How to Create a QR Code for a Document – A Step-By-Step Guide

how to create a qr code for a document

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Creating a QR code for a document is a straightforward process that offers a seamless way to share information in today’s digital age. This data encoding method allows quick access to documents through a simple scan using a smartphone or a QR code reader. Whether it’s for business presentations, educational materials, event handouts, or personal use, QR codes can efficiently bridge the gap between physical and digital media. 

This article will guide you through the steps to generate a custom QR code specifically for documents, discussing the tools and techniques needed to embed your document into a QR code effectively. We will also explore best practices to ensure your document QR code is easily accessible and provides a smooth user experience.

To learn the ins and outs of QR code technology, please see our article on what is a QR code.

What is a Document QR code?

A document QR code is a two-dimensional matrix barcode that encodes a link to a document. When scanned using a smartphone or a QR code scanner, it provides direct access to the embedded document, be it a PDF, Word file, spreadsheet, or even multimedia presentation. 

As digital transformation accelerates, the adoption of document QR codes has seen a significant uptick, especially in the education, finance, and marketing sectors. This technology facilitates swift document sharing and retrieval and offers a sustainable alternative to paper-based methods, thereby streamlining information dissemination in diverse professional arenas. 

Here are some articles that will help you generate QR codes for other utilities. 

Types of Documents Suitable for QR Code Generation

Document QR codes offer a versatile solution for digitising various content types. 

Primarily, they are apt for encoding standard office files such as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations. Moreover, they can seamlessly link to PDFs, often used for reports, whitepapers, and research publications. 

Beyond traditional formats, QR codes can also embed links to cloud-based documents like Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides, ensuring real-time updates are accessible to the scanner. 

Multimedia files, including audio recordings, video clips, or interactive web pages, can also be integrated, enhancing the richness of the content shared.

Types of Document QR Codes

There are two types of QR codes – Static QR Codes and Dynamic QR Codes. 

Static document QR codes are fixed and unchangeable once generated. They link directly to a specific document or URL, making them ideal for content that doesn’t require updates, such as permanent informational resources or historical documents. Their simplicity in creation and ease of use make them reliable for straightforward document sharing.

On the other hand, dynamic document QR codes offer enhanced flexibility and functionality. They allow for the linked content to be updated without changing the QR code itself, which is particularly useful for materials that need regular updates, like menus or event schedules. 

Dynamic QR codes also enable the tracking of scan data, providing valuable insights into user engagement. Additionally, they often come with options for customisation and branding, making them a versatile tool for businesses and interactive campaigns.

For an in-depth exploration and analysis of Static QR codes and Dynamic QR codes, including a thorough examination of their respective benefits, drawbacks, and ideal applications, we invite you to read our extensive article on the topic, “Dynamic vs Static QR Code.” This article offers a nuanced comparison to help you understand each type’s intricacies and determine the best choice for your needs.

Which QR Code Type is Best for Embedding Documents and Why?

When embedding documents, dynamic QR codes are often the superior choice. Unlike static QR codes, which permanently encode a specific URL, dynamic codes can be updated to link to new or revised documents without changing the original QR code. However, both static and dynamic QR codes have their advantages and are suited for different use cases.

Static document QR codes are particularly useful in contexts where the content remains unchanged. 

For instance, they are ideal for embedding in educational resources like textbooks, where they can link to supplementary study materials or reference documents that do not require frequent updates. In legal settings, static QR codes can be used in contracts or legal documents to quickly access relevant statutes or legal references. Additionally, they are valuable in historical archives or museums, linking visitors to detailed information about exhibits or artefacts, where the content is consistent and unchanging.

On the other hand, dynamic document QR codes are best suited for environments where content needs regular updates or user interaction is desired. 

They are perfect for linking to frequently updated reports or performance metrics in the business world. Dynamic QR codes can keep attendees informed of the latest schedules or program changes for events and conferences. In marketing, they offer the flexibility to update promotional materials, such as brochures or flyers, with the most current offers, product information, or interactive content, enhancing engagement and providing up-to-date information.

Why Should You Create a Document QR Code?

