Barcode Fonts, Components, ActiveX and .NET Windows Forms Controls, Java Servlets, 
DLLs and Barcode Scanners. Click to Verify - This site chose VeriSign SSL for secure e-commerce and confidential communications. IDAutomation.com, Inc., Computers Hardware, Software & Services, Tampa, FL View your cart in the IDAutomation Store
       
Menu
Home > Barcode FAQ > 2D Barcode FAQ > QR Code Barcode FAQ and Tutorial

QR-Code Barcode FAQ | Tutorial2D QR Code Barcode Encoding VCARD Contact Info

If a QR Code barcode scanner is needed, IDAutomation offers several hand-held QR Code imagers and verifiers.

Overview

 
 

QR-Code is a two-dimensional (2D) barcode type similar to Data Matrix or Aztec, which is capable of encoding large amounts of data. QR means Quick Response, as the inventor intended the symbol to be quickly decoded. The data encoded in a QR-Code may include alphabetic characters, text, numbers, double characters and URLs. The symbology uses a small area of square modules with a unique perimeter pattern, which helps the barcode scanner determine cell locations to decode the symbol. IDAutomation's implementation of QR-Code is based on the ISO/IEC 18004:2006 standard also known as QR-Code 2005.

Fig. 1. A 2D QR-Code Symbol Generated with the IDAutomation QR-Code Image Generator.

2D QR Code Barcode Encoding VCARD Contact Info

QR-Code Common Uses

QR-Codes are commonly used with mobile and smart-phone devices to direct users to additional information about a particular topic or product.

Encoding Product Information:

When a QR-Code is used in combination with a product that has a GTIN, GS1 recommends using the GS1-QRCode format. This may be used to encode the extended packaging URL, for additional product information, demonstration videos or a user manual for example.

When the GS1-QRCode format is used, data is encoded with the FNC1 character (~1) and begins with the AI of (01) to reference the GTIN and proceeds with the (8200) AI to reference the URL, for example:
~101049123451234591598200http://www.bcgen.com
(GS1-QRCode tutorials and examples)

If the GS1-QRCode format is not used, or if the QR-Code is not used in connection with a product that has a GTIN, a simple URL may be encoded, for example:
URL:http://www.bcgen.com/

Whether to use the GS1 format or not depends on requirements of GS1, your trading partners and the supply chain. When in doubt, contact your local GS1 office for more information.

Example of VCARD decoded from QR-CodeEncoding Contact Information:

Encoding vCard contact information (in MeCard format) on business cards is also a common implementation. The image to the right demonstrates the options available after scanning the barcode in Fig 1 above with a smartphone app.

The chart below lists common uses and the encoding technique. The Free QR Code Generator may be used to generate all codes described below. Simply copy the example below into the Free QR Code Generator replacing the generic information with yours.

Purpose Prefix Examples (IDAutomation does not suggest encoding Tiny URLs or Indirect Links)
Website URL URL: URL:http://www.bcgen.com/
Facebook Like URL: URL:http://facebook.com/IDAutomation
Twitter Follow URL: URL:http://twitter.com/IDAutomation
E-mail Address EMAIL: EMAIL:admin@yoursite.com
Phone Numbers TEL: TEL:+18135142564
MeCard Contact Information, in MeCard format MECARD: MECARD:N:Smith,John;ADR:550 N. Reo St.,Suite 300,Tampa, FL33609;TEL:+18135142564;EMAIL:you@com;URL:bcgen.com
NOTE: Symbols created with the MeCard format only work correctly when scanned with an app that is MeCard compatible, such as the Free BeeTag iPhone app.

QR-Codes may also encode the vCard format, however, these symbols will be larger than the MeCard format. This is an example of the data that would be encoded to create a vCard:

BEGIN:VCARD VERSION:3.0 N:Smith,John FN:Displayname ORG:IDAutomation URL:http://www.idautomation.com/ EMAIL:you@com TEL;TYPE=voice,work,pref:+18135142564 END:VCARD

QR-Code may also be easily displayed on smart-phone devices in place of anything that is normally printed with a barcode, such as coupons, tickets and passes. When used in this way, the QR Code is displayed on the screen via a website, email or text and scanned from the screen. The IDAutomation 2D USB Scanner quickly performs scans from mobile phone screens as seen in this video.

