Make Sure Your QR Code Works: A Detailed QR Code Test Guide

11 Jul 2024

If you want to have a QR code campaign, the last thing you want to happen is the code doesn't work. Imagine printing the code on packaging or fliers; people scan the QR code, and then it takes them to a dead link. That's why, before you unleash your campaign, testing QR codes is required. This post will tell you how to generate a QR code for maximum effectiveness.

What Are QR Codes and How Do They Work?

A quick response code is a special type of two-dimensional barcode that was initially invented in 1994 for labeling auto parts. However, most people know of QR codes as something you scan with your phone or other device that has a special reader on it. When you use a QR code scanner app, you can then access the information the set of symbols has on it. Usually, this information will be a URL of some kind, saving you the hassle of having to type it in.\So, how do QR codes work? To most people, a QR code structure is a mishmash of black pixels and shapes against a white background. But those black pixels are in such an order where they contain data. When you scan QR codes with a proper reader, it can decode that data and tell you what's contained inside.

Why are QR Codes Important? Why is it Bad if A QR Code is Non-Functioning?

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To understand why a QR code image functioning properly is important, let's look at some situations where someone would use one.

Digital Menus

Some restaurants offer QR code menus, where a person can view what's available (or even order) via their phone. Some restaurants may have a combination of digital menus and physical menus, but others are going exclusively for quick response. A restaurant may have a rotating menu where updating physical menus can be exhausting, or it may be trying to save resources.

Now, imagine if the QR code menu didn't work. How are customers going to order their food? In some cases, a person can visit the restaurant's website and find the menu, but not always.


Some products will have instructions through a QR code on the packaging, leading customers to a PDF. Not including a printed menu can save money and resources and allow companies to make any updates. But what if the 2D barcode doesn't work? Someone may be left without knowing how to put their product together!


Many businesses will put polls and surveys via Google Forms, letting customers vote in a poll or fill out their experiences, then offer a link to the survey via a QR code. Surveys can help a business improve by letting customers offer suggestions or voice what they want to see next. But if people can't access the survey, the business can't improve.

How to Create a QR Code

The best way to make a QR code that a mobile device can scan is to go to a website that lets you make them. We have an entire article about the best QR code generator if you are interested.

Once you find the QR code generator of your choice, you may be able to choose between a static or dynamic QR code. A static code cannot be altered or has tracking. Meanwhile, a dynamic QR code has a URL you can edit, keeps track of information such as locations and scan time, and tends to have more customization options.

Best Practices in QR Code Creation

When you create a QR code, you want to make the QR code scanning process simple for your customers. You also want to make the code readable across any mobile device. Test the QR code on a phone to make sure it scans properly with mobile devices. Here are some tips.

Proper Contrast and Size

Be sure that there is enough contrast between the code and the foreground/background of your packaging. The code should always have black pixels with white behind it.

QR code size should also be big enough so that a device that can read matrix barcodes can scan it. On the other hand, a device may have difficulties with matrix barcode scanning if it's too big and can't fit in the camera. There are several rules of thumb to achieve easy scanning across various devices and different distances. The QR code minimum size should be adhered to at least 76 x 76 pixels or 2 x 2 cm to maintain scanning efficiency across various devices. If a person is going to scan your code at a close distance, the code should be about 1 inch. Further distances may require 2 inches.

Avoid Overly Complex Designs

Sites that let you create a QR code image usually give you ways to customize it, from adding a border to your logo. These customizations allow your code to stand out among the crowd. However, it would be best if you did not go too complex. Otherwise, your phone may not be able to scan it. Different devices are used to test the QR code image for reliability in scanning.

Well-Optimized Landing Page

This is the page where the QR code will take a user. Since the landing page is reached through a mobile device, where an internet connection can be spotty, it should be designed to load fast and be in a mobile-friendly format. Perform a QR code test scan to confirm the code directs users to the correct URL.


Finally, you want to ensure the code is in a noticeable spot, especially with product packaging. You may give a call-to-action near the code, telling people to scan the QR code. If it's on a flyer, you may want to put it in an area that your target audience frequents. Run a QR code sample test to evaluate how well it works under different lighting conditions.

How to Test QR Codes - Initial Testing

Once your 2D barcode is ready, you should test it before printing. So, how do you go about a QR code test? Here are some ways how to test a QR code effectively.

