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PDF417 Barcode Generator FREE (2024 Update)

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PDF417 is a two-dimensional barcode that is widely used for various applications due to its high capacity and efficiency in encoding large amounts of data. Here's a brief guide on the PDF417 barcode standard:

PDF417 Barcode Standard

Character Set:

  • PDF417 can encode:
  • Text: All 128 ASCII characters (from ASCII values 0 to 127).
  • Extended ASCII: Values from 128 to 255 can be encoded using a special function.

Encoding Modes:

  • PDF417 supports several encoding modes, including:
  • Text Compaction mode (Alpha, Lower, Mixed, Punctuation)
  • Byte Compaction mode
  • Numeric Compaction mode


  • A single PDF417 symbol can theoretically hold up to about 1.1 kilobytes of machine-readable data, but practically, it's often less due to factors like error correction levels and symbol size considerations.
  • Text: Up to approximately 1,800 characters
  • Numeric: Up to approximately 2,700 digits

Error Correction:

  • PDF417 uses Reed-Solomon error correction.
  • Error correction levels range from 0 (lowest) to 8 (highest). The higher the error correction level, the larger the barcode symbol will be.


Text Encoding:


This would simply encode the text "HELLO WORLD" into the barcode.

Numeric Encoding:


This would encode the number sequence "1234567890" into the barcode.

Byte Compaction:

For encoding binary data or extended ASCII characters. This might be less common for general use but is available for specialized applications.


  • While PDF417 can encode a lot of data, the physical size of the barcode symbol can become an issue. If you encode too much data, the barcode might become too dense or too large to be reliably scanned.
  • Always consider the scanning environment: The hardware (scanner type), the distance from which you're scanning, and the print quality can all affect the scanning success.
  • For best results, ensure that the encoded data does not make the barcode too dense, and always test the generated barcode in its intended environment.

Where is PDF417 Most Commonly Used?

Here are some industries and applications where PDF417 is most commonly used:

Transportation and Logistics:

Boarding Passes: Airlines use PDF417 barcodes on boarding passes to encode passenger and flight details.

Tickets: Railways and other transportation services might use PDF417 for electronic or paper tickets.

Government & Identification:

Driver’s Licenses: In the U.S. and many other countries, PDF417 is the standard for encoding personal data on the back of driver's licenses.

National ID Cards: Some countries use PDF417 barcodes on national ID cards to store personal details.

Visas and Passports: Certain visa labels and some machine-readable travel documents also utilize PDF417.


Patient Identification: Hospitals and clinics may use PDF417 to encode patient data on wristbands or ID cards.

Prescription and Medication Labeling: PDF417 can be used to store information about the drug, dosage, and patient.


Loyalty Cards: Retailers might use PDF417 on loyalty cards to store customer data or membership details.

Product Labeling: For products requiring extensive information, PDF417 can be an efficient way to store data.


Inventory Management: Manufacturers can use PDF417 barcodes to manage parts inventory and track components throughout the manufacturing process.


Vehicle Registrations: Some jurisdictions use PDF417 to encode details on vehicle registration certificates.

Law Enforcement:

Evidence Tracking: PDF417 barcodes can be used to label and track evidence items in forensic labs.


Billing: Utility companies might use PDF417 barcodes on bills to encode account details and usage data.

Banking and Finance:

Account Statements: PDF417 can be used on statements to encode transaction details or other account-related data.

Postal Services:

Package Labeling: Postal services might use PDF417 to store details about the sender, recipient, and package contents.

We hope you have found our PDF17 online barcode generator app useful. Please feel free to contact us with any feedback.

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