How To Create A QR Code For A PDF: A Step-By-Step Guide

Say you’re presenting your research work at a conference. And you want to share the research material with all the attendees.

Or you’re a product manufacturer and need to show Terms And Conditions via product packaging.

How do you share documents in such use cases?

A. How to share documents

There are two possible ways to share documents:

1. You share it with the target audience

This is the easiest way to share documents. You simply need to do it in one of the two ways: via as a hard copy (physically) or email (digitally).

a. As a hard copy

Here you only need to get the documents printed. And hand them out to your target audience. That simple!

But this method is cost-intensive. And even if you go ahead with printing the documents, there’s another problem.

In cases such as a conference, you don’t really know exactly how many people would turn up. So you’re often not sure about how many copies you should get printed.

While running short on printed copies will be a problem, getting too many extra copies will still be a concern. It will not only cause wastage of paper but will also shoot up the printing costs unnecessarily.

b. Via email

If you share the documents via email, you’ll not have to worry about getting the documents printed. And even the printing costs.

Just type an email, attach the document, and send it to all the recipients.

But you can only do it if you have the recipients’ email addresses. And even if you do, you’ll still have to tediously type their email IDs one-by-one. It will take a lot of time and effort.

Then how about getting the audience to collect the document themselves?

2. Audience access the document

You can easily get your audience to access a soft copy of the document by themselves in two possible ways:

a. Via a website URL

You can upload a soft copy of your document to a cloud storage site such as Google Drive or Amazon S3. And share the link to it with your audience.

Simply add it to the last slide of your presentation. Or on the product packaging. And add a suitable call-to-action statement such as—Visit here to get a soft-copy of this document. Or Download our terms and conditions here.

But here users will have to pull out their phones to open the browser, tediously type the entire link, and finally access the document.

This is a long process and needs them to put effort. While some of them might do it, others probably won’t.

So what you need to do is—make it easier for them to access the document. Keep reading to know how.

b. Via a QR Code

A QR Code can help you get people to access the document easily. You can add it to your presentation, product packaging, or any other printed material.

All that users then need to do is—open their phone’s camera, scan the QR Code, and view or even download the document.

We call it a PDF QR Code.

B. What is a PDF QR Code

A PDF QR Code, when scanned, redirects the end-users to view or download a PDF on their phones. You can also link multiple PDFs to the QR Code.

All that users need is—a smartphone with QR Code scanning feature. And most of the smartphones (such as iPhone, Motorola, Samsung, and Xiaomi) now come with in-built QR Code scanners.

Even if your phone lacks it, you can download a third-party QR Code scanning app on your phone.

To create a PDF QR Code, you’ll need an online QR Code generator that offers this category.

There are many such generators online. How do you then decide which one is the best for your use case?

Just check if your QR Code generator has all the features you need. For example—password protection, custom design, and lead generation.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to compare all of them one-by-one. Here’s a comparison chart of the top QR Code generators. Check it out to find the best one for you.

C. How to create a PDF QR Code

Using Scanova for a demo, here’s how you can create a PDF QR Code:

1. Go to Scanova and from the dashboard click on Create QR Code

2. From QR Code categories, select Document QR Code


3. Click Upload and upload the PDF that you want to encode into your QR Code.

Upload PDF Document

Once done, click on Continue.

4. Next, you will see the option to name your QR Code. Specify the name, and the category of Dynamic QR Code will be selected by default. With Dynamic QR Codes, you can update the QR Code anytime and also track scanning activity.

Static QR Codes are basic and cannot be edited once created.

Once you specify, click on Create QR Code.

5. Now, on the page you land, you will be able to see QR Code details.

Below the QR Code image, you will be able to see the edit design option. Click on the option to customize your QR Code.

Choose design for QR Code

6. You’ll see two QR Code design options:

Custom logo design: With this option, you can add a logo, and choose from other customization options.

Custom background design: Here, you can merge a semi-transparent QR Code on a background image.

