How to Create QR Codes in InDesign

show more Creating QR codes provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Justin Seeley as part of the InDesign: 2013 Creative Cloud Updates show less
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Creating QR codes

The world is going mobile, there is no doubt about it, and with this mobile revolution comes a need for business and people to connect with each other in the mobile space. One of the ways that businesses have been doing that, is through something called QR codes. Now, if you're not sure what a QR code is, you've probably, actually have seen one and just didn't know it. A QR code looks very similar to this little square that I have on screen. QR stands for quick response, and these images are a kind of barcode that is readable by QR scanners or mobile phone cameras, and is then processed using underlying software which then does something with the QR code like take the user to a specified website, for instance.

Businesses use QR codes to drive traffic to their website, send out promotional emails and text messages, and even give out coupons to their patrons. In short, a QR code is simply, making it easier for you to convey a message to someone using a mobile device, and now you can create these little gems right here in InDesign. So let me show you how to do that. I've got one on screen right now, but I'm going to create a new one. So, I'll just click away from this object, and then go to the object menu, and choose, generate QR code. Once I do that, I'm going to come in to the generate QR dialog box, and by default, you may see something like Plain Text, which allows you to add in some Plain Text, which means when someone scans this, it's read back to them and it shows them the plain text message that you have. So, this could be something like a promotional welcome message, thanks for visiting our bakery today, or whatever it might be. This plain text message is just going to be read by some sort of software and displayed to the user on their mobile device or whatever they happen to be using to read the QR code.

You could also do things like a web hyperlink, for instance. So, if I wanted to drive traffic to my website, I could type in my website address here, or add in another website address. So, for instance, I could change this to, and once I do that, hit OK, anytime somebody scans the QR code, it would automatically take them to the website, each time they scanned it. You can also do things like a Text Message so you can specify a phone number and a message which has a maximum of 165 characters, a little bit more than you would get with like a standard tweet on Twitter, but this is a great way to actually send out messages to mobile devices.

You can also send email addresses. You need to specify an email address, a subject line, and a message here in order to do that, and then, also, you can set up a business card so it can be read back in. So, basically, you could put a QR code on your resume, or put it on some sort of flyer, or something like that, and then when somebody scans it, it brings in all of your personal information. This is going to be great for things like conferences, when you go to network with other people having QR codes on your materials there, so that they can instantly grab all of your information without having to write it down or take a business card or something. So again, these are just ways to convey ideas to people via a mobile device.

The person is going to have to have a phone with a camera, scan it over a QR scanning device. They are also going to have to have some sort of app on their phone or some sort of device to actually read the QR code and tell their device what it's doing. So, in this case I think we're good with a web hyperlink, this time pointing to You also have the ability to control the color from here. So, if I wanted to make this a yellow QR code, for instance, I could do that, or I could do it as cyan, magenta, yellow, black, whatever I wanted to do. I could also load in any spot colors that I have currently being used in my document, and once I select the color, I just hit OK.

It is now placed onto my loaded cursor, which I can place into any frame on my document, or I can simply click anywhere in my document to release it and it automatically generate a thirty by thirty centimeter square with the QR code in it. Now, what makes these so interesting is the fact that you get full control over them after the fact. You have full control over the frame as well as the QR code itself. So, anytime you want to modify the QR code, you just go up to the object menu and choose Edit QR Code. You can change the hyperlink, you can change it to a different type of QR code.

You can also specify a new color for the QR code, if you wish. You can select the frame of the QR code and you can change the fill and the stroke of that frame right here inside of InDesign, the same way you can any other frame, and you can also take this object and style it even further by taking it into other applications like Adobe Illustrator, for instance. So, I'm going to select this larger qr code here on screen and I'm just going to copy it using my Cmd or Ctrl+c keyboard shortcut, and then I'll just over into Illustrator for a moment. Once I'm over inside of Illustrator, I'm going to create a new document. Size doesn't necessarily matter here.

Just create a brand new document. And, once you're inside of Illustrator just go ahead and hit Cmd or Ctrl+v on your keyboard, or go to Edit > Paste. When you do that, you'll notice you get a vector object on screen that is this QR code. And so now, I can scale it up or down, make changes to it. I can also go in here and select individual objects, and then, I can go up to the select menu, I can choose Same, and then select something like Fill Color. It will select all of the objects in the QR code that are the same fill, so in this case, all of the black objects, and I can change that color to something like red or dark blue. Whatever I want the QR code to look like, I have full control over it, now, inside of Illustrator.

Then, I can take this back into Indesign and place it in my file and it has all of my color attributes that I set forth here, inside of Adobe Illustrator. So again, QR codes are a great way to convey messages from your business or from yourself to someone or to a customer via a mobile device. The customer has to have something to read it, but as long as they do these QR codes are a great way to continue the conversation or start a conversation about you or your product and you now have the ability to have full control and full generating capabilities with these things inside of Adobe InDesign.

Creating QR codes
Video duration: 5m 43s 41m 17s Intermediate Updated Jan 16, 2014


Creating QR codes provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Justin Seeley as part of the InDesign: 2013 Creative Cloud Updates

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