Static versus Dynamic QR Codes

The most common QR Code type is a QR Code with an encoded URL. When scanning such a QR code the user is either being linked to your website directly (static QR Code) or he is redirected through a tracking URL to your website (dynamic QR Code). The following example explains the two approaches in more detail:

Static QR Code

The content of a static QR code can NOT be changed after creation.

Static QR Code

With a static QR Code the user sees immediately where he is being redirected when scanning the QR Code, because the target URL is directly encoded into the QR Code. But what if for some reason the target URL is broken, removed or you just want to redirect the user to a different URL? If you have printed the QR Code already on thousands of magazines, you have a problem.

Dynamic QR Code

Dynamic QR Code trackingWith a dynamic QR Code you are not only able to change the target URL of the QR Code after publishing but also track from where, when and from who the code has been scanned. This is accomplished by routing the user through a tracking server first and then redirect the user to the original URL. The first URL is called the tracking or Vanity URL. In most cases a tiny URL is used, so the QR Code can be printed in a smaller size, because less characters have to be encoded into the QR Code.

Always be careful when using a QR Code tracking service. Some providers route the user through a landing page first, where an ad is displayed before continuing to the target URL. Another risk is if the tracking server goes offline, the dynamic QR Code will not work anymore.

This is why we recommend you to use our fast and secure infrastructure. We do not display any ads and you can create both – static and dynamic QR Codes – for free. Get to know more about our free QR Code Manager or start creating static QR Codes right away:

Create a dynamic QR Code



The Advantage of QR Codes: Scanning is 3 times faster than Typing

QR Code Movie Poster Youtube

There is a simple answer why using QR Codes in your marketing activities is a MUST:


Scanning a QR Code is the fasted way to open specific content in the browser!

To give you an example: A new blockbuster movie is out and is promoted with posters in the streets or with ads in magazines. To let people interact with the poster a link and a QR Code are added, like shown in the illustration above. The link redirects the user to the movie trailer, so people can already preview the movie on their mobile devices, before watching the movie in the theatre.

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QR Code decoding support for native camera App on iPhone, Android or Windows devices

native qr code decoding cam app

One way to solve the technical barrier for people to scan QR Codes would be to include a QR Code scanner in the native camera app of a Smartphone. People will not need to install a 3rd party app anymore and direct support in the OS will make QR Code decoding much faster.

iPhones with iOS11 support native QR Code Reading

As of September 2017 updating Apple devices to iOS 11 enables users to read QR Codes without a third party app! Read more about how to use the native camera app decoding QR Codes here:ios11 native camera qr code reader iphone

Galaxy S9 camera can now scan QR codes

As of June 2019 Samsung Galaxy S9 supports scanning QR Codes with the native camera app. A soon a QR code is detected, the camera displays a popup with the link to the website encoded in the QR code, so you can open that website with a single tap.

Microsoft Windows phones support native QR Code scanning

Microsoft did a first step towards QR Code recognition in their camera app, but with only 2.6% market share in the worldwide smartphone market[1] this is just a small portion. Lumia phones have a built in QR Code Reading App, but making a QR Code readable requires to setup the camera every time a QR Code is scanned. Using a 3rd party scanning app is much more comfortable.

Google is afraid of QR Codes killing their Ad business

An assumption why Google has no interest in supporting QR Code decoding in the native camera app is because a direct link in the QR Code bypasses Google Search. Google wants you to use their search engine for displaying ads and tracking your behavior instead of directly linking you to a website[2].

Motorola as a first mover

Motorola native Cam App supports QR Codes

However Motorola, who is using Android as their basic OS, updated its native Camera App that allows QR Code scanning[3]. The app can be downloaded for Motorola devices here.


