The GS1 Digital Link standard for web-enabled 2D barcodes is creating a revolution in item-level identification. The beauty of GS1 Digital Link is that the data returned to end user is contextual — it’s a dynamic code that delivers different data to the user, depending on things like the user location, time zone, demographics or a campaign. By scanning one single Digital Link code, a consumer could access a recipe or nutrition information, a retailer could see a calendar for item promotions and store planograms for that item, and a logistics provider could learn the product’s handling information and track its journey through the supply chain.

BarTender and Digital Link 

Digital Link barcodes are well-designed, complex technology. BarTender software makes creating Digital Link-enabled labeling simple. Straightforward.

First, design your label using BarTender’s acclaimed Intelligent Templates™. Import files from Adobe Illustrator. Choose colors from the Pantone color palette. Create gradients. Use BarTender’s powerful text handling features like text wrapping and tables. You’ll create a beautiful, commercial-quality prime label — a label that includes BarTender’s proven powerful capabilities for handling the variable, dynamic data Digital Link requires.


Then, create a placeholder on the label for your GS1 Digital Link QR code by selecting it from BarTender’s barcode symbols dropdown menu. Place the code anywhere within the template design area.

Next, the BarTender GS1 Application Identifier (AI) Wizard will walk you through encoding even the most complicated GS1 data string — BarTender automatically inserts AIs and field separator characters, in the right place, every time to create GS1-compliant barcodes.

AI Wizard

Finally, in BarTender’s Barcode Properties dialog, tick the “GS1 Digital Link> box, and BarTender will convert the data string to GS1 Digital Link, complete with URI.

It’s that easy.

When GS1 wanted to know if existing technology could enable generating Digital Link-compliant barcodes, they came to BarTender for help. We thought it was a great idea. Our chief engineer, recognizing the global impact that Digital Link could have, went home and wrote the preliminary code to that enables GS1 Digital Link in BarTender that night. 

We believe so strongly in Digital Link that we’ve joined GS1 at Digital Link proof of concept demos at conferences in Denver, Lisbon and Brussels. Digital Link’s power and flexibility to deliver information is the future of item-level ID in CPGs, medical devices, supply chain traceability, anticounterfeiting — the applications are unlimited.

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