QR Code

Inimitable product that rules aidc industries!



Quick Response Code (QR code)

The demand for larger data storage with efficient readability and lower space occupation has directed the way of innovation through 1D barcode to 2D barcode. QR (Quick Response) code is the emergence to these needs and demands and innovated by DENSO Wave Japan in 1994. It is a 2-dimentional matrix symbology with higher data density, lower space occupancy, dirt and damage resistant up to 30%, omni-directionally readable by any 2D scanner and even with a camera enabled mobile phone.

The unique features of the Quick response Code and the advantage of QR code over the conventional Linear Barcode.

Small Printout Size

Since QR Code carries information both horizontally and vertically, QR Code is capable of encoding the same amount of data in approximately one-tenth the space of a traditional bar code. (For a smaller printout size, Micro QR Code is available.

Kanji and Kana Capability

As a symbology developed in Japan, QR Code is capable of encoding JIS Level 1 and Level 2 kanji character set.

In case of Japanese, one full-width Kana or Kanji character is efficiently encoded in 13 bits, allowing QR Code to hold more than 20% data than other 2D symbologies.


Dirt and Damage Resistant

QR Code has error correction capability. Data can be restored even if the symbol is partially dirty or damaged. A maximum 30% of codewords*1 can be restored*2.

 *1: A codeword is a unit that constructs the data area. In the case of QR Code, one codeword is equal to 8 bits.

*2: Data restoration may not be fully performed depending on the amount of dirt or damage.


Readable from any direction in 360°

QR Code is capable of 360 degree (omni-directional), high speed reading. QR Code accomplishes this task through position detection patterns located at the three corners of the symbol. These position detection patterns guarantee stable high-speed reading, circumventing the negative effects of background interference.


Structured Append Feature

QR Code can be divided into multiple data areas. Conversely, information stored in multiple QR Code symbols can be reconstructed as single data symbols.

One data symbol can be divided into up to 16 symbols, allowing printing in a narrow area.

High Capacity Encoding of Data

While conventional bar codes are capable of storing a maximum of approximately 20 digits, QR Code is capable of handling several dozen to several hundred times more information.

QR Code is capable of handling all types of data, such as numeric and alphabetic characters, Kanji, Kana, Hiragana, symbols, binary, and control codes. Up to 7,089 characters can be encoded in one symbol.


Open 2D Code

For 2D Code to become widely used, it is first necessary for QR Code specification to be clearly defined and made public. In addition, QR Code must be freely usable by users.

The background behind the popularity of bar codes, is specification disclosure. Today, there are very few bar codes with closed specifications or strict patent protection.

QR Code is open in the sense that the specification of QR Code is disclosed and that the patent right owned by Denso Wave is not exercised.

History of QR Code Standardization

QR Code is standardized as below. This shows that QR Code has been accepted internationally, ensuring its widespread acceptance not only domestically, but also overseas.


QR Code Standardization

October, 1997

Approved as AIM International (Automatic Identification Manufacturers International) standard (ISS - QR Code)

March, 1998

Approved as JEIDA (Japanese Electronic Industry Development Association) standard (JEIDA-55)

January, 1999

Approved as JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards) standard (JIS X 0510)

June, 2000

Approved as ISO international standard (ISO/IEC18004)

November, 2004

Micro QR Code is Approved as JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards) standard (JIS X 0510)

Obtaining QR Code Specification

Symbol size

21 × 21 - 177 × 177 modules (size grows by 4 modules/side)

Type & Amount of Data
(Mixed use is possible.)


Max. 7,089 characters


Max. 4,296 characters

8-bit bytes (binary)

Max. 2,953 characters


Max. 1,817 characters

Error correction
(data restoration)

Level L

Approx. 7% of codewords can be restored.

Level M

Approx. 15% of codewords can be restored.

Level Q

Approx. 25% of codewords can be restored.

Level H

Approx. 30% of codewords can be restored.

Structured append

Max. 16 symbols (printing in a narrow area etc.)

Obtaining QR Code Specification

QR Code is established as an ISO (ISO/IEC18004) standard. QR Code specification can, therefore, be purchased from this organization.


<Buy ISO Standards>


Please search by inputting ISO No.18004 to "Search and ISO Catalogue".




QR Code System Configuration

A QR Code system is used in combination with a QR Code printer (or QR Code creation software) and QR Code scanner.


QR Code is generated with QR Code creation software and a special printer.


However, these tools cannot automatically create QR Code that can be read correctly. In order to generate a properly readable QR code for the intended reader, the size (area) of QR Code is important.

QR Code Size Decision Factor

The size of QR Code is decided by determining a symbol version, based on data capacity, character type and error correction level, and by setting a module size, based on the performance of the printer for printing or the scanner for reading.

Symbol Version

The symbol versions of QR Code range from Version 1 to Version 40. Each version has a different module configuration or number of modules. (The module refers to the black and white dots that make up QR Code.)

"Module configuration" refers to the number of modules contained in a symbol, commencing with Version 1 (21 × 21 modules) up to Version 40 (177 × 177 modules). Each higher version number comprises 4 additional modules per side



Each QR Code symbol version has the maximum data capacity according to the amount of data, character type and error correction level. Check the maximum data capacity for each version.*Version and maximum data capacity table

In other words, as the amount of data increases, more modules are required to comprise QR Code, resulting in larger QR Code symbols.

