QR Code and 2D Code Generator
This page is an online two dimensional code generator which is written in PHP. It can generate QR Code, Data Matrix, Aztec Code and Micro QR Code for the time being. Because QR Code is much more popular than the other code formats, it is separately named in the page title. If you need more information on two dimensional bar code systems, I strongly suggest that you take a look at Roger Smolski‘s comprehensive blog on QR Code and two dimensional bar codes.
Using the form on this page, you can create two dimensional code images that trigger various actions on the scanner device. Don’t forget to install Qrafter or Qrafter Pro (why two versions?) to scan and generate QR Codes if you have an iPhone or iPad. You can use this form on both your desktop browser or your new generation mobile device (like iPhone). You can find the explanations under the form. If you like this page and you have ideas to implement, please give feedback, so that I can improve the page. So far, this page created 3607771 codes since I started counting in January, 2010. Seems like especially QR Codes are getting more and more popular outside the far east.
Please be sure to read the Notes and FAQ sections below before requesting help in the comments if you encounter any problems with code generation (Especially for Micro QR Codes or backslash characters you may encounter on some codes!).
This page is very popular and because of that, it gets an incredible amount of comment spam. Sometimes legitimate comments can get caught as spam and I can miss them, so if your comment does not appear for some time, you can contact me from the email address on my contact page.
READ THIS FIRST:
I am getting many questions about scanning the codes created on this generator. Most of them are about some problem with the scanner not detecting the content of the code properly. This generator follows established standards strictly and no scanner (yes, none of them) for any platform except Qrafter and Qrafter Pro for iPhone and iPad follows those standards completely. So, if you somehow end up with an unexpected result after scanning a code, it is because that your scanner was developed lousily. If you are on iOS, use Qrafter or Qrafter Pro for guaranteed standards compatibility. For other platforms, please contact the developers of your scanner app to tell them to start following the standards that were established for a reason.
You can follow me on Twitter through @kerem_erkan. This generator shares a Facebook page with Qrafter and Qrafter Pro since March 2011. You can like that page using the “Like” button above, or you can go to the Facebook page using this link. You can also tweet about this page by clicking this link.
QR Code is far more widespread than Data Matrix, Aztec Code or Micro QR Code. Actually Micro QR Code is rarely used and is only given here as a technology preview. If you want to create a campaign for your products using a 2D Code, make sure that you are using QR Codes, not the other types.
Data Matrix and Aztec Code have significantly lower capacity (4096 alphanumeric characters for QR Code, 3067 for Aztec Code and 2335 for Data Matrix), so if you would like to encode a lot of text, select QR Code.
To create the best readable code for long URLs, use one of the URL shortening services so that the resulting code is as small as possible. I personally prefer j.mp (alternative name for bit.ly) over the others.
Micro QR Code cannot hold more than 35 numeric and 21 uppercase alphanumeric characters, and it can hold even less characters when you use lowercase characters. When encoding a URL into a Micro QR Code, try using all uppercase characters for longer URLs. I don’t know of a scanner that supports Micro QR Code though.
If your input cannot be encoded, the generator will give a warning. In that case, lower the character count in your input and try again.
If your device cannot interpret the encoded 2D Code properly, it probably means your scanner program is written poorly or does not have the capability of decoding that particular code format; or your device does not accept that action, because all codes created by this script and the content within them are compliant to all necessary published standards (vCard standards, URL encoding schemes, NTT DoCoMo standards, etc.).
While we are talking on standards, let me open the topic up a little bit more. Sadly most scanners out there do not follow special character escaping standards. Characters like “:” or “;” are special characters in vCard, meCard or vEvent specifications, and they should be properly escaped for the input to be interpreted correctly. This generator follows these standards correctly, and so a URL field like “http://example.com” becomes “http\://example.com” after escaping. The problem is, some scanners do not know how to handle this escaped character and break altogether. If you encounter such problem, select No for Escape Special Characters in vCard, meCard or vEvent creation. But while you will be able to read those QR Codes in broken scanners, be aware that, your 2D Code will not be standards compliant and you may not be able to add a URL that includes a second colon (for example as a port number separator) or semicolon when you do that. If you are on iPhone or iPad, I strongly suggest that you ditch your broken scanner and download Qrafter or Qrafter Pro. They are fully compliant to said standards. This way, I hope that developers will be forced to create scanners that obey standards that were established for a reason.
Data Matrix, Aztec Code and Micro QR Code do not support characters other than ASCII because of their spec, so if your input has international characters, always use QR Code. Another caveat of Micro QR Code is that, it is not supported by most of the scanner programs out there. As for Kanji and Cyrillic characters, again, only QR Code should support them.
Always use dark colors for foreground color and light colors for background color. If there is not enough contrast between foreground and background colors, your device will most probably fail to decode the code. Another warning: The EPS version I had to use does not support transparency, so you should use another format if you are going to have transparent foreground or background in your codes.
Twitter Profile Image Overlay option overlays your Twitter profile image onto a code that includes your Twitter profile URL. Images created with this option will behave very oddly with vector image formats. You have been warned! 🙂
Currently you can do the following actions with 2D codes generated with this form:
- You can browse to a website.
- You can bookmark a website.
- You can make a phone call.
- You can send a short message.
- You can send an e-mail.