Camera App

The most straightforward sample QR code test tool is a mobile device's camera app. Most modern camera apps will recognize matrix barcodes and then show a link. If you have an older phone, you may not be able to use this form of QR code testing. You can look up sample QR codes as well to ensure that your phone can scan any 2D barcode, not just your own. Some websites will give you sample QR codes to scan. However, you can go to Google Images to find more samples.

Scan QR Code Reader Apps

If your camera app isn't designed to read these codes, you may want to download a QR code scanner app. These apps are easy to find, with them available on iPhone and Android. Choose one that has good reviews. Then, scan the sample QR code.

Testing QR Code Online - Advanced Testing Techniques

If you're still unsure if your QR code works, one way to test it is to use software that has camera image injection. Camera image injection emulates a phone's camera, letting you see what's on the matrix barcode through your PC. Thus, you can test a QR code on a computer. Camera image injection can also emulate multiple devices, allowing you to ensure your matrix barcode works across the board.

Also, some internet generators will implement error correction, which you should ensure is turned on. If the 2D barcode has damage to it, error correction can increase the chances of it working.

Test QR Code Online - Compatibility Testing

Prepare a QR code to scan tests to check the compatibility with different devices. You scanned your 2D barcode with your phone and noticed it worked. You're done. Not quite. You should also scan it on a tablet or smartwatch and use different brands. This way, you know your QR matrix is working fine.

You may have friends or family with different tech, so you may seek their help. However, you can also surf the internet and find applications to test QR code compatibility. Once again, camera image injection can emulate different devices.

Also, scan with older devices, too. You don't need to go all the way back to the iPhone 1, but you should probably scan with different devices within the past five years.

Common Problems That Can Occur

After the QR code test, you should also be mindful of some problems that may occur even if the QR code test was successful.

Too Blurry/Small

Ensure the QR code test image is clear and high-resolution for accurate scanning. If your QR image file is small, avoid blowing it up to be blurry. A device might not be able to scan it. On the other hand, you may need to increase its resolution.

Too Large

If the QR matrix cannot fit within the device's camera, this is also an issue. Conduct a QR code scan test to ensure the code is easily scannable from various distances.

Backgrounds and Squares Don't Contrast

Be sure the matrix barcode has contrasting backgrounds and squares. Otherwise, scanning it may be difficult.


Some sites let you add elements to your matrix barcode, and that's fine. But add too many, and scanning may be difficult.

How to Fix Common QR Code Problems

It's possible the code can lead to a broken, expired, or private link. Test the link on your own, and change it if needed. Dynamic codes allow you to change the link.

Change the Resolution

Changing the resolution to be bigger or smaller, depending on the size, may be the ideal solution.

White Backgrounds Are Important

Be sure the black pixels contrast with the white behind them. If you placed some black pixels on a window, you may need to place a piece of paper on the other side!

Clean Your Camera Lens

Sometimes, the camera lens may be a little dirty. Wipe it down.

Tools and Resources to Test QR Codes

Do you have a 2D barcode that needs testing? Here are some websites that can help you:

  • Qreader | Online QR Code Reader
  • Free Online QR Code Scanner & Reader (

These websites should help you scan your 2D barcode and provide more information about it. Before you deploy your QR label, always ensure it scans correctly. Use a QR code example test to verify if your scanning app reads various formats.

Did You Test the QR Code Online, and Did It Work? Here Are Best Practices for Placing QR Codes

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Put it Where Your Audience Can See It

Your code should be in a visible place with good lighting. If it's in the corner somewhere, your audience may not be able to find it, leading to issues.

Avoid Any Background Besides White

Some businesses thought they were being creative by putting the black pixels on a window. However, all this does is make a code that's too difficult to scan.

Use Dynamic Codes

Dynamic QR codes can tell you where it was scanned, where, and at what time. You can use this information to figure out where to place your symbol frame next time.

Conclusion - Test QR Code Online with Ease

Quick response codes are important to manually test before you put them on your packaging or flyer. If the code isn't accessed correctly, then you'll have to scramble to reprint everything. To save you some hassle, test the code beforehand. We hope this article was helpful to you.


What size should my QR code be for optimal scanning?

The size depends on how your audience is going to scan it. For example, is it on a package or a billboard? Ideally, the code should be 1 inch for short scans and 2 inches for further scans.

My QR code is pixelated/blurry; What should I do?

You may need to reduce the size of your code or increase the resolution. Another solution is to save your code as a PNG or SVG rather than a JPG.

How can I customize my QR code without affecting its functionality?

QR code generator websites let you customize while still keeping your code functional. Ideally, you won't want to add anything to the code yourself and ensure that the code has contrasting colors.