Quick Response (QR) Codes are two-dimensional barcodes originating from Japan in the mid-90s. Originally designed to track vehicle parts during manufacturing, these ingenious symbols have expanded well beyond their initial industrial use. 

Now, you’ll spot them in every sector from marketing to mobile payments and beyond. A quick scan with a smartphone camera instantly links users to websites, social media platforms, menus, and tickets – the possibilities seem endless. 

Their ease of use and versatility are key reasons for the ongoing popularity and diversified benefits of QR Codes globally.

So let’s learn more about the types of QR Codes.

Read this guide to know All About QR Codes

A. QR Code vs Barcode: What’s the difference

QRs and barcodes are both types of two-dimensional codes, but they differ in terms of design, information capacity, and applications. Here are the key differences between QRs and barcodes:

1. Design

  • QR Codes: QRs are square-shaped and consist of black squares arranged on a white background. They also have three smaller squares in the corners that help scanners identify the orientation of the code.
  • Barcodes: Barcodes are typically linear, consisting of parallel lines of varying thickness and spacing. They can be one-dimensional (1D) or two-dimensional (2D), with 1D barcodes being more common in traditional retail settings.

2. Information capacity

  • QR Codes: QRs can store much more information compared to traditional barcodes. They support a variety of data types, including alphanumeric characters, binary data, and special characters. This makes them suitable for encoding URLs, contact information, and multimedia content.
  • Barcodes: Traditional 1D barcodes can encode a limited set of numeric or alphanumeric characters. 2D barcodes have higher information capacity than 1D barcodes but are generally not as versatile as QRs.

3. Data encoding

  • QR Codes: QRs use a matrix pattern to encode data, allowing them to store information both horizontally and vertically.
  • Barcodes: Barcodes use variations in the width and spacing of parallel lines to represent data in a linear format.

4. Readability

  • QR Codes: QRs can be read from any angle and have error correction capabilities, allowing for successful scanning even if the code is partially damaged or obscured.
  • Barcodes: Traditional 1D barcodes require a clear line of sight for accurate scanning. 2D barcodes may offer some error correction, but their readability can still be affected by damage or distortion.

5. Applications

  • QR Codes: QRs are widely used in various applications, including marketing, advertising, product packaging, ticketing, and mobile payments. They excel in interactive and dynamic content delivery.
  • Barcodes: Barcodes are commonly used in retail for inventory management, pricing, and product identification. They are prevalent on product labels and packaging.

6. Scanning devices

  • QR Codes: QRs can be scanned using smartphones, tablets, and specialized QR scanners. Many modern smartphones come equipped with built-in QR scanning capabilities.
  • Barcodes: Traditional 1D barcodes are typically scanned using laser-based scanners, while 2D barcodes may require specialized 2D barcode scanners.

A. Types of QR Code format

Types of QR Code Formats

QR Codes come in multiple formats. First, we have the common QR Code Models 1 and 2, often used for URLs, PDFs, image galleries, vCards, and Google Maps QR Codes.

Then, there’s the Micro QR Code. It’s smaller than a regular QR Code, perfect for small product packaging where space is limited. It may hold less data, but it’s advantageous where size matters.

Read this guide on Position QR Code

The iQR Code is an expanded version, offering more flexibility in size and a larger storage capacity. This versatility makes it a favorite for diverse printing requirements, such as advertisements and marketing material.

SQRC, or Secure QR Code, is designed specifically for storing confidential information. Hence, it’s perfect for tasks requiring an added security level, such as financial transactions or personal data transfer.

Learn everything about Encrypted QR Codes.

FrameQR takes a creative twist on QR Codes, allowing for unique designs that incorporate the code into promotional graphics. It’s an innovative approach, combining functionality with brand aesthetics.

Finally, HCC2D Code, a prototype, holds potential for further applications with its promising features, hinting at future developments in the world of QR Codes.

Learn all about the permanent QR Codes here

Generate a QR Code For Your Unique Case

People Scanning QR Code

B. Applications of QR Codes

Applications of QR Codes

QR Codes play a significant role in driving website traffic. Users can directly be sent to a webpage by merely scanning the code, providing easy access to the desired content.

