How do I generate a QR code

QR code generator

What is a QR Code?

A QR code is a two-dimensional code (2D code, matrix code), i.e. it contains data not only in one dimension (e.g. horizontally from left to right like a commercial barcode on products) but also in a second dimension (i.e. vertically and horizontal). The abbreviation QR stands for "Quick R.esponse ”, meaning“ quick answer ”.

QR codes are often also referred to as 2D barcodes. However, this expression is not entirely correct as it means “two-dimensional barcode”, although QR Codes consist of pixels (so-called modules) instead of bars / bars.

The QR code was developed by the automotive industry. Toyota commissioned its supplier Denso Wave to develop barcodes with the help of which components can be identified safely and easily. They therefore had to be easy to handle in terms of their shape and print size, and still legible in the event of partial destruction or contamination.

Like other codes, a QR code can also be read in using technical imaging devices (e.g. a camera) and then digitally processed. The image is processed by software and processed algorithmically according to the QR code standard until the captured image can be interpreted and the data contained in the QR code can be read. This process is supported by the use of Reed-Solomon error correction, which also ensures, for example, with audio CDs, that data can still be read without errors despite small scratches.

These error correction properties are also used for a QR code with a logo (often also called “Design QR Code” or simply “QR Code with image / icon / company logo”). These QR code graphics are basically faulty "ex works", since the logo, which is usually placed in the center of the QR code, also hides data, as would normal soiling.

Due to their good error correction properties and - compared to other barcodes - high storage capacity, QR codes have also found wide use outside of the automotive industry. Modern cell phones are powerful enough to operate QR code reading software and usually have a camera. This gave rise to a wide range of options for transferring information quickly and easily to the "smartphone communication center" via QR code, instead of having to enter long web addresses manually, for example. With the smartphone boom and the increasing spread of mobile Internet, a wide range of QR codes began to be used.

What is a QR code generator?

A QR code generator is software that can be used to save data (e.g. a text or an Internet address) in a QR code. This can be done very easily with our QR generator-Service: simply create a QR code, e.g. as a high-resolution PNG or directly as a Vector graphic (SVG, EPS). You can then print out the free QR code or embed it on your website and make it available to others to scan.

Create a QR code: how does it work?

Please refer What is a QR Code?

Supported QR Generator graphic formats? (PNG, JPG / JPEG, GIF, SVG, EPS, PDF)

The export of created QR Codes is possible in numerous formats, namely in all formats that our QR Code API supports. At the moment these are: PNG, JPG / JPEG, GIF, SVG, EPS.

Notation: “QR code”, “QR code” or “QR code”?

Correct according to Duden is in German QR code (i.e. with a hyphen). As a brand term QR code is used, which is the correct English spelling QR code.

Are QR Codes legally protected?

The QR code specification was published as an ISO standard by the developer Denso Wave (ISO / IEC 18004: 2000 or ISO / IEC 18004: 2006) and patented. However, the patent owners have decided not to exercise the resulting rights. The use of QR code technology, as defined by ISO and JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards), is therefore license-free and free of charge. Registration is also not necessary.

The name “QR Code” is specially protected in several jurisdictions (including Japan, the USA and many European countries) as a registered trademark of Denso Wave Incorporated. A corresponding note should be attached when using the word mark. A note is not necessary if the QR code is only used as a sample / picture / graphic / logo / icon (e.g. by embedding it on a website or when printing it on a business card, brochure, flyer, etc.). Further information can also be found in the FAQ at QR Code developer Denso Wave.

Nevertheless, a word of warning: One should, however, In the case of Internet services, make sure that QR code graphics generated or created by third parties can still enjoy copyright protection and therefore - depending on the license conditions of the QR code generator used - usage fees or other fees may apply. So be on the safe side: The QR codes namely free be used. This also applies to commercial use, e.g. by advertising agencies and advertising agencies.

Can you create QR codes that look different with the same content?

Yes. Even if all the output data and the error correction level (ECC) are identical, there are different graphic representations of readable QR codes due to the eight possible data masks, even if they have the same content.

Although not every data mask in every constellation is suitable for optimal read rates, many QR code generators do not take it too carefully when selecting the mask to check or determine the best mask, although this can result in QR codes that are more difficult to read.

QR code with logo / picture / company logo

We are often asked whether it is possible to add a picture or lettering to a QR code. In fact, it is possible to customize a QR code with a logo, lettering, picture or company logo, for example. It can also be designed graphically by changing the color. We are happy to support you by providing your cost-effective QR code with logo / picture create.

Can a QR code be customized using a logo / picture / icon / company logo?

Please refer QR code with logo / picture / company logo

Do QR Codes have to be black and white?

No, the most important thing is the best possible contrast between light and dark QR code modules / pixels. In addition, no negative must be created (i.e. the actually black pixels / modules must be darker than the actually white pixels). The dark points contain the data. With our QR code generator you can create colored QR codes for free. After clicking on the "Download" or "Embed" button, simply select a background and / or foreground color.

Change QR code

By far the most frequent request to us is whether an already created and printed QR code can be changed (especially in the case of typing errors in web addresses, URLs). Simple, static QR codes are immutable. The data is saved directly in the QR code graphic as such (this is why QR codes also become larger or more complicated in their structure if more data is stored / entered). Nothing can be changed subsequently on this data. This means that if you make a typo and print the QR code, it cannot be changed afterwards, just like any other misprint. We cannot change this for technical reasons, even if that is bad news for many users (you can find out more about the technical background of how changeable QR codes work in detail on the pages "Type description of dynamic QR codes" and "Change QR codes") .

