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. – denso-wave.com
That statement comes from the inventor of the QR Code standard Denso Wave, and what it essentially means is that anyone with the desire can browse the specification for QR Code and start making their own (or make a system that lets anyone do it) for free. Search Google for “Free QR Code Generator” and you’ll find a multitude of websites that have done just that, but are all QR Code generators created equally?
We’re going to run through some of the most popular ones and point out some of the killer features you should be looking for from a free QR Code generator.
Kaywa will always pop up when your searching around the subject matter of QR Codes and how to generate them. They seem to be one of the first to get their offerings available.
You can generate 4 different types of QR Code: URL, Text, Phone Number or SMS.
As well as the content to be encoded you can specify the size of code you wish to generate. The generated code can be saved from the left panel although the filetype isn’t properly specified by the generator so you’ll need to rename the downloaded file to a .jpg or .png.
The generator also gives an HTML snippet if you wish to paste the code directly into your website.
A quick and dirty solution that isn’t particularly helpful because of the filetype issue.
Delivr deserves a mention in this list for exposing a few more of the technical aspects of QR Code generation.
It gives a greater variety of QR Code types than Kaywa including many social network services. Delivr also offers an automatic URL-shortening option, if you didn’t know already; the actual size of a QR Code is related to the amount of data that is encoded, therefore by using a URL-shortener the QR Code can be made more compact.
Most interestingly (in my opinion) is that Delivr gives the option to change the error correction level of the QR Code. The QR Code standard has an error correction ability which means it can still be scanned with part of the code obscured; either by deterioration or overlaying with a logo etc. Most generators generate QR Codes with an error correction level of ‘Q’ or ‘H’ which allows for 25% or 30% of the code to be obscured and the QR Code still function.
By altering your QR Code to use an error correction level of ‘L’ only allows for 7% of the code to be obscured but dramatically reduces the complexity and size of your QR Code, having this option in a generator is great for tailoring your code for your particular usage.
A very good option with a lot of options for getting more technical.
You’ve probably all seen the bit.ly shortened links in Twitter and other sharing sites, and may even already have an account that you use to track your clickthroughs for your shortened links. But did you know bitly can also encode your links as QR Codes?
If you click through to your “Info Page+” for your shortened link you’ll see the correpsonding QR Code on the right hand-side, you can also just add .qrcode to the end of any bitly link to get to the QR Code.
Bitly is the only generator in the list so far that offers tracking, because the QR Code redirects through their standard shortened link system you have access to the same statistics that bitly users have come to expect.
Bitly does not at the moment allow any adjustments to the QR Code image e.g. size, format etc. But at the end of the day if you have the time to go around the houses, there is no reason why you can’t create your shortened link in bitly and plug it into one of the other free QR Code generators to get your desired output.
Great for statistics and account management, falls short on QR Code alterations.
There are far more than 3 options for free QR code generators, and if you have a favourite please feel free to post a link and a brief summary of its pros (or cons) in the comments below.
The 3 I have pointed out here do a very good job of demonstrating the different features you may be looking for in a QR Code generator.
The lack of a system that pulls together all of the features we think are essential for a professional QR Code campaign is what led us to develop QRpro.co.uk. QRpro offers a full analytics package for your QR Code campaigns, and the ability to change your QR code targets at any time even using random or scheduled targets. With a pay-per engagement model QRpro is a very cost-effective solution that is constantly receiving new features.