7. Once your QR Code is ready, you will be able to see a preview. If everything looks fine, click on Download.

8. Once you click, a window will pop up to Sign Up. Here, you can create your account and start with a 14-day free trial.

9. You will now be able to download the QR Code you created. For this, you need to tap on the QR Code. Here, you can add tags relevant to your QR Code. With this, you will be able to search for a QR Code by tags.

Furthermore, you can also edit the QR Code. We will detail this in the next section.

10. Once you click on the Download icon, a window will pop up. Here, you can choose an image format and size. Once done, click on Export.

That’s it. Your QR Code will be downloaded.

D. How to edit a PDF QR Code

Say you’ve created a PDF QR Code that takes the end-users to one document. But a few months later, you want to show them another document. Or you want to change the documents liked. What will you then do?

You can simply edit the QR Code you created.

A PDF QR Code is dynamic in nature. That means you can edit its content (PDF file here) anytime you want. Yet your QR Code will remain the same. No need to mass-print it again.

And it even allows you to track its scanning activity. That means—how many people have scanned the QR Code, when and where did they do it from, etc.

On the other hand, static QR Codes, once created, do not allow you to edit their content. Neither do they let you track their scanning activity.

Here’s how you can edit a PDF QR Code:

1. Login to your Scanova account and go to My QR Codes.

2. Select the QR Code you want to edit

3. Here you can edit the following things:

Content: You can edit the PDFs you linked to a QR Code

Advance Settings: You can enable password protection, GPS location, and lead generation

Design: You can edit the design again the way you want to

4. Click Update QR Code

That’s it. Your QR Code will be updated. You can scan it to cross-check the changes.

E. Potential use cases of PDF QR Codes

All QR Codes have one thing in common—they make things easier for the end-users. Similarly, a PDF QR Code helps you:

1. Share a soft copy of your documents

Say you’re an employer and you hire a guy. You make him sign all the necessary documents and want to share a soft copy of these documents with him.

Here you can simply print a PDF QR Code on one of the documents. It will help the candidate access the soft copy on his phone.

Similarly, when you deliver a powerpoint presentation, you might want to share it with the attendees. A PDF QR Code can help you here as well.

Simply convert your powerpoint presentation into a QR Code. And add it to the last side of your presentation material. Attendees only need to scan it to download or view the presentation on their phones.

2. Show T&C and user manual for products

If you’re a manufacturer, you know it’s necessary to provide T&C or user guides with your products. But it’s impractical to print these documents on product packagings. The limited print space keeps you from doing this.

Here a PDF QR Code can help you share these details easily. Just add a QR Code and print an appropriate CTA. For example—Scan here to download our Terms and Conditions.

3. Allow stakeholders to access company reports

Say you want to share company reports with your employees. A PDF QR Code will help you do it.

But you might also want to restrict the access to these reports. You might want only the authorized personnel to be able to view and download them.

In such cases, you can add password protection to your QR Codes. When end users scan a password-protected QR Code, they are prompted to enter a password to access the data (PDF).

You now know everything on how to create a PDF QR Code.

PDF QR Codes make it easier for you to share documents with the target audience. And also help you monitor how many of them have actually scanned them.

Create a PDF QR Code now

Upload PDF files and generate visually-appealing QR Codes for your audience. Free Trial.
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Still have any queries? Ask them in the comments below.

By Gautam Garg

Gautam Garg is a Co-founder and the CEO of Scanova. He is a QR Code enthusiast and a big fan of inbound marketing, CRO, and usability. When taking a break, he likes to go trekking and eat spicy food.

4 replies on “How To Create A QR Code For A PDF: A Step-By-Step Guide”

I want to include a scan code on the label for the customers to see the analysis report of the product. Every year I have to produce a new analysis report, as a new batch. Can I replace the new pdf document with the previous year and use the same QR Code on my labels?

every time i try to upload my pdf file and wait for it to full upload i click on “creat my QR code” an error message comes from the down right corner said “please upload pdf file” when i’m already upload it .. it’s .pdf and about 300 M

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