Code 39 is a variable length, discrete barcode symbology. It is also known as Alpha39, Code 3 of 9, Code 3/9, Type 39, USS Code 39 or USD-3. Code 39 specifically defines 43 characters, consisting of uppercase letters A-Z, numeric digits 0 through 9 and special characters, -,.,$,/,+,% and space.


The barcode itself does not contain a check digit, but it can be considered "self-checking" on the grounds that a single erroneously interpreted bar cannot generate another valid character. The barcode has been around for many years dating all the way back to the 1970's when it was first developed.


The main drawback to Code 39 is size as it relates to its low data density. It requires more space to encode data than other codes, which means very small products cannot be labeled with a Code 39. While there are no limits to the length of the characters used in the code, the limits are set solely by the size of the label.


Still one of the most popular and commonly used symbologies found in use for electronics, healthcare and government industries, to name a few.





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