The most important barcode formats at a glance

Attaching and reading barcodes on PDFs with webPDF

What are the advantages of working with barcodes? If you add barcodes to documents in PDF format, this has the strong advantage that you can recognize and assign your documents at any time.

Why barcodes are worthwhile?

Working with barcodes improves the workflow and accelerates the work steps. The attached barcodes make it easy to control the documents in the company. The advantage of webPDF: You can use the “Webservice Barcode” to attach the desired barcodes to PDF documents or to process incoming documents with barcodes and integrate them into your workflow. For example, if you receive PDF documents by e-mail or have created them yourself by scanning, you can search these documents for barcodes and read out the corresponding data.

What types of barcodes are there and what is their field of application?

A distinction is made between one-dimensional and multidimensional barcodes. The former are usually the familiar barcodes. Here the sequence of the bars is decisive. The latter, i.e. two-dimensional barcodes, have a higher information capacity but are more prone to errors. With two-dimensional barcodes, not only the width but also the height of the code is important.

barcode type field of application appearance
Aztec Labelling of pharmaceutical products and on tickets for public transport networks


Codabar Libraries, photo labs, blood banks and much more  codabar
Code128 Especially for packaging and shipping very common  code 128
Code39 Electronics industry, chemical industry, warehousing, transport etc.  code 39
DataMatrix For direct laser marking in production, automotive engineering, instruments for chemicals or medicine, for example, but also for tickets or mailings  data matrix
EAN13 Widely used barcode format for product marking in the retail trade  ean 13
EAN8 Product marking for all products for which an EAN 13 barcode would be too long  ean 8
UPC A Format for product marking in retail, UPC codes are accepted worldwide and are therefore preferred by internationally operating companies  upc a
ITF Retail, ITF-14 is mainly used for marking shipping packages and pallets  itf
PDF417 Used, for example, by Federal Labour Office (Germany) to prevent manipulation or for boarding passes, certificates of incapacity to work…  PDF 417
QR-Code Especially in the mobile phone environment QR codes are very popular to store information (such as a web address) in an easily accessible format  aztec

More detailed information about the most popular barcode formats can be found here.

Example for the use of barcodes with webPDF:

An example for working with barcodes, where you can see how practical they can be, is the Leverkusen fine office. Here webPDF was used. This enables an automated process for a digital file based on SAP. The letters to all car owners are provided with barcodes along with the answers, so that all documents can be assigned accordingly.

Important: With the webPDF portal you can attach barcodes to PDFs and also read them.

How can webPDF read barcodes?

In the webPDF-portal, select the “detect barcodes” service:


You will see the following dialog:


How can I create barcodes in the webPDF portal?

Click on “Create barcode”:


And then you get the following selection menu:


For further information:

In this blog article: Working with barcodes the creation of barcodes was described in detail (with video).

Information for developers:

An exemplary structure for the parameterization of the call of the webservice can be found in our webPDF documentation or on GitHub.