UCC 128

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UCC 128

The UCC 128 barcode is a variation of Code 128. While it uses nearly-identical encoding and symbology, it is distinctive for its use of a double start character to specify unique functions and encode unique data.

UCC 128 goes by several names including EAN-128 and UCC/EAN-128. After organizational changes which resulted in the Uniform Code Council (UCC) renamed as GS1, the UCC/EAN-128 specification was folded into the new GS1-128 barcode. While other terms are still used by organizations and barcode technology manufacturers, GS1-128 is now the most accurate name for the UCC 128 code.

As noted above, this barcode takes the bulk of its functionality from the older Code 128 specification, which allows excellent density for all-numeric data and good density for alpha-numeric data encodation. Just like their Code 128 counterparts, UCC 128 barcodes can be as long as necessary to store encoded data and can encode all 128 ASCII characters. As a result, they’re often preferred over older Code 39 barcodes for product data encoding.


The UCC 128 barcode contains seven elements:

  • A Leading Quiet Zone
  • The Standard Start Code (One of Subsets A, B or C)
  • A Second Start Character (Also Called a Function Code)
  • All Symbol Characters
  • One Check Digit
  • One Stop Character
  • A Trailing Quiet Zone

Each character in a UCC 128 barcode consists of three bars and three spaces, and each character is 11 times the width of the most narrow bar. Bars always use an even number of elements to encode data, and spaces use an odd number to ensure character-by-character consistency. This barcode also uses four bar widths to increase the number of potential characters represented.

Three start codes are also possible for UCC 128 barcodes:

  • A — Encodes digits, uppercase characters, ASCII symbols, and control codes.
  • B — Encodes digits, upper and lowercase letters, ASCII symbols, and control codes.
  • C — Numeric-only encoding, which allows two numeric digits per character to increase total density.

Common Use Cases

The UCC 128 barcode is often used on products to indicate data including weights, quantities, batch numbers, and best before dates. Companies can also customize this barcode to encode relevant product information.

Box Barcode