A QR Code is a 2-D square-shaped black and white barcode that can be read by smartphones. QR Codes store information that can be used to make a call, send a message/email, open a website, or even redirect to a location.
A QR Code can store up to 4296 characters or 7089 digits in a single code making it viable to hold large amounts of content.
QR stands for Quick Response. QR Codes are capable of being scanned within a couple of seconds, and hence the name.
3. How does a QR Code work?
A QR Code works in a similar fashion to that of a barcode. It is a machine-scannable image that can be read by smartphones either via its native camera or third-party apps. Every QR Code contains small data packets in the form of dots that hold a certain piece of information.
When a smartphone is directed at a QR Code, it displays the user information that is easily understandable.
The minimum size of a QR Code should be 2cm x 2cm. However, the size of the QR Code depends on the medium of the outlet chosen.
For best results use this formula,
Size of the QR Code = Distance between the QR Code and the scanner / 10
For instance, if a QR Code is 33 cm, it can be read from as far as 3m.
The size of the QR Code is determined by the size of its modules and the version of the QR Code. The module refers to the black and white dots that make the data pattern and the version to use depends on the data to be encoded.
There are two versions namely –
Version 1 – This type of QR Codes has 21 modules on its sides. For one version larger QR Code, the number of modules on the side increases by 4, and the largest version is 40.
Version 2 – This type of QR Code has 25 modules on its sides. If the size of the module is 0.5mm, the size of this QR Code will be 12.5 mm x 12.5 mm (although a white space of 4 modules must be placed around the code to use it)
6. Can QR Codes be customized?
Yes, QR Codes can be customized to any desired color, pattern, and template depending on the requirement. However, remember that only dynamic QR Codes can be edited after creating it.
Static QR Codes can be customized but there is no opportunity to edit them after downloading them.
A QR Code can be customized with the following options –
To put it simply, static QR Codes are uneditable after creating them; dynamic QR Codes are editable. Not just that, dynamic QR Codes can be tracked, analyzed, set landing pages, and can be customized as and when required.
Here is a table to simplify the differences –
STATIC QR CODES
DYNAMIC QR CODES
Once created, the destination URL cannot be changed
Have the flexibility to change the URL linked to it – even after printing and distributing
Stores the data directly in the QR code graphic
Stores a short dynamic URL on the QR code graphic
QR codes that store complex data look extremely dense
These QR codes are less dense and are more reliable to scan.
One cannot track the performance of a static QR code
The performance of a dynamic QR code can be tracked
8. Are QR Codes editable?
Once QR Codes are created, only dynamic QR Codes can be edited. Static QR Codes cannot be edited once they are created.
9. How do I create a free QR Code?
There are several free QR Code generators in the market to create a free QR Code. Beaconstac’s free QR Code generator offers robust experience and multiple features to create the best quality free QR Code.
QR Codes are free up to a certain extent. If choosing a static QR Code, they are free for unlimited use. If choosing a dynamic QR Code, they are free as long as the free trial period persists.
Beaconstac offers dynamic QR Codes starting from $5 to create beautiful customized QR Codes.
10. Are QR Code generators safe?
Yes. Creating and downloading QR Codes on a suspicious website could lead to downloading malware. However, Using safe QR Code generators such as Beaconstac can prevent this from happening.
It is best advised to use an online QR Code generator to avoid downloading any kind of malware in any case.
These dynamic QR Codes are tracked and analyzed to gauge the marketing campaign, assess the number of scans, location and device of the QR Code scans, retargeting, and rebranding purposes.
13. Can a damaged QR Code still work?
Yes, a damaged QR Code can still work. However, there is only up to a certain level that a QR Code reader can read the code correctly. Although today’s smartphones are equipped with the best technology, a 90% damaged QR Code is still not readable.
Always make sure that the QR Code is between levels M and H, and never H.
14. What are the elements in a QR Code?
There are four main elements in a QR Code –
1. Positioning marking
This indicates the direction in which the QR Code is printed. This insinuates that even if your camera is tilted at an angle, it will still scan the QR Code.
2. Alignment marking
This basically helps a QR Code with its alignment to be able to be scanned without any errors.
3. Timing pattern
This basically helps the QR Code scanner to gauge the size of the data matrix in the QR Code.
