast
  • Low light
  • Multiple
  • Shadow

common unreadable barcodes

Use our online demo to have a try on your own:

Getting Started

If you have a barcode that you aren’t able to decode, send it to and we will recommend possible parameters you can use to solve the decoding issues.

Learn more about Dynamsoft Barcode Reader SDK and start a free 30-day trial.

For questions about Dynamsoft’s SDKs, please contact our support team.