Nine reasons why you should create a document QR code

Before knowing how you can create a QR code for your document, it is important to touch upon why you should use a QR code for documents. Let’s see how it is useful.

Instant Access and Convenience

Document QR codes revolutionise the way we access information. With a simple scan using a smartphone or QR reader, users can instantly retrieve the embedded document, bypassing the need to manually search for files or access specific websites. Naturally, it saves the users a lot of their precious time.

Space and Cost Efficiency

Document QR codes offer a compact and economical solution for information dissemination. Instead of printing lengthy documents, brochures, or manuals, a small QR code can be incorporated into business cards, posters, or product packaging. This saves physical space and significantly reduces printing and distribution costs. 

Furthermore, with the ability to link to extensive digital content, QR codes provide a cost-effective method to share large volumes of information without the constraints and expenses of traditional print media.

Enhanced User Engagement

QR codes inherently encourage interaction. By prompting users to scan and explore, they foster a proactive engagement, often leading to higher retention and interest. For instance, a product packaging with a QR code can offer in-depth tutorials, testimonials, or user guides, enriching the user’s experience beyond what’s physically presented.

This interactive element, combined with the ease of access, ensures that document QR codes serve as a bridge between the physical and digital realms, amplifying user engagement and immersion.

Dynamic Content Updates (Only for Dynamic QR Codes)

One of the standout features of dynamic document QR codes is the ability to update the linked content without altering the original QR code. This means that if a document requires revisions or updates, there’s no need to reprint or redistribute new QR codes. 

Users scanning the same QR code will automatically access the updated document. This flexibility ensures that the audience receives the most current information, making QR codes valuable for evolving content and real-time updates. 

However, this content update feature won’t be available if you use a static QR code.

Analytics and Tracking Capabilities (Only for Dynamic QR Codes)

Another feature of dynamic document QR codes is the analytics and tracking facility. Dynamic document QR codes provide invaluable insights into user behaviour. When scanned, they can capture data such as the number of scans, location, time, and device type. 

This information is crucial for businesses and marketers to gauge the effectiveness of their content, understand audience preferences, and refine their strategies. Unlike traditional document-sharing methods, QR codes offer this added analytics layer, enabling a more informed and data-driven approach to content distribution and audience engagement.

Security and Restricted Access

Document QR codes can be equipped with enhanced security features. Users can set up password protection or time-bound access, ensuring only authorised individuals can view the content. 

Some QR code generators allow for geofencing, where the document can only be accessed from specific locations. This level of control is especially beneficial for confidential or sensitive documents, granting creators the peace of mind that their content remains secure and is accessed only by the intended audience.

Global Reach and Accessibility

Document QR codes transcend geographical and linguistic barriers. By embedding multilingual documents or redirecting users to language-specific versions, QR codes cater to a global audience. 

Whether used in international conferences, products sold worldwide, or digital campaigns targeting diverse demographics, document QR codes ensure that content is universally accessible. 

Modern Brand Image Enhancement

Incorporating document QR codes signals a brand’s commitment to innovation and modernity. As consumers increasingly value tech-savviness and digital integration, QR codes can position a brand as forward-thinking and responsive to contemporary trends. 

This enhances the brand’s image and resonates with a tech-aware audience, fostering trust and credibility. In a competitive market landscape, the strategic use of QR codes can serve as a differentiator, showcasing a brand’s dedication to providing streamlined and cutting-edge solutions to its audience.

Versatility Across Platforms and Devices

Document QR codes boast unparalleled versatility in terms of compatibility. They can be scanned using a wide range of devices, from smartphones to tablets and dedicated barcode scanners, ensuring accessibility for all users. QR codes maintain their functionality, whether displayed on digital platforms like websites and emails or integrated into offline mediums such as posters, banners, and product labels. 

This cross-platform adaptability ensures that no matter where the QR code is placed or which device is used, the linked document remains consistently accessible, amplifying the document’s reach and impact. 

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We understand the diverse needs of our customers, and our inventory reflects this with a broad spectrum of barcode scanner models. You’ll find everything from versatile mobile terminals and general-purpose scanners to durable rugged scanners, efficient fixed scanners & sensors, convenient USB scanners and wireless scanner options, advanced 2D scanners, and innovative Bluetooth-enabled scanner devices.

