How do you choose between the two? 
Whenever people hear the terms “Data Matrix” and “QR code”, many assume they are the same thing. However, they are not the same and have several key differences. Now you may be wondering which one should you use? Well, you can get that answer by understanding what these two 2D codes do and what their advantages are. We’ll discuss it below and help you choose between them.
What is a QR code?
A quick response code or QR code is another type of 2D code that uses black cells that form a square grid on a white background.
In 1994, Denso Corporation of Japan invented the QR code. These codes can store up to 4296 alphanumeric characters. More rows and columns on a QR code indicate an increased amount of data stored on it.
What is a data matrix?
A Data Matrix code of sorts is a 2D code that uses black and white cells that usually follow a square pattern. However, you can also find rectangular patterns.
Data Matrix code sample
The American company International Data Matrix, Inc. he invented the Data Matrix in 1994. More rows and columns in code means more data stored. But it has a limit of 2335 alphanumeric characters. The L shape that follows its boundaries is known as the viewfinder pattern. This search pattern helps scanners identify and read the Data Matrix code.
Where to use Data Matrix code?
Data Matrix codes are widely used for marking small objects, since they can encode 50 characters in a graphic symbol in 2-3 millimeters. In addition, they are legible with a contrast ratio of only 20%. This makes Data Matrix codes ideal for many applications. Some of these uses are:
- On medical or surgical equipment
- On airplane parts
- On digital postage stamps
- For laser marketing
- For mobile marketing using Semacodes
- For labeling small and medium-sized electronic goods
Where to use the QR code?
Nowadays, QR codes can be found almost everywhere around them. Because they can store different types of information, QR codes have many different uses. Here are some of the purposes you can use QR codes for:
- To authenticate online accounts
- To implement two-step verification
- To store bank account/credit card information and send/receive payments
- On business cards to store contact information
- On the packaging of various items
- About speeches at conferences
Functionalities and advantages of Data Matrix codes
Data Matrix codes use an alternative recognition point structure. The L-shaped pattern on the left and bottom of these codes can contain up to 2335 alphanumeric characters. Data Matrix codes have a small format, only 10×10 pixels.
Data Matrix codes refer to the products themselves. That is, it will help you see the product information after you scan it. Their small format makes them ideal for labeling small items and reducing the consumption of consumables. When someone scans these omnidirectional codes with a scanner, they automatically redirect to stored information.
- Data Matrix codes are known to have higher density. Thanks to this, they take up less space than barcodes.
- Data Matrix codes are still readable even if they are damaged up to 30%.
- These 2D codes can encode letters, numbers and other ASCII characters. Therefore, they naturally multitask.
- These codes are omnidirectional. In this way, the scanner can read the Data Matrix code from any angle.
- Data Matrix codes are characterized by high scalability. Therefore, they are an ideal choice for labeling small parts and packaging.
Functionalities and advantages of QR codes
QR codes use four black and white square patterns in each corner. However, the fourth square is less visible than the other three. QR codes can store 7089 numeric characters or 4296 alphanumeric characters. This type of 2D code can store many types of information and perform different actions.
Barcode scanners and even smartphones can easily read QR codes. Like Data Matrix codes, QR codes automatically redirect users to the information stored on them when scanned. While Data Matrix codes store product information, QR codes can store all kinds of information including links, PDFs, etc.
Like Data Matrix codes, QR codes have many advantages. They include:
- QR codes are versatile and can help you with a variety of needs such as contact information, website links, geolocation with maps, and more.
- QR codes have an error correction function. This allows scanners to read them easily, even if some parts of the code read incorrectly.
- Like Data Matrix codes, QR codes are also multidirectional. This allows scanning devices to read them from any angle.
- These codes can be scanned with a smartphone anytime, anywhere.
- These codes are a free and easy way to embed any type of media you can think of.
