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Understanding GS1 Symbology Specification Tables (SST)

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Over the years, operational requirements of GS1 System users have influenced the dimensional specifications of GS1 System symbols, and these dimensional specifications have in turn influenced the development of scanning system optics and printing processes. The dimensional requirements for each application area defined in Section 2 of General Specifications are set out in the GS1 System Symbol Specification Tables (SSTs).

In the previous version of software, there was greater symmetry in the chosen aperture.  With version 15, there have been changes to the required aperture for EAN/UPC-A (Table 2 now requires a 10 mil aperture where previously it was 6 mil), GS1 Data Matrix (previously the aperture was 80% of the cell size whereas now there are fixed apertures depending on the table), as well as others.  

Each SST provides the following barcode specification detail:

  • The barcode(s) specified by the GS1 System for each application area.
  • The minimum, target, and maximum X-dimension (narrow element width) for the symbol, based on the scanning environment.
  • The minimum and target barcode height, based on the scanning environment.
  • The Quiet Zone width and, for primary and secondary symbols, the minimum and maximum separation between the two symbols (these measurements are expressed as multiples of the X-dimension in the form nX).
  • The minimum ISO quality specification expressed as g.g/aa/www, where g.g is the minimum overall symbol grade to one decimal place (on a 4.0 scale), aa is the effective measuring aperture in thousandths of an inch, and www is the wavelength of the light source in nanometers.

The benefit of having to choose the SST means the verifier can now check X-dimension and symbol height to the specified application where before choosing a SST was required we could not.

Table Selections are determined by Customer selection based upon the product that is being labeled.

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If the labeler selects a table, the symbology being used should follow the specifications in the table selected. EX: If Table 6 is selected for Regulated Healthcare Non-Retail not used in General Distribution, and the labeler has selected to use a 2D GS1 Data Matrix symbol, the symbol should follow the specifications in the table for minimum and maximum X-dimension requirements, symbol height requirements, quiet zone requirements and minimum quality specifications.
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