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Choosing Triton means opting for unmatched quality and support. Our team of experts is always ready to provide personalised assistance through our live chat feature. Explore our product range and connect with us today.

How to Make a QR Code for a Document?

Six steps to make a QR code for a document

We’ll now look at the steps we need to follow to create QR codes for a document. 

Selecting the Document for QR Code Embedding

The first step in generating a QR code for a document is selecting the appropriate file. It’s crucial to use the final version of the document, properly formatted and hosted on a dependable platform, especially if online access is needed. 

For example, with a Google Doc, ensure the sharing settings are adjusted to allow anyone with the link to view it. This step is key to ensuring that when the QR code is scanned, it leads the user to the intended document, which is correct and accessible.

Choosing a QR Code Generator for Documents

When creating a QR code for a document, it’s vital to consider both static and dynamic QR code options, choosing a generator specialising in document embedding. Static QR codes are ideal for content that doesn’t change, like permanent information or documents. 

However, for materials that may need updates after distribution, opting for a platform that provides dynamic QR codes is crucial, as these allow for content updates without changing the QR code itself. 

Evaluate the generator’s user-friendliness, ability to track scans (a key feature of dynamic codes), and flexibility to create static and dynamic codes as needed. 

Also, assess the extent of customisation options available, including the ability to align the QR code’s design with your brand’s visual identity, ensuring a consistent and professional appearance across all materials.

While free QR code generators might seem appealing, they often fall short in terms of security, functionality, and professional integrity. Relying on such unpredictable options can be risky. It’s wiser to choose a trusted solution that guarantees both efficiency and safety.

This is where BarTender Software by Seagull Scientific shines as a dependable choice in the QR code arena. 

Not just a leader in label design and printing, BarTender offers a versatile range of QR code types, including GS1 QR codes, iQR codes, Micro QR codes, and the cutting-edge GS1 Digital Link QR codes. Opting for BarTender means you’re not just selecting a QR code generator but embracing a comprehensive label design and printing solution.

Triton is a proud distributor of Seagull Scientific’s BarTender Software, a testament to our commitment to quality and excellence. Our portfolio includes the full range of BarTender editions: Starter Edition, Professional Edition, Automation Edition, Enterprise Edition, and the pioneering BarTender Cloud

For a deeper insight into the myriad features and benefits of this leading label printing and design software, we invite you to explore our detailed BarTender software guide. For personalised assistance, feel free to engage with our experts through the live chat feature on our website.

Uploading the Document to the Generator

Once you’ve chosen a QR code generator, the next step is to upload your document. If your document is hosted online, such as on a cloud service, copy the link accurately to prevent any mistakes. 

For documents not hosted online, many platforms allow direct file uploads. This means you can upload the document file itself if it’s stored on your device or local network. Whether using a direct link or uploading a file, ensure the document is accessible and properly formatted to guarantee a seamless experience when the QR code is scanned.

Customising the QR Code

Customise the QR code to reflect your brand, including adding a logo, changing colours, etc. Customisation can be crucial for brand recognition and can be done easily with generators available online, which offer a suite of design options.

For a deeper understanding of creating and designing compelling QR codes and ensuring their optimal performance, consider exploring our detailed guides on QR Code Best Practices and QR Code Size.

Testing the Document QR Code

Before deploying the QR code, test it with various devices and QR code readers to ensure it directs to the document correctly. This step is critical to confirm that the document is accessible and the QR code functions as intended, providing a smooth user experience. 

Our QR Code Test guide will provide the knowledge you need to conduct detailed and effective QR code testing.

Downloading and Implementing the Document QR Code

Once tested, download the QR code in a high-resolution format suitable for your intended use, such as print or digital display. Implement the QR code on your materials, ensuring it’s clearly visible and scannable. 

How Does a Document QR Code Work?

