Data Matrix GS1 Explained

Data Matrix GS1 Example Barcode

Based on the Data Matrix ECC 200 specifications, Data Matrix GS1 is the 2D variant of Code GS1-128. As such, Data Matrix GS1 is constructed in the same way as its linear counterpart from application identifiers (AI) and data content. As with GS1-128, the AIs are separated with parentheses when entering data, e.g. "(01)12345678901234". The parentheses are not encoded into the barcode.

Data Matrix GS1 is the preferred choice for encoding GS1 data when more than 40 characters are to be encoded or space constraints are an issue; see below for a size comparison. Note that Datamatrix GS1 is usually printed without human readable text.

Data Matrix GS1 Specifications

Data Matrix GS1 is standardized. The relevant base standard is ISO/IEC 16022-2006 and can be obtained from ISO. Additionally, the GS1 standards body has published guidelines for implementing Data Matrix GS1.

Sample Data Matrix GS1

Data Matrix GS1 sample barcode encodes "(01)03453120000011(17)191125(10)ABCD1234" which is the example data used in the GS1 guidelines mentioned above. The data is comprised of the 14-digit GTIN (AI 01), an expiration date of 25 Nov. 2019 (AI 17, format YYMMDD) and a batch number (AI 10). The batch number is actually a variable length field which has to be delimited by a FNC1 codeword. Since no more data follows, the FNC1 can be omitted.

Datamatrix GS1 sample

Compare to a Code GS1-128 with the same data content:

Code 128 GS1 Size Comparison Datamatrix GS1

Scanning Data Matrix GS1

Any barcode scanner, imager or scanner app that is compatible with vanilla Data Matrix will also scan Data Matrix GS1. However, the inserted FNC1 characters may either be swallowed (i.e. not transmitted to the application by the scanner) or displayed as non printable characters.

Here's the code from above scanned with Google Zxing:

Datamatrix GS1 scanning

While the content has been scanned correctly, the FNC1 character at the start of the symbol is simply displayed as an unknown character ("?"). Looking at the raw codewords, we see that the FNC1's code of 232 (0xe8) has indeed been recognized correctly.

Scanner and apps that are fully compatible with Data Matrix GS1 will transmit the sequence "]d2" at the beginning of the symbol and replace FNC1 characters within the data with the group separator "GS". See guidelines above for details.

Create Data Matrix GS1 in Illustrator, InDesign

Easy to use barcode plug-ins and extensions for Adobe InDesign, Illustrator und Photoshop. For more videos, see the Softmatic Youtube Channel

The Softmatic barcode plug-ins and extensions for InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop are available from the Softmatic store.

Barcode Generator for Data Matrix GS1

Softmatic BarcodePlus V5 creates Data Matrix GS1 and will export the barcode as PDF / SVG (resolution-independent vector) oder raster image (PNG, TIFF). The app will automatically format the data according to the GS1 specs to create the smallest possible symbol. FNC1 symbols will be inserted as required:

Datamatrix GS1 software app


Data Matrix GS1 mass creation

For mass creation of Data Matrix GS1 and other 2D barcode symbologies, see Softmatic BarcodeFactory V5. Import data from Excel or Numbers or from TXT / CSV files. Video shows generating bulk QR codes from email addresses: