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(Portable Data File417) A two-dimensional barcode developed by Symbol Technologies, Inc., Holtsville, NY (www.symbol.com). Created in the late 1980s, the standard was later placed in the public domain and is governed by the Automatic Identification Manufacturers (AIM) trade association.

PDF417 is the most widely used 2D barcode (more than one row of codes), and it can hold up to 1,800 bytes of any digital data in a printed area about the size of a business card. For bills of lading and applications that require more information, multiple barcodes can be printed. The scanner, which is made by Symbol Technologies and other companies, reads the barcode horizontally and vertically. MicroPDF417 is a denser version of PDF417 that takes up less space. It is used for marking small parts and can hold up to 300 bytes.

The Gettysburg Address
This PDF417 image contains the entire Gettysburg address. (Image courtesy of Symbol Technologies, Inc.)

Attendee Information Capture
PDF417 is used to print names and addresses on conference and show badges. If a handheld reader is used, the exhibitor can swipe the attendee's badge without having to remove it from its holder and possibly misplace it in the hustle and bustle of the trade show.
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A large retailer in future may have EDI links with its most important suppliers but for occasional business partners the data traffic may be too low to justify EDI investment, so PDF417 could represent an adequate alternative for transfer of delivery data which could either be sent by fax or could travel as a label with the goods.
It supports 29+ linear (1D) and 2D barcode symbologies including MacroPdf417, Australia Post, OneCode, Code128, Code39, PDF417, UPCA, Codabar, MSI and QR etc.
The 3800gPDF and the 3800gHD have been designed to meet the needs of companies following an increase in two dimensional barcodes, such as PDF417 barcodes, and high density (HD) linear barcodes.
The M7100 with the integrated 2D Imager allows operators to read multiple bar codes (including standard 1D bar codes and postal codes), as well as more complex 2D images such as PDF417 symbologies.
SATO's new M-84Pro Series with the 32-Bit high-speed RISC/133 Mhz processor can print high volume of labels with barcode, text and fine detailed graphics with sharp and precise print image in addition to smaller size 2-D codes such as Micro PDF417, Micro QR, etc.
ODV provides 100% assurance that every printed bar code, both linear and PDF417 two-dimensional, will scan, eliminating hefty penalties, delayed shipments and lost revenue.
• Unable to read PDF417 barcode with a data length of 650 characters
The IMAGETEAM 3870 Cordless Linear Imager from Hand Held Products enables high-performance reading of PDF417, MicroPDF417, and all common linear bar code symbologies.