DataMatrix is a two-dimensional barcode which can store from 1 to about 2,000 characters. The symbol is square and can range from 0.001 inch per side up to 14 inches per side. As an example of density, 500 numeric only characters can be encoded in a 1-inch square using a 24-pin dot matrix printer. The sample shown above encodes 20 ASCII characters.

DataMatrix is being used to encode product and serial number information on electrical rating plates; to mark of surgical instruments in Japan; to identify lenses, circuit boards, and other items during manufacturing.

DataMatrix symbols require a 2-D scanner; they cannot be read using an ordinary linear barcode scanner. A number of scanners are on the market using both laser and CCD camera technologies. DataMatrix symbols can be printed using most professional-grade thermal transfer label printers on the market. The Barcode Software Center carries several label design and printing programs that can create DataMatrix symbols; we also have function libraries for programmers, programs for creating master artwork, and add-in hardware modules for Hewlett-Packard printers.