4. Quiet zone
This is a vital part of a QR Code. A QR Code’s quiet zone helps differentiate the QR Code scanner from its surroundings.
15. How can I make my QR Codes more beautiful?
QR Codes can be made more beautiful by customizing the QR Code accordingly. Change the color of the data pattern, add a frame, CTA, logo or a background image and change the modules accordingly to make the QR Codes more beautiful.
Avoid the following protocols in order to deem it as unscannable –
Always use contrasting colors for the background and foreground. Keep the foreground dark and background light
Do not add a lot of elements at once to avoid overcrowding
Use a short URL in place of a lengthy URL to minimize the data pattern on the QR Code
Add a CTA to make the QR Code distinct and let the users know what they are expecting
Use colors that suit your brand to keep it in line with the branding and a logo so users know what they are scanning
Dynamic QR Codes cannot be differentiated from static QR Codes, in terms of looks. However, the functionality differs drastically.
For a dynamic QR Code to function as a dynamic QR Code, a short URL is assigned to the QR Code and separate landing pages are created based on the time, location, and device to be used.
These dynamic QR Codes redirect the user to different landing pages based on the protocol set by the user on the dashboard.
18. What is the cost of a QR Code?
Static QR Codes are absolutely free of charge. Dynamic QR Codes are free until the free trial period is over and once it is over, they are chargeable.
At Beaconstac, dynamic QR Codes start from as low as $5.
19. Do QR Codes ever expire?
In the case of dynamic QR Codes, there is no limited scan-life and they do not expire. However, static QR Codes do expire, thus making it non-functional. When a static QR Code expires, it won’t redirect the user to a landing webpage, negating the entire purpose of a QR Code.
Dynamic QR Codes also expire. However, they can be configured to point to another destination once the campaign is over. They are editable, retrievable, and can be used for multiple purposes with no expiration.
With static QR Codes, that is not the case.
20. Who invented the QR Codes?
The QR Codes were invented by the Japanese company Denso Waves in 1994 to track vehicles during manufacturing for a unit of Toyota automobiles. They were designed to permit high-speed component scanning.
21. Are QR Codes free for commercial use?
Yes. Once the QR Codes are downloaded, they can be used for any purpose, including commercial use.
Using a dynamic QR Code will also be helpful in changing the data as and when required to suit the requirements of the company.
22. What is a QR Code vector?
A QR Code vector is a type of QR Code that is used for high-quality print materials, tech uses, flyers, or large print materials such as billboards that can be scalable without losing its resolution.
QR Code vector comes in the format of EPS, PDF, or SVG.
23. What is a QR Code reader?
A QR Code reader is a tool that has the ability to scan and read a QR Code to unveil its contents. A good quality QR Code reader can read a QR Code of all sizes and quality, including any wear and tear.
24. How do I create a QR Code with my logo?
To create a QR Code with a logo, go to Beaconstac’s free QR Code generator with logo select the type of QR Code to be generated and while customizing it, click on Upload Logo to upload the logo from your image gallery or select from the provided gallery to choose any of the icons to represent the accurate action.
25. What mistakes should be avoided before creating a QR Code?
Smartphones these days are equipped with the most advanced QR Code readers. Nevertheless, these mistakes should be avoided before creating a QR Code –
Make sure the quality of the QR Code downloaded is of good quality. For best results, download the QR Code in PNG format
Make sure not to use inverted colors for the QR Code
Do not print the QR Code in an extremely small size deeming it to be unscannable
Make sure the colors used are contrasting. Always use a dark foreground and a light background
Do not include a lot of details in the URL overcrowding the QR Code. Instead, use a short URL to make it look neat and precise
Do not create the QR Code using a poor quality QR Code generator
Do not use a broken link. Always test the URL before generating the QR Code
Yes, you can reprogram a QR Code. Reprograming a QR Code is nothing but changing the contents of the QR Code. However, only dynamic QR Codes can be reprogrammed and not static QR Codes.
27. Can a QR Code be rotated?
Yes, absolutely. QR Codes are omnidirectional and can be scanned without any trouble from any angle.
This is because QR Codes are included with a position detection pattern which helps the QR Code reader to recognize the correct orientation of the code.