Error Correction

QR Code has error correction capability to restore data if the code is dirty or damaged. Four error correction levels are available for users to choose according to the operating environment. Raising this level improves error correction capability but also increases the amount of data QR Code size.

To select error correction level, various factors such as the operating environment and QR Code size need to be considered.

 Level Q or H may be selected for factory environment where QR Code get dirty, whereas Level L may be selected for clean environment with the large amount of data. Typically, Level M (15%) is most frequently selected.


Error Correction Feature

The QR Code error correction feature is implemented by adding a Reed-Solomon Code*to the original data.

The error correction capability depends on the amount of data to be corrected. For example, if there are100 codewords of QR Code to be encoded,50 of which need to be corrected, 100 codewords of Reed-Solomon Code are required, as Reed-Solomon Code requires twice the amount of codewords to be corrected.

In this case, the total codewords are 200, 50 of which can be corrected. Thus, the error correction rate for the total codewords is 25%. This corresponds to QR Code error correction Level Q.

In the example above, the error correction rate for QR Code codewords can be considered as 50%. However, it is not always the case that codewords of not Reed-Solomon Code but only QR Code are susceptible to dirt and damage.QR Code therefore represents its error correction rate as a ratio of the total codewords.

(*) Reed-Solomon Code is a mathematical error correction method used for music CDs etc. The technology was originally developed as a measure against communication noise for artificial satellites and planetary probes. It is capable of making a correction at the byte level, and is suitable for concentrated burst errors.

Setting Module Size

Once a symbol version is determined, the actual size of the QR Code symbol depends on the millimeter size of the module (one square area comprising QR code) to be printed.

The larger the module is, the more stable and easier to read with a QR code scanner it becomes. On the other hand, as the QR Code symbol size gets larger, a larger printing area is required.

It is, therefore, necessary to determine the module size of each application after considering all the relevant factors. It is recommended that QR Code symbols be printed as large as possible within the available printing area.

Printer Head Density and Module Size

The module size of a standard thermal transfer/direct thermal printer depends on the number of dots in the printer head.

For example, if the head density is 300dpi and each module is made up of 5 dots, the module size is 0.42 mm2. Increasing the number of dots improves printing quality, eliminates printing width or paper feed speed fluctuations, distortion of axis, blurring, etc, and enables more stable operations.

It is recommended for stable operations that each module is made up of 4 or more dots.

Printer and module size


Head density

4-dot configuration

5-dot configuration

6-dot configuration


600dpi (24dot/mm)



















Scanner Factors

Each scanner has its own readable module size limit. The scanner resolution represents this limit.

For example, if a QR Code symbol is printed with a 600 dpi, 4-dot printer, the module size is 0.17mm. A scanner resolution of less than 0.17mm is required to read the symbol.

Small printing in the limited area with a higher head density printer can be useless if the reading limit of the scanner is exceeded.

Consider the scanner to be adopted before determining the module size to be used

Scanner type


High resolution type



GT15Q series(for US/for EU ASIA)

Standard type



BHT-600Q series


Camera type


Variable according to lens

Decode software


Variable according to iPhone

Securing Margin

When the symbol version and module size are determined, the size of the QR Code symbol is determined. The QR Code symbol area requires a margin or "quiet zone" around it to be used.

The margin is a clear area around a symbol where nothing is printed. QR Code requires a four-module wide margin at all sides of a symbol.






Example of Calculating QR Code Area

Below is an example of calculating the total QR Code area including margin.

(Example) Creating QR Code to encode 50 alphanumeric characters

1.         Specify the error correction level as the standard "M".

2.         Obtain a version from the Version and maximum data capacity table (find the intersection of alphanumeric characters and Level M). → Version 3 capable of storing 50 or more characters. (Version 2 with Level M holds only 38 characters.)

3.         Use a printer with 400 dpi resolution. → 0.254 mm when printed with 4-dot configuration.(Equation: 25.4 mm/inch ÷ 400 dpi × 4 dots/module = 0.254 mm/module)

4.         4. Version 3 = 29 modules, therefore, the size of QR Code is 29 modules × 0.254 mm/module = 7.366 mm.

5.         Secure a four-module wide margin. 7.366mm + 0.254mm/module × 8 modules =9.398mm

 In other words, the required QR Code area is 9.398mm2.


If QR Code Area gets Too Large

If the QR Code area obtained in the process above does not fit the printing space, consider the following three points.

1.         Decrease the symbol version.

2.         Make the module size smaller.

3.         Split the QR Code symbol.

Why QR code?

This is the vital question for all our quality customers for the proper selection of the barcode which eventually become the key component for the solutions we do offer with our expertise in various fields like

       Supply Chain Management

       Warehousing Management

       Recall Management


       End to End Traceability solution

       Efficient dispatch process

       Product Traceability

       Product Authentication


The following parameters decide the versatility of the application of QR code almost in each industry segment.

       High data density – Can accommodate lager data in a smaller space.

       High data capacity

       Multilingual Capability

       Best reading ability ?(can read the damage code with 15% error correction)

       Reduce manpower indifferent applications

       Facilitate track and trace

       Improve Production management

       Efficient ware housing management

       Efficient Distribution and supply chain management

       Efficient shop floor management

       Eliminate recall cost

       Increase productivity

       Accelerate Product planning and development cycle

       Minimizes Risk

       Reduce Development cost

       Maintain greater visibility in entire structure.

       Improve quality

       Enhance project management

       Improve Team Communication

       Combating Counterfeit

                       Let Us Select