You can use static QR Codes and dynamic QR Codes as per your use case.

Learn everything about Static vs Dynamic QR Codes here

Know all about a dynamic QR Code generator here

1. Drive Traffic to Website

QR Codes are used to drive website traffic as a simple yet effective method. By embedding a website URL to a QR Code, users can scan it with their mobile device and be directly taken to your site. 

It eliminates the need to manually type in a web address, reducing potential errors and making the process quick. 

You can even use Multi URL QR Code if you have various websites.

This is particularly effective for printed media, where embedding clickable links is impossible. From posters to business cards and product packaging, these QR Codes instantly bridge physical media and your online presence.

Learn everything about auto generating QR Codes

2. Navigate to your location

Physical navigation becomes a breeze with Location QR Codes, Google Maps QR Codes, and Waze QR Codes. 

By scanning the QR Code, the user’s mobile device can launch a navigation app (like Google Maps or Waze) and provide directions to the desired location. 

Learn everything about QR Codes for live location here

This can be a game-changer for businesses with physical locations. For example, retail stores, event venues, or restaurants. It also provides a way to guide people directly to places of interest, increasing footfall.

Learn everything about QR Codes for address and location

3. Deliver downloadable contact details

QR Codes can also carry contact information within them. These are called vCard QR Codes. When scanned, they show a landing page with details such as your name, mobile, website, company, designation, weblinks, and even a profile picture. 

Plus, the page also has a ‘Save as Contact’ button. Hence, the recipients can easily save your contact with a simple click. No need for them to type anything. Easy, right?

Read everything about generating different QR Code types here.

4. Deliver documentation

QR Codes can contain links to PDF files, which can be downloaded and stored later. This is a practical solution for businesses that must share documents, manuals, reports, or e-books with their customers or stakeholders. 

Business can also use Excel QR Code generator like Scanova to optimize and fine tune their business operations and more.

To deliver documentation, you can use QR Code for a Word document/ Document QR Code/ QR Code for Google Docs.

A PDF QR Code can be printed on product packaging or advertising material, giving users quick and easy access to information. QR Codes can significantly enhance customer experience and engagement, helping businesses share knowledge and add value.

You can also convert PowerPoint presentation into QR Code.

5. Promote your app

App Download QR Codes are programmed to direct users to app download pages on the App Store or Google Play. 

Google Link to QR Code also comes in handy.

This means businesses can promote their apps simply by distributing these App deep link QR Codes on their marketing materials.

They can use a business QR Code generator such as Scanova for their use case.

For region specific use case, you can use multilingual QR Codes.

Businesses can increase their app’s visibility and usage by making it easier for people to find and download their app. That means enhanced customer engagement and loyalty.

6. Welcome guests’ safely

In the age of contactless services, Restaurant QR Codes have become a critical tool. By using a Menu QR Code, restaurants can allow guests to view menus, place orders, and make payments, without touching common surfaces. 

This reduces the risk of viral transmission and streamlines the ordering process, providing an enhanced dining experience. Something to explore while deciding on the marketing strategy of your restaurant.

7. Improve conversion rates

Landing Page QR Codes help you design a mobile landing page even if you don’t have a website. Here, you may add text, images, video, weblinks, etc.

Learn everything about text to QR Code here

Businesses often use it to create pages with the objective of converting them into customers. 

When people scan the QR Code, they are taken to the required landing page where they may make a purchase, sign up for a service, or perform any other desired action.

8. Engage users with video content

Video QR Codes allow businesses to share video content directly with their customers. When users scan a YouTube QR Code, they are taken to a video on YouTube.

 This provides businesses with a unique way to engage customers, sharing anything from product demonstrations and tutorials to promotional videos and testimonials.

9. Increase visual appeal

Image Gallery QR Codes allow businesses to share a range of images with their customers. Retail businesses can use this type of QR Code to showcase various products, and real estate companies can use it to display pictures of their properties.

 When a user scans an Image Gallery QR Code, they can swipe through a range of images, providing a visually engaging experience.