There are native QR Code scanning solutions for Windows, iPhone and Android devices. However Microsoft needs to improve the UX drastically, so that people will actually know how to use the native camera function for scanning QR Codes instead of downloading a 3rd party app. If Google sees a potential harm in affecting their ad and tracking business, they could release a native camera app that tracks all QR Code scans and previews the target URL of the QR Code in addition with some ads displayed below before redirecting the user to the website. Finally Apple included native QR Code decoding since the Asian market is using QR Codes almost everywhere and Apple might wants to be a player in the QR Code payment industry. Let’s see how Android will follow…




Get Followers with QR Codes for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

social actions webAn easy way to get more followers for your social networks is to use Social QR Codes. Place them on your folders, your products or in your shopping window to give people the opporiunity to like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter.

Facebook Like and Facebook Pages

With a Facebook QR Code you can either link the user to your Facebook site directly or link to a landing page with a like button included, like shown in the example below.

The magic thing about those QR Codes is that they automatically check, if the Facebook App is installed on the mobile device. If so, the Facebook Page is opened directly in the App. If not, the page will be viewed in the web browser of the mobile device.

Facebook Like

Scan this QR Code to like on facebook

facebook qr code

This QR Code leads to our facebook page

Create Facebook QR Code


However, remember that your QR Codes are less likely to be scanned, if you don’t clearly communicate what happens after scanning the QR Code. Offer an incentive to scan your QR Codes and announce where the QR Code will lead the visitor to. For Example :

Scan this code to like us on Facebook / and benefit from QR Code marketing insights

 Get more Instagram & YouTube followers

With our QR Code Generator you can different Social QR Codes types. Here are some more examples:



Twitter Profile and Tweeting

With a Twitter QR Code you can redirect users to your Twitter profile to gain new followers or encode a message in the QR Code that people can tweet after scanning the code.

Twitter QR Code

With a Twitter QR Code you can redirect people to your twitter profile to create more followers

QR Code twitter message

With this QR Code you can tweet the message: Create Social QR Codes with @qrdby #qrcode

Create Twitter QR Code

You can do even more with QR Codes, like send an SMS, start a phone call, write an E-Mail and much more. Learn more about other type of QR Codes here:

Offline QR Codes

Using QR Codes on Business Cards: vCard vs. mobile Website

vcard vs. mobile website

In this article you will learn about different ways how you can create a QR Code for your business card that links to your contact information. However there are pros and cons depending on which method you are using concerning performance, offline availability and size restrictions. We recommend you to use the QR Code Reader from i-Nigma for smooth decoding of business cards.

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What is a “Custom Shortened URL” in a QR Code?

If you are generating a QR Code, most of the times you want to redirect the user to a website, e.g.: This URL is called the target URL.
If you create a dynamic QR Code, the target URL is shortened by default to a random URL e.g. This is called a shortened URL. With qrd°by you are able to customize such a shortened URL. Instead of 0j6nte you can set a human readable name e.g. speech-steve-jobs. Such URLs are called custom shortened URLs or Vanity URLs.

Custom Shortened URL

Using a custom shortened URL to redirect the user to a video of the speech of Steve Jobs @ Stanford

What is the benefit of a custom shortened URL?

People who are scanning your QR Code will now see when the QR Code is decoded in the scanning app. This will give them a better idea of where the QR Code leads them to. Moreover a shortened URL encoded in a QR Code allows printing the QR Code in a smaller size, since fewer characters are encoded in the QR Code (See also Minimum size of a QR Code). Using shortened URLs also allow you to track who is scanning your QR Codes. So you can measure how succesful a QR Code campaign is performing. Read more about tracking QR Codes.

Custom shortened URL + Custom Domain

With the White Label QR Code Manager you can even set a custom domain for a dynamic QR Code. For example instead of you may use the custom domain my.domain. The QR Code will then have the custom URL http://my.domain/speech-steve-jobs encoded. With a custom domain you can keep your brand and your corporate identity without exposing that you are using our QR Code platform.

Dynamic QR Code – Changing the target URL

A QR code usually has a static URL encoded to which the user is redirected after he has scanned the QR code. In case the target URL is no longer up-to-date or does not exist anymore, you may use a dynamic QR Code instead. 

