Interleaved 2 of 5 Barcodes

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Interleaved 2 of 5

The Interleaved 2 of 5 barcode is a numeric-only code that’s commonly used in warehouse and industrial applications. Also known as ITF-14/SCC-14, Interleaved 2 of 5 is considered a high-density barcode since digits are encoded in pairs or “interleaved.” 

The first digit is encoded in five bars, two of which are wide and two of which are narrow, and the second digit is encoded in the spaces which occur between these bars. Interleaved 2 or 5 codes can be as long as necessary to encode specific data, making them ideal for large-scale industrial applications.

Because the encoded digits in Interleaved 2 of 5 occur in pairs, the code must contain an even number of digits. If an odd number of digits occurs, a leading “0” is added to the first code value. While Code 39 is also a potential option for industrial barcoding, many companies choose Interleaved 2 of 5 since it’s possible to encode the same amount of data in approximately half the required space. 

Interleaved 2 of 5 Barcodes


Interleaved 2 of 5 contains five key elements:

  • A leading quiet zone, which must be the width of at least 10 narrow bars.
  • The start pattern of one narrow bar, one narrow space, one narrow bar, and one narrow space.
  • All character pairs encoded in alternating bars and spaces.
  • The stop pattern of one wide bar, one narrow space, and one narrow bar.
  • A trailing quiet zone.

Similar to Code 2 of 5 and Industrial 2 of 5, Interleaved 2 of 5 uses two wide bars and three narrow bars (2 out of 5) to encode data. Unlike its other 2 of 5 counterparts, however, Interleaved 2 of 5 also uses wide and narrow spaces to enhance information density. It’s worth noting, however, that the non-standard length of this barcode type could pose potential security problems. As a result, many companies choose to standardize their barcode length or use the optional check digit to ensure barcode accuracy.

Common Use Cases

The high density and unlimited character length of Interleaved 2 of 5 make it ideal for large-scale industrial operations. Variants of this barcode type — known as Identcode and Leitcode — are also used by Deutsche Post for mail delivery, inventory, and sorting.

Multiple Barcode Formats