Generating and Printing

Creating QR Code Barcodes
View Video Full Screen on YouTube

IDAutomation offers a Free QR-Code 2D Barcode Image Generator, designed to encode a MeCard business card barcode or URL, which can encode up to 200 characters. Capability to encode more than 200 characters is available in the products described below.

The IDAutomation QR Code Barcode Font and Encoder is a collection of encoders and components that generate QR-Codes with either fonts or graphics.

Several types of QR Code encoders are available in the package to support multiple operating systems including Windows 32 and 64 bit systems, Mac OS X, Unix and Linux. This package includes the IDAutomation_QRFontEncoder(DataToEncode) function to easily generate symbols from VBA code in Microsoft Office and VB code in OpenOffice in addition to support for development environments including .NET, Java, C#, VB and C++.

QR-Code is also offered in several barcode components, such as the Crystal Reports Barcode Generator, .NET Windows Forms Control, ASP.NET Server Control and Streaming Server for IIS, as well as the 2D QR-Code Image Generator for Windows and the Barcode Label Software Pro.

Symbol Size

QR-Codes are some of the smallest and most dependable barcodes in use today, however, they are generally not as small as Data Matrix and Aztec symbols. QR-Code is also a good choice when sending barcodes over faxed documents, because the symbol can withstand many poor resolution and scanning issues, especially when using IDAutomation's 2D S font.

According to the specification, a quiet zone of four times the size of one module is required on all sides of the QR-Code symbol. The quiet zone should be the same color as the background within the symbol. This quiet zone of QR-Code is also larger than Data Matrix, which only requires one module.

Choosing the correct encoding mode and the lowest error correction of "L" (or parameter 2) will help ensure the symbol size is as small as possible.

Verifying QR-Code Symbols

Printed QR-Code barcode symbols may be easily verified with the Print Quality Assessment test found in the IDAutomation 2D Barcode Scanner. The quality assurance test will grade the symbol and report any possible problems. The report below was generated when scanning the symbol in Fig. 1 with PQA enabled:

>> PQA <<
QR CODE: MODEL 2 VERSION 2 (25 x 25 modules)
Mask Pattern Reference #7, Error Correction Level "L"
Data Field: 34 data & 10 checks in 1 block(s) of GF(256)
X roughly = 0.041"
[C] < Data Safety Margin = 46%
[A] < Horizontal Print Growth = +4% of X
[A] < Vertical Print Growth = +1% of X

Error Correction | Encoding Modes

Products such as the IDAutomation QR-Code Barcode Fonts and the QR-Code Components all support the encoding modes listed below. By default, the encoding mode for most components is "byte" and an error correction level of M (15%). If the choice is to encode numbers and uppercase text only and size is a concern, a change of the encoding mode to Alpha-Numeric may produce a smaller symbol. The data represented in the symbol may be encoded using one of the following modes:

Encoding Parameter* Description
Byte 0 (Default) Encodes lower case letters, text, images, double-byte characters, binary data and 8 bit values.
Alpha-Numeric 1 Encodes only numbers, uppercase letters, the space and the following symbols (&%*+-./:).
Numeric 2 Encodes only numbers.

Four levels of Reed-Solomon error correction are referred to as L, M, Q and H. The error correction levels allow verification of data and recovery in the event that part of the symbol is damaged. Increasing the error correction level increases the symbol size and reduces data capacity. The percentage of recovery and capacity noted below are approximate. To generate the smallest symbol choose error correction "L" or parameter "2".

Error Correction Level % of Recovery Byte Capacity at Size 24 Parameter*
L 7% 1171 2
M 15% 911 0
Q 25% 661 3
H 30% 511 1

* The parameter selection is the parameter to use in IDAutomation's QR Code Font and Encoder and other QR Code Components.

