GS1 General Specifications Revision (v21) Jan 2021

GS1 standards define how items are identified and marked. Although GS1 confusingly markets itself as the source to apply for a barcode, it is really their standards that provide the framework for the identification for many industries. Companies rely on their licensing of numbering structures for unique identification and their technical guidelines for barcode and RFID identification. As the US authority on barcodes, we are ardent supporters of GS1 standards since they integrated into many of our products and services.

  • UPC Identification and Barcodes – Our GS1 Barcode Service enables companies to correctly follow GS1 guidelines to identify their products.
  • ISBN Barcodes – As a partner with the US ISBN Agency, our Publisher Services division provides ISBNs and Bookland EAN barcodes. The Bookland EAN barcodes are based on GS1 standards and the most recent revision provides new clarification on the add-on digits.
  • Createbarcodes.com (digital .eps barcode files) – The foundation of our barcode engine is derived from GS1 technical documentation and our application received certification in 2005
  • Identification Labs – Our barcode testing laboratory provides certification for many of the largest US retailers and manufacturers. Our testing protocols are derived from the applicable testing thresholds defined for each application.
  • Printed UPC and Logistic Labels – Our label service bureau verifies each order with GS1 certified equipment and follows their established testing procedures.

GS1 General Specifications RevisionGS1 has just released the latest revision of the GS1 General Specifications Version 21.  The global standards address identification and barcode marking for numerous industries. The vast majority of the retailers follow these specifications.  The GS1 General Specifications have grown to 516 pages.

Please forward this information to individuals in your company who are responsible for barcoding and product/shipment identification. For our GS1 Barcode Service/Support clients, please reach out to your personal consultant for assistance.

Changes to the GS1 General Specifications (Version 21) are as follows:

  • Digital Link URI syntax for consumer mobile applications
  • Clarify add-on symbol terms
  • Encoding transport information
  • GS1-128 character count
  • EPC/RFID addition/clarifications
  • Larger x-dimension for tech industries
  • AI for price per unit of measurement (single monetary unit)
  • Glossary Update

To view a copy of the latest GS1 General Specification (v.21) revision, please visit Download PDF .

GS1 identification standards are expansive, complex, and constantly changing. The GS1 Support program is the yearly subscription which provides ongoing support for UPC/GTIN barcodes and product information and is for companies with an existing GS1 Prefix.

GS1 Support programs are utilized by companies who do not have a GS1 trained employee on staff or a dedicated team to address the item and carton identification requirements for their trading partners. In addition to ongoing support by a dedicated consultant, a credit is provided for digital barcodes, printed labels, or barcode testing.


Select the total number of items available with your GS1 Prefix

Number of Items Length of Existing UPC Prefix GS1 Support Fee
1 -10 10-digit $150 SELECT
1 – 100 9-digit $250 SELECT
1 – 1,000 8-digit $1,000 SELECT
1 – 10,000 7-digit $2,000 SELECT
1 – 100,000 6-digit $2,500 SELECT
For assistance call (800)662-0701 x250. If you do not already have a GS1 Prefix, click here.
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