10. Instantly share MP3 files

QR Codes can unlock a world of auditory experience by sharing MP3 files. For instance, musicians can make their work accessible by getting fans to scan a QR Code to instantly stream a new song, album, or playlist. 

Podcast creators can also use QR Code podcast to share episodes. At the same time, educators might incorporate QR Code for audiobooks into learning materials to provide audio lessons. 

These audio QR Codes are readily available, offering a user-friendly way to share audios even via print media.

11. Deliver deals and offers

For many businesses, coupon QR Codes are an effective strategy to drive sales customer engagement. 

These QR Codes can contain information about a special discount, a limited-time offer, or exclusive deals. Hence, they encourage customers to take advantage of the offer. 

The codes can be added at store displays, product packaging, digital platforms, etc.

12. Share relevant content

With Text QR Codes, users share information that might not fit comfortably in print media. 

They can be used in a multitude of settings, from education and information dissemination to marketing and promotions. 

QR Code for GPS location can be used to make the marketing strategy better.

For example, they can provide supplementary info about a museum exhibit, instructions for product assembly, or additional content about a book or article.

13. Receive feedback

Rating and feedback QR Codes streamline the process of collecting customer feedback. 

By scanning a QR Code form, customers can rate their experience, provide suggestions, or voice complaints. Hence, businesses get to know vital information to improve their services or products.

These QR Codes can be placed on receipts, product packaging, or in-store displays, providing a simple and accessible way for customers to share their thoughts and experiences. Businesses can enhance customer engagement and satisfaction by making the feedback process interactive and easy.

14. Make event planning easier

Event QR Codes simplify the management and promotion of events. They can hold all the necessary details about an event. For example, location, date and time, schedule, and even a link for ticket purchases or registration. 

By scanning the code, attendees can easily access all the information they need, saving time and avoiding confusion. Event organizers can also update the content behind the QR Code in real-time, ensuring attendees always have the latest information.

Learn all about Twitter QR Codes here

15. Cashless payments

Payment QR Codes are an essential part of the growing trend towards cashless transactions. They are fast and secure, making the payment process smoother for businesses and customers. 

Users scan the QR Code with their smartphone, enter the amount, and authorize the payment.

16. Make calls instantly

Call QR Codes can streamline communication by enabling users to make a phone call by simply scanning a code. 

These can be particularly helpful in business settings, allowing potential customers to reach out for inquiries immediately. 

Imagine a real estate sign with a QR Code that, when scanned, initiates a call to the agent. 

This makes contacting the appropriate person quick and convenient, improving the user experience and engagement.

17. Send instant messages

Much like Call QR Codes, Message QR Codes allow for instant communication, only this time in text format. 

By scanning the code, users can instantly generate a preformatted text message or email, ready to send to a specified recipient. 

This is useful in providing better customer service, allowing users to send feedback, place orders, or make inquiries with just a few taps on their mobile devices.

Learn all about QR Codes in calendars here

18. Save personal information

MeCard QR Codes offer an efficient way to share and save personal information. Like a digital business card, these QR Codes can hold information such as a person’s name, phone number, email, and address. 

This information can be instantly saved to the user’s contact list when scanned. This eliminates the need for manual data entry, reducing errors and improving efficiency, especially in professional networking scenarios.

19. Connect to Wi-Fi fast

Wi-Fi QR Codes are a secure and efficient solution to the often cumbersome process of connecting to Wi-Fi networks. 

Instead of verbally sharing or manually entering complex Wi-Fi passwords, these QR Codes can be scanned to connect to a specific network instantly. 

This is especially useful in public spaces like coffee shops, libraries, or hotels, improving the user experience by offering a quick and hassle-free connection method.

C. Choosing the best QR Code generator for your business

Choosing the Best QR Code Generator for Your Business

Several factors come into play when selecting a QR Code generator for your business. These include the generator’s ease of use, the types of QR Codes it can produce, its design options, and whether it provides dynamic QR Codes

You should also have the option to generate dynamic QR Codes in bulk.

The generator should also offer tracking and analytics to measure your QR Code’s effectiveness.

We recommend going ahead with Scanova. It allows you to create more than ten types QR Codes and some handy customization options. 