Each QR Code comes with three-position patterns (finder pattern) that are positioned at the three corners and one small square that is the alignment pattern. The alignment pattern helps QR Code readers to align and read the code without any difficulty.
28. What is QR Code standardization?
QR Codes are standardized by Denso Wave to ensure that every QR Code created is interoperable. Below is a history of the standardization of QR Codes –
October 1997 – QR Code was approved as AIM International (Automatic Identification International) standard (ISS-QR Code)
March 1998 – Approved as JEIDA (Japanese Electronic Industry Development Association) standard (JEIDA-55)
January 1999 – Approved as JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards) – JIS X 0510
June 2000 – Approved as ISO international standard (ISO/IEC 18004)
November 2004 – Micro QR Code was approved as JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards) standard (JIS X 0510)
December 2011 – Approved by GS1, which is an international standardization organization as a standard to all mobile phones
29. Are QR Code patterns the same for identical data?
Even if two QR Code stores identical data, the pattern might or might not be different depending on the QR Code generator used.
The primary reason for the change is due to the internal expression of the QR Code (numeric code, alphanumeric code, and so on). If this expression varies, then the data pattern also varies.
A QR Code stores data by following four kinds of modes –
10 characters – 0 to 9, in numeric mode
JIS characters 8140h-9FFCh and E040h-EAA4h in kanji mode
10 characters – 0 to 9, in 26 characters, A to Z and 9 symbol characters (space, %, :, $, /, “) in alphanumeric mode
00h-FF h in 8-bit byte (binary) mode
30. Can a QR Code store an image?
Yes, a QR Code can store an image or an image gallery. An image gallery QR Code allows users to open up an image gallery upon scanning the code. This type of QR Codes are lesser-known but are an extremely useful way to explain a product to enhance cross-selling.
Image gallery QR Codes can be used in retail, real estate, automotive industry, and other marketing purposes.
To create an image gallery QR Code for Pinterest, Instagram, and image sharing sites,
Step 1- Copy the link from the above-mentioned sites
Step 2 – Paste it on the QR Code generator
Step 3 – Customize the QR Code
Step 4 – Generate and test the QR Code before downloading it
Step 5 – Download it in the required format – JPG, PNG or EPS
Select the Website QR Code to redirect the user to the video upon scanning the QR Code
Customize the QR Code and make sure to include a video sign as the logo
Generate and test the QR Code
Download the QR Code
The URL should contain a video or must redirect the user to YouTube to start playing the video.
38. What is a PDF QR Code?
A PDF QR Code is a type of QR Code that can be downloaded for any PDF that is either online or offline. This PDF QR Code upon scanning opens up a PDF and does not require an additional app to be downloaded.
PDF QR Codes can be created for menus, educational purposes, books, image galleries, and manuals.
39. What is a micro QR Code?
Micro QR Code is a smaller version of the standard QR Code for applications where space is limited. There are four versions of the micro QR Code, the smallest being 11 x 11 modules, whereas the largest can hold up to 35 modules.
40. What is an iQR Code?
iQR Codes are very similar to the normal QR Codes. But iQR Codes do have some differences –
iQR Codes hold a lot more data
iQR Codes do not look dense even if they hold a lot of data
iQR Codes also support a smaller minimum size
Part 4 – Use cases of QR Code
41. What is QR Code payment?
QR Code payment is a type of contactless payment method where a transaction is done by scanning the QR Code displayed from a smartphone.
QR Code payment is an alternative and easy way to electronic fund transfer during POS using a payment terminal. This type of payment method is secure, avoids clashing of other infrastructure involved such as carrying of the card, payment network, and payment terminal.
QR Code payment is largely seen in retail, eCommerce, transportation, and logistics. Some of the brands leveraging QR Code payments are Amazon, Walmart, and Macy’s.
As the world continues to sail through uncertainty in the newly adopted world, businesses are faced with many challenges – shifting business hours, fluctuating supply chains, and protecting their employees – all while ensuring that the public health is a priority whilst taking these decisions.
Contactless solutions will be the new future in a post-pandemic world. Contactless technologies such as NFC tags and QR Codes are on the rise and will continue to be in existence since it promotes zero-touch.