A document QR Code is a digital gateway to access a specific document. It works by encoding the URL where the document is hosted into a square-shaped, black-and-white pattern. When this QR code is scanned using a smartphone or a dedicated QR code reader, the device reads the pattern and translates it into a web link.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the process:

  1. Encoding: First, the document’s URL (which can be hosted on a cloud server, a website, or a document-sharing platform) is encoded into the QR code. This process involves converting the URL into a series of black squares and dots arranged in a unique pattern.
  2. Scanning: When a user scans the QR code with a smartphone camera or a QR scanner, the device’s software deciphers the pattern. Modern smartphones typically have built-in QR scanning capabilities in their camera apps.
  3. Redirecting: After scanning, the QR code directs the user’s device to the web link embedded within it. This action typically happens almost instantaneously.
  4. Accessing the Document: The final step is opening the document in the user’s web browser or a relevant app. This allows for immediate viewing, downloading, or interaction with the document.


Document QR codes are particularly useful for sharing documents without needing physical copies or lengthy URLs. They provide quick access, save space on printed material, and can be easily integrated into various media such as business cards, flyers, or posters.

Curious about how QR codes work? No worries! Check out our guide on how do QR codes work to learn the science behind this QR technology.

How to Generate a QR Code for a Word Document?

Nine steps to generate a QR code for a word document

To create a QR code for a Word document, you just need to follow these simple steps:

  1. Open Your Word Document: Ensure your Word files are finalised and saved on your computer or cloud storage.
  2. Choose a QR Code Generator: Select a reliable QR code generator that supports Word document embedding.
  3. Upload or Link Your Document: If your document is online, copy its link; if offline, upload it directly to the generator if the option is available.
  4. Select QR Code Type: Choose between a static or dynamic QR code based on whether your Word document will need updates.
  5. Customise Your QR Code (Optional): Adjust the design of the QR code to match your branding, adding colours or a logo if desired.
  6. Generate the QR Code: Click the generate button to create your QR code.
  7. Test the QR Code: Scan the QR code with a smartphone to ensure it directs correctly to your Word document.
  8. Download the QR Code: Save the QR code in a high-resolution format suitable for your intended use.
  9. Distribute Your QR Code: Place the QR code on your marketing materials, business cards, or online platforms where it can be easily scanned.

How to Generate a QR Code for a Google Doc?

Eight steps for generating a QR code for a google document

Generating a QR code for a Google Doc involves a slightly different process than for a Word document, primarily due to Google Docs being hosted online. Here’s a concise guide to help you create a QR code for your Google Doc:

  1. Open Your Google Doc: Firstly, access the Google Doc you want to link to. Make sure the document is ready for sharing.
  2. Adjust Sharing Settings: Click on the ‘Share’ button in the upper right corner of the Google Docs interface. Set the document to ‘Anyone with the link can view’ to ensure accessibility for those who scan QR codes. If necessary, adjust the permissions to ‘Editor’ or ‘Commenter’ based on your requirements.
  3. Copy the Document Link: After setting the appropriate sharing permissions, copy the link provided by Google Docs.
  4. Use a QR Code Generator: Visit a reliable QR code generator website. 
  5. Paste the Link: In the QR code generator, paste the copied Google Doc link into the designated field, usually marked as ‘URL’.
  6. Customise and Generate: Customise your QR code if desired, then click on the ‘Generate’ button. The generator will create a QR code that links directly to your Google Doc.
  7. Download and Test: Download the generated QR code in the desired format (e.g., PNG, JPEG). Before using it, test the QR code with a smartphone or QR scanner to ensure it directs correctly to your Google Doc.
  8. Distribute or Display the QR Code: Finally, incorporate the QR code into your materials as needed. This can be on printed documents, digital platforms, presentations, or any other medium where you wish to provide easy access to your Google Doc.


This process provides a seamless way to share Google Docs with a wide audience quickly and efficiently, eliminating the need for long URLs or cumbersome email attachments.

How to Generate Bulk URL QR Codes for Word Documents?

Generating bulk URL QR codes for Word documents is a process that allows you to create multiple QR codes at once, each linking to different Word documents. This is particularly useful for businesses or events where a variety of documents need to be made accessible with ease. 

