QR Codes for PDF Downloads. Smart!

The QR Code above links to a PDF file. By scanning the code with your smartphone you can download a brochure about all the possibilities qrd.by has to offer.

Using QR Codes in conjunction with PDF files is a powerful solution, especially if you’re dealing with large files or you have the need to update them regularly. This article will not only show you why PDF QR Codes will save you time and paper, but also how to create a better user experience for your brand.

Create your PDF QR Code now

Instead of printing manuals and wasting paper, why don’t you put a sticker with a QR Code on your products (e. g. furniture, electronic gadgets, groceries, … )? This way, when users need support or want to read the instructions manual they just have to scan the QR Code and the PDF file will start to download.  

7 smart ideas using QR Codes for PDF downloads

You can get the most out of linking QR Codes to PDF files in the following contexts:

  1. Catalogs
  2. e-Books
  3. Instructions
  4. Tourist guides
  5. Restaurant menus
  6. Magazines/Newspapers
  7. Homework

1. Catalogs

Your company has a season catalog or a large brochure that you have already designed and printed thousands of copies to distribute in the real world. Why don’t you create a QR Code linking to this catalog in a PDF file instead?

You have already done the hard part of the job and probably ran into big expenses (printing and distribution) so linking a QR Code to it may be an interesting move to get the most out of it.

You could even print stickers or postcards with the PDF QR Code and your call to action. Or place a large poster on the glass door when your shop is closed and link a QR Code to your catalog or latest offers.

Also, if some information (like price lists) becomes obsolete you can always send your users to the latest version of the catalog 🙂

2. eBooks

Auto-publishing is a huge trend among young writers. You don’t need a large publisher anymore to get your latest novel or essay to your readers.

Now you can create a QR Code, link it to a PDF or epub file and promote it at a very low cost, or even for free 😉

It’s true that if you want to become a best-selling author or a famous writer it’s a tough process and you may need a publisher at some point. PDF QR Codes can also be a great resource for large publishers.

Publishers could for example print a QR Code on the book’s paper band linking to the first chapter of the book.

3. Instructions manuals

Instruction manuals are those ugly, thick, multilingual, black and white booklets we have already thrown away and we miss right when we actually need them.

Manufacturers could very easily add a QR Code on the packaging (or even on their products) linking to a PDF with the manual. This will save lots of paper and avoid frustration when the user finally decides to read the manual.

You could even redirect the user to his or her version of the manual depending on the language in the phone settings.

On the other hand, if manufacturers have video tutorials or HOWTOs they can link the user to those videos because let’s stop fooling ourselves, nobody likes to RTFM.

Create your Video QR Code

4. Tourist guides

City councils and travel agencies usually provide tourists with tons of brochures, guides, and maps that always end up in boxes in our drawers.

Besides the waste of paper that it supposes it is not the optimal format if we plan to travel light.

Offering tourists the possibility to download a PDF (in their own language) with useful info for while traveling can be an interesting use case. Documents can be constantly updated and improved and no animals will be harmed and no paper will be wasted.

The ability to track your QR Codes will allow you to know how many PDFs have been downloaded, in what language, from where, etc.

Another cool thing about downloading a PDF is that once it is downloaded it stays in your phone and you can check it out even without 3G. This becomes an interesting feature when you have no roaming or (best case scenario) no signal. This will mean you are really on holidays 🙂

5. Restaurant menus

Isn’t is frustrating to travel to a country where you don’t speak the language and you are going through the menu in a restaurant? We’ve all been there, and in my case, I usually go for the safe choice: forget the menu and point at someone else’s dish.

This would not be necessary if the menus had a QR linking to a multilingual menu. It would only require translating the menu, create a PDF file of each language and generate a Multi-Language QR Code.


Create Multi-Language QR Code

With a single Multi-Language QR Code your guests are happy to select from the menu of your local food in their own language.

A sticker on the table or a little board on the wall displaying your QR-multilingual menu will make your customer’s experience even better.

6. Magazines / Newspapers

Paper publications have lots of virtues that digital media will never have, however, they will always be limited in space and expensive to print and distribute.

If you publish a traditional magazine and you just need to save your latest issue in PDF format and you can grow your audience.

You can produce materials linking to the latest edition of your publication and place them in strategic places.

Did you know that you can also scan a QR Code with the camera of your iPad?

7. Homework

Distributing paper copies among your students is a common practice for teachers and students at school and university.

Sharing documentation can be fast, easy and again, paperless if the teacher shares a QR Code linking to PDF documentation.

Probably drawing a QR Code on a blackboard using chalk won’t be an easy task, but QR Codes can very helpful in class 😉


How to create PDF QR Codes

Create an account at qrd.by. PDF QR Codes are available in all our paid subscriptions. Then log into your account and create your PDF QR Code:


Create your PDF QR Code now

Select the URL to your hosted PDF or upload your own PDF files. Place the QR Code on your packaging, menu or billboard.

Multi-Language QR Code

Combining PDF files with a single multi-language QR Code will allow you to display a PDF in the user’s language. You can define language-dependent redirects, depending on the language set in the user’s browser settings. This becomes extremely useful when you want to offer multilanguage content in a simple fashion (Ex. instruction manuals, restaurant menus, etc.)

Please share your experiences in the comments and feel free to ask us about our platform if you have any question. Sign up for a 30 days free trial (no credit card required) and start experimenting with dynamic PDF QR Codes now:

Sign up for free trial


Photos: pexels.com


Jordi Hernández

Professional Services Manager at qrd.by


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