Plus, creating a QR Code with Scanova is a rather easy process. Here’s what you need to do: –

  1. Visit scanova.io: Open your preferred browser on your phone or computer and navigate to https://scanova.io 
  1. Click on “Create QR Code”: Once you’re on the Scanova website, locate and click on the prominently displayed “Create QR Code” button
  1. Choose a category: Scanova offers a range of fifteen categories for QR Codes. Consider your purpose and select the category that best suits your needs. Options include Website QR Code, Image QR Code, Document QR Code, and more
  1. Follow the on-screen instructions: After selecting your desired category, Scanova will provide specific instructions on how to proceed. These instructions will vary based on the category you’ve chosen
  1. Customize your QR Code (optional): If you want to create a personalized experience, Scanova allows you to generate a custom page. Simply select the “Custom Page QR Code” option from the available categories
  1. Input the required information: Depending on the selected category, you will be prompted to provide relevant details such as a website URL, image file, or document link. Enter the necessary information accurately
  1. Customize the QR Code appearance (optional): Scanova offers various customization options, allowing you to modify the appearance of your QR Code. You can change colors, add a logo, and adjust the design to align with your branding or personal preferences
  1. Generate and download your QR Code: Once you’ve completed the necessary steps and customized the QR Code (if desired), click on the “Generate” or “Create” button. Scanova will process your request and provide a downloadable QR Code file
  1. Test and use your QR Code: It’s essential to test your QR Code before implementing it. Use a QR Code scanner app on your phone or a QR Code reader on your computer to verify that it functions correctly. Ensure it directs to the intended content or webpage
  1. Share and distribute your QR Code: Once you’ve confirmed that your QR Code is functioning correctly, you can start sharing it. Use it in your marketing materials, business cards, posters, or any other medium to enhance user engagement and interaction

What are the best types of QR Codes to use

The best type of QR to use depends on the specific purpose or information you want to convey. 

Here are some common types of QRs and their best use cases:

1. Website URL QR Code

  • Best For: Website links, landing pages, and online content
  • Use Case: Direct users to a specific webpage or online resource

2. Text QR Code

  • Best For: Encoding plain text information
  • Use Case: Share messages, notes, or any alphanumeric text efficiently

3. vCard QR Code

  • Best For: Business cards, email signatures, or any context where contact information is shared
  • Use Case: Easily share contact details by scanning the code

4. Email QR Code

  • Best For: Encoding an email address, subject, and body text for pre-filled emails
  • Use Case: Simplify the process of sending emails to a specific address

5. Phone number QR Code

  • Best For: Business cards, advertisements, or any scenario where contact by phone is desired
  • Use Case: Users can quickly call a number by scanning the phone number QR Code

6. SMS QR Code

  • Best For: Encoding predefined SMS via QR Codes
  • Use Case: Prompt users to send a specific text message by scanning the code

7. Wi-Fi QR Code

  • Best For: Encoding Wi-Fi network credentials for easy device connection
  • Use Case: Simplify the process of connecting to a Wi-Fi network

8. Geolocation QR Code

  • Best For: Sharing geographic coordinates
  • Use Case: Provide directions or lead users to a specific location on a map

9. Event/Calendar QR Code

  • Best For: Encoding event details such as title, date, time, and location
  • Use Case: Add events to calendars by scanning the Calendar QR Code

10. Payment QR Code

  • Best For: Mobile payments and transactions
  • Use Case: Allow users to make payments by scanning the code with a mobile payment app

11. App Store QR Code

  • Best For: Encoding links to apps on app stores
  • Use Case: Direct users to download or view apps

Why do business marketers choose QR Codes over other bar codes

Business marketers often choose QRs over other traditional barcodes for several reasons, as QRs offer distinct advantages that align with modern marketing strategies and consumer behavior. 

Here are some key reasons why business marketers prefer QRs:

1. Versatility and information capacity

  • QR Codes: QRs can store a variety of data types, including text, URLs, contact information, and more. This versatility allows marketers to convey more information and engage users with multimedia content, such as videos or images.
  • Traditional Barcodes: Traditional barcodes primarily encode numerical data and lack the flexibility to convey diverse information.