Dynamic QR codes can be changed / edited later. With the QR code management platform QR-Server you can use our dynamic QR codes. These are characterized by the fact that the destination address or URL stored in the QR code can be changed at any time and as often as you want - even if, for example, you have already printed your advertising material. Correct errors afterwards if the wrong web address was used by mistake or change a website address for other reasons. No problem with the QR server. Learn more…

Important NOTE: Before using, keep in mind that static QR codes are made up technical Cannot subsequently be converted into dynamic codes. We therefore recommend using the QR server for important QR projects.

Can I change a URL / web address saved in the QR code later?

Please refer Change QR code

Can a QR code be edited afterwards?

Please refer Change QR code

Definition of terms: QR code module or pixel?

The individual (usually black and white) elements of a QR code are officially called modules, not pixels. Among other things, this designation makes it easier to distinguish between screen pixels and the black and white squares of a QR code.

What is a barcode?

Barcodes are - in simple terms - machine-readable fonts. Their "letters" consist of binary symbols that can be read optoelectronically.

There are different types of barcode standards. Just as a person can read a foreign language text as soon as he has learned the writing system and the language, barcode scanners or their software can read a barcode, provided the underlying standard is "understood" (ie implemented).

In general, barcodes are used as optically machine-readable labels on objects that contain information about the object to which they are affixed. The best-known type of barcode is certainly the trade barcode on products, which makes the EA numbers on products legible. Due to the widespread use of this type of barcode, the terms “barcode” or “barcode” are often used synonymously for these EAN barcodes, although there are of course other barcode types.

How is a QR code read / scanned?

To scan a QR code, a barcode scanner (or a mobile phone with a camera and a corresponding reader app) that supports the QR code standard is required. QR code reader apps are available from different manufacturers and for different mobile devices, mostly free of charge.

There are numerous free QR code readers for smartphones on the market. However, they differ considerably in terms of usability, scan speed and standard compatibility (especially with regard to the processing of vCards). For this reason we have made a comprehensive overview of QR code software.

In a nutshell, we can recommend the following QR reader apps for smartphones / cell phones:

Other mobile OS
Print QR Codes (printing tips)

So that a QR code can still be reliably focused with rather simple reading devices such as cell phone cameras, basically not much needs to be considered. The most important key points when printing QR codes on everyday materials such as letterhead or business cards, in a nutshell:

The edge length of the QR code should not be less than 1.5cm (with vCards better 2cm); the background color should be lighter than the data pixels (no QR negative); Sufficient visual border around the QR code. Detailed explanations, reasons and valuable printing tips (e.g. for QR codes in outdoor advertising) can be found in our print QR code subpage.

What information can be saved in a QR code?

QR codes store binary data. Therefore, in and of itself, all kinds of information can be stored as binary data in a QR code. However, the storage capacity of a QR code in 8-bit encoding is limited to a maximum of 3 kB. Images and sounds can of course only be saved directly to a very limited extent. A reference to an Internet page that provides the multimedia content is usually the sensible way to present a user with picture galleries or music via QR code.

However, short texts, SMS, all types of URLs / websites (Youtube, Facebook, homepages), contacts (e.g. vCards for QR code business cards, meCard), appointments (iCal), telephone number, email, WiFi access data, Geo and navigation data and much more. It must be noted, however, that not every QR code scanner can read all types of content. Further information on the various QR code types and their usability is provided in our overview of topics "Overview of different QR code types and uses".

Are QR Codes standardized?

Yes. The QR code specification was published by the developer Denso Wave as an ISO standard (ISO / IEC 18004: 2000 or ISO / IEC 18004: 2006).

What is mobile tagging?

Mobile tagging describes the process of attaching QR codes to real objects and adding a message to them or connecting them to a website. The QR code can then be read using the camera of a smartphone and the message or the link (URL) is shown on the display. The term is an allusion to the "tag" known from graffiti jargon. See also the “mobile tagging” lemma in Wikipedia.

Can the number of QR code scans be counted (tracking, analytics, measuring)?

Yes, this is possible with our management and tracking solution “QR-Server”, which is especially popular with advertising agencies. It is aimed at professional QR users, advertisers and mobile marketing specialists who, in addition to dynamic / changeable QR codes, require precise access analyzes and scan statistics. Geolocation is even possible.

Is it possible to record where a QR code has been scanned (geolocation)?

Please refer Can the number of QR code scans be counted (tracking, analytics, measuring)?

How long are QR Codes valid? Do QR codes expire at some point?

From a technical point of view, QR codes are never invalid: The information that a QR code offers after scanning is contained in the graphic itself (therefore QR codes become larger or more complicated in their structure if you store / enter more data). Nothing can be changed subsequently on this data. This means that a QR code does not "expire" after a certain period of time.

However, there are unfortunately dubious providers of QR code generators who simply do not save the data in the QR code that the user enters when creating the QR code. An example: If you enter the web address, these dubious providers save a forwarding address in the form of the QR code instead, without being notified of this during creation. When scanning the QR code, each user ends up under and is then forwarded from there to the actual destination. The business model of these providers is based on the fact that this forwarding is deactivated after some time (the QR code "expires", although nothing changes in the QR graphic or the data stored in it). Forwarding is only activated after a monetary payment, which unfortunately many users pay because reprinting advertising material etc. would usually be significantly more expensive.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with a QR code forwarding functionality per se (ultimately, our dynamic QR codes are also based on a forwarding principle so that the actual target URL of the QR code can be changed later). In our opinion, it becomes dubious when providers offer a QR service that is praised as free and rely on the naivety of the customer to take the generated QR codes “hostage”, so to speak, because the customer creates QR codes with an expiration date without to be aware of it.

Problems with special characters

If special characters (e.g. umlauts) are displayed incorrectly, this is mostly due to character set problems. Since the subject is not uncomplicated, we have written an article about it, which we would like to refer to at this point: Special characters in the QR code: what you should know about character encoding.