Here’s how to make bulk URL QR codes for documents:

  1. Prepare Your Word Documents: Ensure all Word documents you want to link are finalised and stored in a single accessible online folder, such as Google Drive or OneDrive, with sharing settings adjusted for public access.
  2. Create a URL List: Compile a list of all the URLs where your Word documents are hosted. This list is usually prepared in a CSV or Excel file for bulk processing.
  3. Select a Bulk QR Code Generator: Choose a QR code generator that offers bulk creation features. 
  4. Upload Your URL List: On the bulk QR code generator platform, upload your list of URLs. The platform will typically have an option to import your CSV or Excel file.
  5. Configure Bulk Settings: Set the parameters for your bulk QR code creation. This may include selecting static or dynamic QR codes and, if available, setting custom designs for the QR codes.
  6. Generate Bulk QR Codes: Initiate the bulk generation process. The system will create a QR code for each URL in your list.
  7. Review and Edit: Review the generated QR codes if the platform allows. Some platforms may allow you to edit individual QR codes if needed.
  8. Download the QR Codes: Once generated, download the QR codes. They may be provided in a zip file containing all the codes or in a single document with all codes listed.
  9. Test the QR Codes: Before printing or distributing, test a sample of the QR codes to ensure they correctly link to the respective Word documents.
  10. Distribute or Print: Use the QR codes as needed, whether printed on marketing materials, name badges, product packaging, or displayed online.


When generating bulk QR codes, it’s important to track which code corresponds to which document. Labelling or organising the QR codes in the download phase can help with this. 

Bulk generation of QR codes is a time-efficient way to connect users to multiple documents with a simple scan. It’s a method that can enhance the user experience by providing quick access to various resources, making it an ideal solution for conferences, workshops, or product documentation. With the right preparation and a suitable QR code generator, the process can be straightforward and effective, offering a modern approach to document accessibility.

Effective Ways to Use Document QR Codes

Four effective ways to use document QR codes

Apart from looking at the technical aspects of Document QR codes, it is also important to know how to use them effectively. Here is a list of scenarios where a document QR code can be used.    

Sharing Class Notes or Assignments in Educational Settings

Document QR codes revolutionise the sharing of learning materials in academia. Students can instantly access class notes and assignments online by scanning a QR code. 

This method supports a cost-effective environment and ensures that educational resources are accessible anytime and anywhere, catering to the needs of diverse learning styles and schedules.

Distributing Company Reports or Presentations at Conferences

QR codes streamline the dissemination of corporate information at professional gatherings. Embedding a QR code in conference materials lets attendees download company reports and presentations directly to their devices. 

This eco-friendly approach saves paper and allows interactive content, such as live data feeds or supplementary multimedia, to be included in corporate documentation.

Providing Product Information or User Manuals

QR codes on product packaging offer a direct link to detailed information and digital user manuals. Customers can effortlessly scan the code and view extensive product specifications, setup instructions, or troubleshooting guides online.

This enriches the customer experience and reduces the need for printed materials, aligning with eco-conscious business practices.

Enhancing Resumes With QR Codes Linking to Portfolios

Professionals can integrate QR codes into their resumes to provide potential employers immediate access to online portfolios. This innovative approach showcases their work dynamically and demonstrates proficiency in leveraging digital tools, setting them apart in the competitive job market.

Best Practices for Creating QR Codes for Document

List of six best practices for creating QR codes for document

While discussing the document QR codes, it becomes essential to touch upon some of the best practices pertaining to document QR codes. 

Prioritise Mobile Optimisation

When linking a document via a QR code, it’s crucial to ensure that the document is mobile-friendly. A significant majority of QR code scans are performed on mobile devices, so the document should be optimised for easy reading and navigation on smaller screens. 

This means avoiding large files that are slow to load, using mobile-responsive design, and considering the format of the document itself—PDFs, for instance, should be formatted to reflow text on different screen sizes.

Mobile optimisation guarantees a seamless user experience, which is key to maintaining engagement and ensuring the effectiveness of your QR code strategy.

Implement Robust Security Measures

For documents containing sensitive information, implementing strong security measures is paramount. Use dynamic QR codes with encrypted URLs and consider password protection or user authentication to control access. 

It’s also advisable to use secure HTTPS links to ensure that the data transmitted is encrypted. For added security, some QR code generators can set expiration dates or scan limits. These practices protect the document’s confidentiality and build trust with your audience by demonstrating a commitment to safeguarding their data.

