PDF 417 is a type of 2D barcode with a stacked linear barcode symbol format. It is used in a variety of applications, primarily transport, identification cards and inventory management.
PDF stands for Portable Data file. The 417 signifies that each pattern in the code consists of 4 bars and spaces and that each pattern is 17 units long.
Each symbol can store up to about 1,800 printable ASCII characters or 1,100 binary characters and the height of the symbol can be adjusted to grow with the data. It is also possible to link multiple PDF-417 symbols and break large amounts of data across them – this is helpful in applications where the data required must be contained within the barcode label itself, due to a host database not being available for a quick reference lookup.
The maximum data density is determined by the smallest elements which can be reliably printed and scanned. Using the smallest recommended element size of 0.0075 inch wide and 0.010 inch high, the maximum data density in the binary mode is 686 bytes per square inch (106.2 bytes per square centimetre). In the printable ASCII mode the density is 1,144 characters per square inch (177.2 characters per square centimetre).
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