Symbol Version | Micro QR-Code

The version is the size of the symbol from (1) 21x21 to (40) 177x177. Zero is the automatic selection and the default. If the symbol needs to be larger than the selection, the component automatically overrides this value.

Micro QR-Code symbols may also be generated with the setting of (-4) for automatic. Micro QR-Code is only available in products that support GS1 QR-Code. The size of the micro QR-Code symbol is from (-4) 11x11 to (-1) 17x17. The largest micro symbol can hold 35 numeric characters in numeric encoding mode with error correction level set to L (2). If the symbol needs to be larger than the selection, the component automatically overrides Micro QR-Code mode and creates a standard QR-Code symbol. Choosing the correct encoding mode and the lowest error correction L (2) will help ensure the symbol is as small as possible. The following is a Micro QR-Code encoding 1234567890123456789012 in numeric mode with error correction L (2).

Micro QR-Code symbol

Control Characters | Tilde

IDAutomation QR Code Barcode Fonts, Components and Applications use the tilde character "~" to recognize special characters when "Apply Tilde" or "Process Tilde" is enabled. QR Code allows ASCII codes to be easily encoded for various functions such as tabs and returns. These functions are not usually visible when scanned unless the Barcode Scanner ASCII String Decoder is used with a scanner that has lower ASCII capability such as the Honeywell Xenon 1900 Barcode Imager or IDAutomation 2D Barcode Scanner with Control + ASCII mode enabled.

Reading QR Code Barcodes

Encoding Byte, Unicode and Extended ASCII Characters

It is possible to scan and encode international and extended characters provided the instructions below are followed:

  1. Encode the data using byte encoding.
  2. Scan the data via the serial interface option (data bits have to be 8N) on the scanner. Normally, keyboard wedges and USB scanners do not support extended characters above ASCII 128, and only scan characters that are actually on the keyboard. Contact the scanner vendor for more information as some of the scanner's internal settings may need to be changed.

Amount of Data Encoded

  • It is recommended to limit the amount of data encoded in each symbol to 800 characters or less if possible. The ISO/IEC 18004 specifications state that up to 2900 bytes and 4200 ASCII characters may be encoded in single symbol; however, few imagers can dependably decode symbols that large. The amount of data that can be encoded will vary depending upon the type of data, the encoding mode and what the scanner can read.
Mask Patterns

The mask pattern determines which modules are dark and which are light to make it as easy as possible for a QR-Code scanner to decode the data. This was important in the early 2000s when matrix based decoding systems were not as advanced as they are today. With todays modern matrix decoders, all mask patterns will decode properly in nearly the same amount of time. Because the mask patterns take many calculations to compute, some IDAutomation products released after April 2016 include an option to bypass this calculation to make barcode generation faster.

About the Inventor | Patent Infringement Claims | License Fees

Denso Wave, Inc. invented the QR-Code symbology. A notification on their website states that no license or royalty fees are required provided that a proper copyright notice is included that refers to Denso Wave, Inc. as the copyright owner.

Patent Infringement Claims: There have been recent patent Infringement claims (Patent Numbers: 6,199,048 8,131,597) regarding the use of "indirect links", also referred to as "tiny URLs" embedded in QR-Code symbols. Therefore, when encoding URLs in QR-Code, IDAutomation suggests encoding the entire URL. IDAutomation provides the generation component and fonts to generate QR-Code symbols; IDAutomation is not responsible for the data encoded. This suggestion is not to be considered legal advice; IDAutomation does not provide legal advice.

Back to Top

 ©Copyright 2016 IDAutomation.com, All Rights Reserved. Legal Notices.

 Barcode Fonts | Components | Scanners | Support | Contact Us

Loading
Training Videos on YouTube  Join us on Google Plus  Join us on LinkedIn  Follow us on Twitter  Like us on Facebook
Over 70% of Fortune 100 companies use IDAutomation's products to automate their businesses.