Keep the Design Simple and Scannable

A QR code must be easily scannable; users should be able to access your document with a quick camera scan. To achieve this, maintain a high contrast between the code and its background, typically black on white. 

Avoid cluttering the QR code with excessive design elements that could interfere with scan-ability. The code should also include a quiet zone, which is a clear margin around it, to prevent scanning errors. 

A simple, clean design ensures quick and reliable access to your documents, enhancing the user experience.

Customise With Branding Elements

Incorporating branding elements into your QR code design can enhance brand recognition and make your code stand out. Use your brand’s colour scheme, and consider embedding a logo within the QR code, ensuring it doesn’t compromise the code’s readability. 

Customisation should be balanced with functionality; the QR code must remain easily scannable. A well-branded QR code captures attention and reassures users of its authenticity, which is particularly important in professional and public-facing documents.

Test Across Different Devices and Scanners

Before deploying your QR code, conduct thorough testing across various devices and QR scanner apps to ensure compatibility and functionality. Scans should be quick and error-free regardless of the smartphone, tablet, or dedicated QR scanner used.

You can test your QR code by scanning it through various devices, in various lighting conditions, and by scanning the code from various distances.

This step is crucial as it helps identify and rectify potential issues hindering the user experience. Consistent performance across different platforms reassures users that they can easily access your documents, regardless of their preferred technology.

Monitor and Update Content Regularly

For dynamic QR codes, it’s important to regularly check and update the linked content to ensure it remains relevant and accurate. This could involve refreshing the document with the latest information or ensuring that any linked websites remain active and secure. 

Regular monitoring and updating help maintain the integrity of the content and the value it offers to the user. It also prevents the frustration that comes from scanning a QR code to find outdated or irrelevant information, thereby preserving your brand’s reputation for reliability and attentiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Create a QR Code for a Document for Free?

You can create a QR code for a document at no cost using free online QR code generators. These platforms typically offer free versions that allow for basic QR code creation. Simply upload your document if the service allows, or provide the URL link to your document, customise as needed, and download the generated QR code.

Remember, a free QR code generator does not provide the same level of features compared to a paid QR code generator like BarTender Software

Are Document QR Codes Safe to Use?

Document QR codes are generally safe when generated from reputable sources. To ensure security, use HTTPS protocols for the document URLs, which encrypt the data transferred between the user and the document. 

For sensitive information, consider QR codes that support encrypted links or require user authentication for an additional layer of security. Always test QR codes for functionality and security before widespread distribution to prevent data breaches and maintain user trust.

Can QR Codes for Documents be Tracked?

Dynamic QR codes offer the capability to track scans, providing insights into how many times, when, and where the QR code was scanned. This data is invaluable for businesses and educators to understand engagement levels and the effectiveness of their distribution strategy. 

Tracking can help refine marketing campaigns, manage document updates, and understand user behaviour. However, using a QR code generator that offers robust analytics features is important to take full advantage of tracking capabilities.

How Long Do Document QR Codes Last?

The lifespan of a document QR code depends on the type. Static QR codes, which lead to an unchangeable URL, will work as long as the URL remains valid. Dynamic QR codes, however, often depend on the service provider’s policies and may require an active subscription to function. 

Check out our article on Do QR Codes Expire for more information. 


In conclusion, document QR codes are a powerful tool for bridging the gap between physical and digital information dissemination. By adhering to best practices such as opting for dynamic QR codes, ensuring mobile optimisation, and implementing robust security measures, businesses can leverage QR codes to enhance accessibility and engagement. Customisation with branding elements, strategic placement, and clear scanning instructions further optimise the user experience.

As we continue to innovate, the potential applications for custom QR codes will expand, paving the way for even more creative and efficient methods of information exchange.

QR codes are a flexible and popular solution, yet certain scenarios may call for alternative technologies that better align with specific needs. To gain a comprehensive understanding of these options and to determine the most suitable choice for your distinct requirements, we encourage you to delve into our thorough guide titled ‘Alternatives to QR Codes‘. This resource provides an extensive overview of various technologies, helping you make an informed decision tailored to your unique situation.

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