2. Easy scanning with mobile devices

  • QR Codes: QRs can be easily scanned using smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices equipped with cameras. This aligns well with the widespread use of mobile technology.
  • Traditional Barcodes: They often require specialized barcode scanners, limiting accessibility.

3. Enhanced user engagement

  • QR Codes: QRs enable interactive and engaging experiences for users. Marketers can use QRs to link to websites, social media pages such as Twitter, videos, or promotional content, fostering a deeper connection with the audience.
  • Traditional Barcodes: Traditional barcodes typically provide basic product identification and lack the interactivity of QRs.

4. Cost-effectiveness

  • QR Codes: Generating QRs is cost-effective, and many online tools offer free QR code creation. There’s no need for additional hardware or software.
  • Traditional Barcodes: Implementing traditional barcodes may require specialized equipment and software, which can be more expensive.

5. Dynamic content updates

  • QR Codes: QRs can link to dynamic content that can be updated without changing the printed code. This flexibility is useful for time-sensitive promotions or changing information.
  • Traditional Barcodes: Traditional barcodes are typically static and don’t support dynamic content updates.

6. Marketing analytics

  • QR Codes: Scanova provides analytics, allowing marketers to track the performance of their QR campaigns. This includes data on scan rates, locations, devices used, and more.
  • Traditional Barcodes: Traditional barcodes generally lack built-in analytics capabilities.

7. Print and digital integration

  • QR Codes: QRs seamlessly integrate with both print and digital media. They can be included in print materials like brochures or posters and shared digitally through email or online channels.
  • Traditional Barcodes: Traditional barcodes are primarily used in retail and physical product packaging.

8. Wider range of applications

  • QR Codes: QRs find applications in various industries, including retail, marketing, education, healthcare, 3PL solutions logistics, and more. They can be used for diverse purposes beyond inventory management.
  • Traditional Barcodes: Traditional barcodes are commonly associated with inventory and product identification in retail settings.

Best practices: Types of QR Code

When considering best practices for different types of QRs, it’s important to tailor your approach based on the specific use case. 

Here are some general best practices for common types of QRs:

1. Website URL QR Codes

     – Use a shortened, clean URL for better aesthetics.

     – Test the QR code on various devices and QR code scanners.

     – Ensure the linked webpage is mobile-friendly.

2. Text QR Codes

     – Keep the encoded text concise for easy scanning.

     – Consider using alphanumeric characters and common symbols.

     – Test the QR code to ensure accurate text retrieval.

3. vCard QR Codes (Contact Information)

     – Include essential contact details: name, phone, email, etc.

     – Ensure the vCard is well-formatted and compatible with most devices.

     – Test the QR to confirm accurate contact addition.

4. Email QR Codes

     – Pre-fill the subject and body for user convenience.

     – Test the QR on different email clients to ensure compatibility.

     – Communicate the purpose of the email.

5. Phone number QR Codes

     – Include country code for international users.

     – Test the QR to ensure it initiates a call on various devices.

     – Indicate the purpose of the call.

6. SMS QR Codes

     – Pre-fill the message for user convenience.

     – Test the QR on different messaging apps.

     – Communicate the purpose of the text message.

7. Wi-Fi QR Codes

     – Include network name (SSID) and password.

     – Use WPA or WPA2 for security.

     – Clearly label the QR for Wi-Fi setup.

8. Geolocation QR Codes

     – Indicate the purpose of the geolocation.

     – Test the QR to ensure it opens the correct map application.

     – Include additional context if necessary.

9. Calendar QR Codes

     – Include essential event details: title, date, time, location.

     – Use a standardized calendar event format (iCalendar, Google Calendar).

     – Test the Calendar QR Code to confirm accurate calendar entry.

10. Payment QR Codes

      – Use secure and standardized payment protocols (e.g., QR for mobile payments).

      – Communicate the purpose of the payment.

      – Test the QR code on compatible payment apps.

11. App Store QR Codes

      – Use a direct link to the app on the respective app store.

      – Indicate the app name and purpose.

      – Test the QR to ensure it opens the correct app store.