The difference between Data Matrix codes and QR codes
As we mentioned, there are several key differences between Data Matrix and QR codes. Now let’s see these differences:
Difference in data matrix codes QR codes Minimum size – 10×10 cells Maximum – 144×144 cells Minimum – 21×21 cells Maximum – 177×177 cells Readability Readability at 20% contrast and up to 30% damage Readability at 40% contrast and 7 -30% damage Safe More safe Slightly less safe Structure of black and white cells in a square or rectangular pattern, L-shape on the left and bottom 4 black and white square patterns in each corner Maximum level of error correction 33% 30% Increases 2 cells 4 cells Maximum capacity Numeric characters – 3116 Alphanumeric characters – 2335 Binary characters – 1556
Kanji/kana characters – not supported Numeric characters – 7089 Alphanumeric characters – 4296 Binary characters – 2953
Kanji/kana characters – 1817
Data Matrix generation tools
Here are some tools that can help you easily generate a data matrix:
Data Matrix codes provide users with several excellent benefits. Some of these benefits are listed below:
# 1. ReadyStream Data Matrix Generator Tool
The ReadyStream Data Matrix Generator tool helps users create Data Matrix codes to expand system capabilities. Once generated, these data matrices are ready for integration into all operational procedures. Users can also print them and attach them to the item and test them.
Thanks to the built-in volume calculator, this tool is especially useful for creating data matrix codes for pharmaceutical and biotechnology products.
Generating a Data Matrix with ReadyStream® is nothing complicated. Users just need to enter their test data and calculate the volume, and the tool will generate the Data Matrix code. You can later print this code in PDF or PNG format and paste it on the product. And the best part? It’s completely free.
#2. Aspose Data Matrix code generator
Aspose Data Matrix Code Generator is a free online application that helps users generate Data Matrix codes. This handy tool is a simple and effective way to add machine-readable tags to various items and documents. Interestingly, Aspose Data Matrix Code Generator supports vector and raster image output formats.
In addition, the application supports various output formats including .jpeg, .png, .emf, .gif, .bmp and so on. Aspose makes the Data Matrix process hassle-free. All you need to do is enter the code text, select the barcode type and size, then click the “Generate barcode” button. You will receive your Data Matrix code in a few moments.
#3. EasierSoft – Free online DataMatrix barcode generator
EasierSoft is a great way to bulk generate Data Matrix codes for free online. This handy Data Matrix generator allows you to print a variety of barcode labels for use anywhere. Interestingly, you can print barcode labels even on regular A4 paper using inkjet/laser printers.
Instead of entering thousands of label contents individually, EasierSoft allows users to enter them all at once. It achieves this by using the first barcode data that the user enters into Excel and automatically generates a sequence of barcode numbers.
Tools for generating QR codes
There are many tools available to generate QR codes. Here are a few of them:
# 1. QR code generator
QR Code Generator is a free online tool that helps users generate QR codes. This tool supports both static and dynamic QR codes. It also supports analytics, tracking, vCards, etc. The static QR codes of the QR code generator are self-contained, meaning users can use them without any reference to their services.
However, dynamic QR codes are linked to a user’s account and encoded with a link to their services. This allows users to later update the content of dynamic QR codes and view scan statistics. If you don’t want people who scan your dynamic QR codes to see the QR Code Generator branding before viewing your content, you can purchase their paid plan.
#2. Bitly’s QR code generator
Bitly’s QR Code Generator allows you to create QR codes for free by entering your web page or text. The QR codes generated by this app can be edited and tracked with full branding and customization features. Additionally, if you want to know how effective your QR code is, you can use the “Scan Tracking” feature.
#3. QR code generator from goQR.me
goQR.me QR Code Generator is a great free way to create QR codes by providing URL, text, vCard, contact details etc. Outputs are available in EPS/SVG vector graphics and PNG/JPEG/GIF raster graphics. The goQR.me QR code generator also allows you to embed a QR code directly on your website. The tool uses encryption during transmission. Therefore, it never stores the QR code data.
Data Matrix and QR codes are widely used in various industries and for many purposes. When it comes to security, readability and ECL, Data Matrix codes have an advantage over QR codes.
However, in many other aspects such as size options, scalability, flexibility, product inventory management, storage, full customization, etc., QR codes win. So, from an overall perspective, QR codes are a better choice.
As you can see, both Data Matrix and QR codes have their uses. So, you must first identify your specific needs and then read our article to choose the perfect 2D code.
You can also check out these QR Code APIs.