Aztec– code

 In the article "Using QR-codes in FastReport.Net" we have reviewed the popular 2D barcode formats. Today, I would like to talk about another popular format, which is also supported in FastReport.Net. This is an “Aztec-code”.

The name of the code is associated with an ancient Indian tribe from Central America -the Aztecs.

 Please, look at the code:


The square which is located in the center of the code contains several smaller squares. It reminds a view overlooking the Aztec pyramid. So, the “Aztec – code” got its name due to the similarity between the external view of the code and the symbols of the Aztec tribe.

“Aztec – Code” was developed in 1995 and it combines the best ideas of two-dimensional bar codes: MaxiCode, SuperCode, Code One, Data Matrix, Dot Code, PDF417.  Despite the patent, this development has been transferred into the public domain. The standard describes the coding set out in ISO / IEC 24778: 2008.

The code size depends on the amount of encoded information. For example, the minimum size of 15x15 pixels allows you to encode 6 bytes, i.e. 12 letters or 13 digits. A maximum size 151х151 pixel allows encoding of 1914 bytes, 3067 characters or 3832 numbers.

It must be mentioned that the code has two display formats: “Compact” (Compact) and "Full-Range" (Full). A choice of a format depends on the amount of data to be encoded.

Please, look at two images given bellow. The left image has a symbol of a target consisting of two squares and the right one has a symbol of a target consisting of three squares.


The obvious advantage of this type of coding comparing to others is the possibility of reading the code when it’s in different positions. Moreover, even mirrored the code will still be read easily. This is achieved by the use of navigational markers.

Using the target in the center of the code allows to read data even from garbled or stretched image.

Through using the algorithm Reed-Solomon coding, “Aztec – code” may be read being partly damaged. For such an occasion the code has redundancy. You can adjust the percentage of red redundant code from 5 to 95. Therefore, it is possible to provide a very high resistance to reading errors.

Layered structure of the code makes it possible to increase the amount of information stored by increasing the coding region.

All of these advantages have made “Aztec - code” very attractive for application in transport networks as electronic tickets, for example, in air and rail transportation. In some countries it is used in government documents. Also, like other high-density codes, “Aztec code” is popular in commerce, logistics, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.

Compared with the “QR-code”, “Aztec-code” has a larger recording density and does not require a field around the code. Also, the minimum size of “Aztec-code” is 15x15 against 21x21 at “QR-code”.

You can use FastReport.Net to create “Aztec-code” and many other codes.