Remember, regardless of the QR type, it’s crucial to:

  • Ensure Visibility and Contrast: Make the QR easily visible and ensure high contrast with the background.
  • Test on Multiple Devices: Test the QR on various devices and QR scanner apps to ensure universal compatibility.

Provide Clear Instructions: Accompany the QR with clear instructions or a call to action, especially if the purpose may not be immediately apparent to users.

Generate a QR Code For Your Unique Case

People Scanning QR Code

FAQs: Types of QR Code

1. How many different QR Codes are possible?

The number of possible QRs is extremely large, as the QR code format allows for a wide range of configurations and data sizes. The number of possible QR codes can be calculated based on the different combinations of modules (black and white squares) within the code.

QRs come in different versions and sizes. The version of a QR defines its size, with larger versions capable of storing more data. Each version can have different error correction levels as well. 

The error correction level determines how much redundant information is included in the QR to tolerate errors and damage.

2. How many types of QR Codes are there?

QRs come in various types, categorized as static and dynamic. Static QRs include URL codes for website links, text codes for plain text information, and specialized codes for WiFi connections, emails, contacts, geolocations, phone numbers, SMS, and events. 

Dynamic QRs offer additional functionality, such as editability, analytics tracking, multi-URL redirection, password protection, and time sensitivity. Customization options include colored QRs and those incorporating logos. 

With their versatility, QRs cater to diverse needs, allowing for efficient encoding of information ranging from simple text to complex data, making them widely applicable across industries and purposes.

Learn how to create a WiFi QR Code

3. What are the two types of QR Codes?

The two primary types of QRs are static QR Codes and dynamic QR Codes.

a. Static QR Codes

   – Characteristics: These QRs contain fixed, unchangeable information.

   –  Use Cases: Commonly used for straightforward data like website URLs, text, contact information, WiFi network details, and more.

   – Limitations: Once generated, the encoded information cannot be modified without creating a new QR code.

b. Dynamic QR Codes

   – Characteristics: These QRs allow for flexibility and can be edited or updated after creation.

   – Use Cases: Ideal for scenarios where the encoded information may change, such as marketing campaigns, promotions, or dynamic content like event details.

   – Advantages: Offers features like analytics tracking, the ability to redirect to different URLs based on conditions, and the option for time-sensitive content.

4. Are any 2 QR Codes the same?

The probability of two randomly generated QRs being the same is extremely low. The uniqueness of QRs is a result of the vast number of possible combinations and configurations they can have. 

The QR standard includes different versions, sizes, and error correction levels, contributing to a large space of potential QR variations.

However, it’s important to note that the uniqueness of QRs relies on their random generation and adherence to the QR standards. If a QR is manually generated with specific data, the chance of generating an identical QR increases.

In practice, QR generation tools and algorithms are designed to produce unique codes for different sets of data. The risk of unintentional collision (two different sets of data producing the same QR Code) is considered extremely low due to the complexity of the encoding process and the large space of possible configurations.

5. What is the most common type of QR Code?

The most common type of QR is the standard static QR Code that typically contains a URL. 

These types of scan codes are widely used for various purposes, including marketing, advertising, and providing convenient links to websites. 

When people scan these QRs with their smartphones or other devices, they are directed to the encoded URL, which could lead to a product page, promotional offer, or any other online content.

Static QR codes with URLs are popular due to their simplicity and ease of use. They are easily generated and widely supported by QR reader apps on smartphones. Businesses often use them for connecting users to their websites, online resources, or specific landing pages, making them a prevalent choice for a broad range of applications.

6. Is a QR Code 1D or 2D?

A QR is a two-dimensional (2D) matrix barcode. Unlike one-dimensional (1D) barcodes that consist of parallel lines of varying widths, a QR Code is a square or rectangular pattern of black squares arranged on a white background. 

The information in a QR is encoded both horizontally and vertically, allowing it to store a significant amount of data compared to traditional 1D barcodes. The term “2D” signifies the two-dimensional nature of QR Codes, distinguishing them from the linear structure of 1D barcodes.

Summing Up

Whether you need a QR Code for a website, image, document, or a customized experience, Scanova provides a hassle-free solution to meet your specific requirements.