- You can create a vCard (v2.1 or v3.0) with coordinates to add a contact to your device.
- You can create a meCard to add a contact to your device.
- You can create a vCalendar event to add to your calendar.
- You can create Google Maps URLs.
- You can create Bing Maps URLs.
- You can create raw geological coordinates.
- You can create iTunes app and review URLs for iOS devices.
- You can create
market://URLs for searching for publishers or packages on Market app for Android.
- You can create Foursquare venue URLs.
- You can create special
youtube://URLs for YouTube app on iOS.
- You can fetch and encode the latest tweet of a Twitter user.
- You can overlay a Twitter profile image over the code.
- You can create a mobile URL to tweet on Twitter.
- You can initiate a chat to a particular Blackberry PIN on Blackberry Messenger.
- You can connect to a WIFI network on Android devices.
- You can read plain or free formatted text on your device.
You can change the block size of the generated image to make it bigger or smaller. Also, you can change the margin size of the image to add more quiet zone if your decoder cannot decode it (Especially Data Matrix seems to need bigger margin sizes). Error correction level for QR Code (ignored for other code types) can be set to 4 different values and higher values may cause the image to be decoded slightly slower. The 4 values can be explained like this:
- Low (L): Up to 7% of errors can be corrected.
- Medium-Low (M): Up to 15% of errors can be corrected.
- Medium-High (Q): Up to 25% of errors can be corrected.
- High (H): Up to 30% of errors can be corrected.
Please be aware that while I make checks for illegal characters to protect my server, I do not check your input for a meaningful value. For example, if you enter letters for phone number in “Make a Phone Call” action, and your device initiates a nuclear launch sequence in a forgotten former U.S.S.R. rocket silo, it will be your problem, not mine.
The image generation is done using third party encoders. I have only written a handy PHP front end that formats your input and passes it to these encoders.
A note about printing from Roy, a fellow user of this generator: When codes are generated, they are created in RGB (my note: yes even if they are black and white, they are in RGB colorspace) and if they are used in printing, they should be converted to grayscale or CMYK so that, when printed, only the black plate is used. This ensures the highest edge resolution, particularly in smaller sizes.
And lastly, it seems like anything added to this generator is being followed a lot by other generator makers (I am looking at you Avivo) without giving any credit. I hope they also follow the necessary standards properly. 😉
QR Code Scanners:
The best scanner apps for iPhone and iPad are Qrafter and Qrafter Pro (why two versions?). They are available on the App Store. They are designed for both iPhone and iPad and Qrafter is free (scanning is free and you can unlock Pro generation features via an in app purchase) while Qrafter Pro is $2.99. They are able to understand all actions on this generator (and more) and are the most advanced scanners for QR Codes on iPhone and iPad. You can also visit Qrafter and Qrafter Pro’s Facebook Page here.
For BlackBerry, QR Code Scanner Pro is a good choice according to Josh West, one of the commenters on this page.
For Nokia Maemo/Meego, you can use Mbarcode according to Ryks, another commenter.
You can also check out http://QRmediaGuide.com for a list of other scanners.
QR Code is a registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED in the United States and other countries.
Here is an updating list of frequently asked questions.
Q: Can I change the content of a code I created if I find a mistake?
A: The codes generated on this generator are standalone, which means they have no connection to this generator after being generated. This also means they inclde the content directly inside them, and if the content needs to change, the generated code image will change. Please test your code images with as many devices and scanner apps as possible to avoid any problems after printing the codes.
Q: Why do I get unwanted characters like a backslash (\) or semicolon (;) in the result when I scan a QR Code?
A: You are using a QR Code reader that cannot parse the contents of QR Codes correctly. Many readers are especially weak at parsing vCards. Use a proper app from the QR Code Scanners list on this page.
Q: Do you harvest the information I enter to this form?
A: No, I don’t use the information you enter to this form in any means. After you create your 2D Code, the information is removed from my server.
Q: Can I track the scan information for the 2D Codes I create on this generator?
A: While I am working on a tracking platform, you can’t track the 2D Codes you create on this generator unless you create your own trackable goo.gl or bit.ly URL and then enter that URL to generate a QR Code for it on this page.
Q: Do the 2D codes that were created on this generator have an expiration date?
A: No, all codes generated on this generator can be used as long as you want.
Q: Can I use the codes I create on this generator commercially? Do I need to pay any fees?
A: You can use the codes created on this generator both commercially and personally. There are no fees to pay. The only favor I ask back is the promotion of Qrafter or Qrafter Pro on your site as your recommended reader app for iOS devices. But it is only a request, you are not obliged to do that. 🙂
Q: What is the minimum size for a QR Code so that it can be scanned with all devices?
A: The answer to this question cannot be given with exact proportions. New devices with autofocus cameras can scan very small QR Codes, but old devices that don’t have autofocus cameras will have problems with scanning codes smaller than one or two inches. Also it depends on the size of the information that you put into the QR Code. You need to test your QR Code with many devices, old and new to find the best compromise.
Q: Can I overlay an image on top of the QR Code like the one in “Twitter Profile Image Overlay” action of this generator?
A: Yes you can. Create a QR Code with highest error correction and select a vector output. This way, using your preferred image editor, you can overlay an image that’s up to 30% of the QR Code. Be careful not to overlay the image on top of the 3 alignment squares though.
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