Dynamic QR Code

With the free QR Code Manager from it is easy to change the destination URL. The URL in the QR code is always the same, but first redirects to our company website and after editing the target URL to this blog.

Create a Dynamic QR Code

With a dynamic QR code, you can change the target URL subsequently. Even if the QR code has already been printed on posters, flyers or in magazines, you can redirect the user after the scan to any landing page, anytime, without having to print the QR code again.

For instance, if you are using a QR Code to redirect the user to a temporary available voucher, you can change the target URL after the promotion has ended.

If you create a dynamic QR Code on our platform he will never expire!


Minimum Size of a QR Code

Minimum QR Code size

Recommendation: A QR Code that encodes up to 72 characters (which is the length of a typical URL) should be printed in a size of 20×20 mm (0.79x0.79″) when scanned from a distance of 20cm (7.9)

Surface Scan Distance QR Code Size
A4 e.g. Magazine 20cm 20mm x 20mm
A3 e.g. Poster 1m 100mm x 100mm
3x4m e.g. Billboard 10m 1m x 1m

Before applying this recommendation please consider the following tips. If you you are printing a designer QR Code please also read Printing QR Codes with Colors.

Consider the scanning distance

Rule of the thumb: the ratio between scanning distance and the QR Code size is 10:1. So if you want to scan a QR Code from 10 meters (390″), the size of the QR Code should be 1 square meter (39″). Or if you print a QR Code on a post card, the user will scan the QR Code from a distance close to 15cm (5.9″). Applying the rule the QR Code may have a minimum size of 15mm (0.59″).

Quiet Zone around the QR Code

Quiet Zone QR Code margin

Have at least a Quiet Zone of 4 Units arround your QR Codes.


If you print a QR Code always leave a quite zone (margin) around the QR Code. We recommend to have 4 units of white space arround your QR Code to ensure it can be read by any QR Code reader.


Use shorted URLs

How much information do you want to store in the QR Code? The less the better. Use shortened URLs instead of a long URL. The shorter the URL the less units a QR Code will contain and there for can be plotted smaller.

A shortened URL with up to 17 characters will produce a QR Code with 21×21 units. Encoding a longer URL with up to 72 chars will result in a QR Code with 35×35 units.

QR Code with a long URL

QR Code with tiny URL

A shorted URL:


Use low Error Correction Level

When creating a QR Code you can set an Error Correction Level. The higher the level is set, the more of a QR Code may be destroyed while the QR Code will be still readable. However, a higher level also increases the size of a QR Code. We recommend setting the error level L for QR Codes without an embedded logo. This will give you the smallest possible size of a QR Code. The following figure shows you a QR Code with the same encoded URL in two different error correction levels:

QR Code Correction - Level L QR Code Correction - Level H
Level L 7% Level H 30 %

Use scale able vectorized QR Codes

It is important create QR Codes in Vector format. If you are plotting QR Codes from a .png or .jpg source, they may get blurred and cannot be read anymore.

Create optimized QR Code

Smallest QR Code Contest

Download the QR Code Contest .pdf document and print it out. It contains various QR Codes in different sizes. In theory you will be able to scan QR Codes with a size of 5mm (0.19″), depending on your printer and your scanning device. If you are able to scan QR Codes in an even smaller size, please let us know!!!

Devices that scan QR Codes < 4mm (0.16”)

Huawei Ascend XT H1611 (3mm QR Code was printed on a Canon MF4320 laser printer with 600dpi)

Devices that scan QR Codes < 5mm (0.19”)

Apple iPhone 5
Google Nexus 5
Huawei Ascend Mate 7
LG D802, D959
MicroMax Q450
Nokia Lumia 635
OnePlus One
Samsung GALAXY ACE 3, GALAXY Note 4 Edge, GALAXY S4, GT-I9500, SGH-I317
Sony Xperia Z1
Xiaomi MI 2SC