QR Code 101: A Beginner's Guide to Creating QR Codes

Last updated:   June 22, 2023

QR codes are everywhere these days. But a lot of people don’t know their origins or how they actually function.

Well, a QR Code is a type of barcode that can be read by a smartphone or other devices with a camera.

Some common uses of QR codes include mobile payments, marketing, and advertising. 

QR codes provide a quick and convenient way for people to access information with just a scan, making them an important tool in various industries and applications.

This article will teach you how to create your own QR code using a free QR code generator, so keep reading.

Static QR code VS Dynamic QR code

Static and dynamic QR code

If you don’t know yet, there are two types of QR codes. These are static QR codes and dynamic QR codes, which serve the same purpose but have different functionality. Let's compare static vs. dynamic QR code:

From its term “static,” a static QR code means that it has fixed, embedded data.

You can redirect scanners of the code to a fixed destination. You cannhange the data embedded in this type of QR code when you have already created, printed, and deployed it.

So, this can only be useful for one-time marketing campaigns. For mistakes or updates, you will have to reprint a new one.

On the other hand, a dynamic QR code is a type of QR code that is editable. From its term “dynamic,” this type of QR code gives you the freedom to change the embedded data anytime.

Not only you can update the content, you can also change the file type. Say from a video file to an audio file is possible with the dynamic QR codes. 

It implies that you don’t have to design or reprint a new one if you decide to change or update the destination URL, where customers will be referred to once scanned. Hence, dynamic QR codes are perfect for marketing initiatives.

How to create your own QR Code

Step 1: Determine the type of QR code you need

There are several types of QR codes, each with its own specific purpose. Some of the most common types include:

  • URL QR codes: Scanning this QR code will lead users to a clickable link online.
  • Text QR codes: These contain plain text that users can view by scanning the code. If you have a simple message for your audience, this is one of the best ways to do it.
  • Email QR codes: This QR code reveals an email template with the owner's email address already attached to it, so you won't have to manually search for an address. You can easily type in and send your email after your scan.
  • vCard QR codes: The vCard QR code serves as a digital business cards that holds all your personal information, plus more data about, including social media accounts.
  • File QR codes: Refers to the QR code used to hold any file, whether audio, video, or PDF documents.
  • Social Media QR codes: These contain all the links of one company or person’s social media channels, so it’s easier for scanners to follow each social media page.

There are many more types of QR Codes, but these are just the most common ones that businesses might need to grow and gain more customers.

Step 2: Choose a QR code generator

QR code generator

Several online tools allow you to generate QR codes for free. Most popular option include:

  • Free QR Code Generator: This website allows you to create QR codes for various types of data, including URLs, text, and email addresses.

Step 3: Enter the data you want to encode

Once you have chosen a QR code generator, you will need to enter the data you want to encode in the QR code. This will depend on the type of QR code you are creating. 

For example, if you are creating a URL QR code, you will need to enter the URL you want to open when the QR code is scanned. 

If you are creating a text QR code, you will need to enter the text you want to display when the QR code is scanned.

Step 4: Customize your QR code (optional)

Some QR code generators allow you to customize the appearance of your QR code. For example, you may be able to change the color or size of the QR code or add a logo or image to the center of the QR code.

These customization options can help make your QR code more visually appealing and unique from other QR codes.

Step 5: Download or print your QR code

Once you have created and customized your QR code, you’ll need to download and/or print it. 

Many QR code generators allow you to download the QR code in various file formats, such as PNG or JPG. 

You can then use the downloaded QR code in any way you like, such as printing it on business cards or adding it to a website or email signature.

Step 6: Test your QR code

Before you start using your QR code, it’s a good idea to test it to make sure it’s working properly. You can do this by scanning the QR code with a smartphone or QR code reader app. 

This will allow you to ensure that the QR code is directed to the correct location or displays the correct information.

Step 7: Promote and distribute your QR code

Now that your QR code is ready to use, it’s time to promote and distribute it. 

There are several ways to do this, such as adding it to your website, printing it on business cards or promotional materials, or sharing it on social media. 

You can also use the QR code in various marketing campaigns, such as email marketing or event promotions.

How to scan a QR code

It's easy to scan a QR code without an app and just use your device's built-in scanner.

Here is a guide on how to scan a QR code.

Step 1: Determine which device you’ll use to scan the QR code

You can scan a QR code using a smartphone or a QR code reader app. If you are using a smartphone, you’ll need to make sure it has a camera that’s capable of scanning QR codes. 

Most modern smartphones have this capability built-in, but you may need to download a QR code reader app if your phone does not have one pre-installed.

Step 2: Download a QR code reader app (optional)

If you are using a smartphone that does not have a built-in QR code reader, you will need to download a QR code reader app from the app store. 

There are several QR code reader apps available for both Android and iOS devices, and most of them are free to download. Some popular options include QR TIGER and Quick Scan.

Step 3: Open the QR code reader app or access the built-in QR code reader

If you are using a QR code reader app, open the app on your smartphone. If your smartphone has a built-in QR code reader, you will need to access it through the camera app or a specific QR code scanning feature.

Step 4: Position the QR code in front of the camera

To scan the QR code, you will need to hold your smartphone or QR code reader app up to the QR code so that it is in view of the camera. 

Make sure the QR code is positioned within the frame of the camera, and that it is not too far or too close to the camera.

Step 5: Align the camera with the QR code

Once you have positioned the QR code in front of the camera, you will need to align the camera with the QR code so it’s properly focused. 

Make sure the camera is pointed directly at the QR code and that there are no distractions or obstructions in the way.

Step 6: Scan the QR code

To scan the QR code, just press the scan button in the QR code reader app or on your smartphone’s camera app.

Some of these QR code reader apps will automatically detect and scan QR codes as soon as they are in view of the camera, while others may require you to manually press a button to initiate the scan.

Step 7: Wait for the QR code to be scanned and processed

Once you have initiated the scan, the QR code reader app or smartphone camera will process the QR code and decode the information it contains. 

This process may take a few seconds, depending on the complexity of the QR code and the processing power of your device.

Step 8: Review the information or follow the instructions provided by the QR code

Once the QR code has been scanned and processed, the QR code reader app or smartphone camera will display the information or instructions contained within the QR code. 

This may be a URL to QR code, text message, email address, phone number, or other types of data. Follow the instructions provided by the QR code to access the information or take the desired action.

Start your QR code journey now

That’s it! With these steps, you should now be able to scan QR codes easily and effectively.

QR codes are a convenient and efficient way to access information or perform actions, and by following this guide, you can make use of QR codes in various situations.

Secure your own QR code today to bring ease to your day-to-day transactions. And always choose a reliable QR code maker to assist you, in your safety.

Visit the Free QR Code Generator online or go to other recommended QR code generators like QRTIGER, and begin your journey towards convenience now!