Let’s face it, having to use a utility outside of InDesign to produce QR codes was a hassle. Thankfully, Adobe InDesign CC provides the ability to generate and edit high-quality independent QR code graphics within the application.

The generated QR code item is a graphic object that behaves like native vector art in InDesign and can be pasted as a vector graphics object into a standard graphics editor tool such as Adobe Illustrator. QR code graphics can be scaled and filled with color, and effects, transparency, and printing attributes can be applied.

Screen shot 2013-05-29 at 10.18.12 AM
Create a QR Code
  1. Select Object>Generate QR Code.
  2. In the Content tab, select one of the following data types in the Type drop-down menu: Web HyperlinkPlain Text, Text MessageEmail, or Business Card.
  3. Based on the selected data type, one or more fields will be displayed; add the appropriate content.
  4. Click the Color tab to reveal the layout’s Swatches list.
  5. Select a color to apply to the generated code. By default, the generated QR code is black with a transparent background.
  6. Click OK when finished.
Screen shot 2013-05-29 at 10.21.13 AM
Place a QR Code

After a QR code is generated, it will be placed within the text automatically if there is an active insertion point. If that is not the case, the Place Gun will be filled, and the QR code can be placed in the following ways:

  • Clicking anywhere in the layout places the object at its original/default size, which is  30 x 30 cm.
  • Clicking into an existing frame places the code inside the frame at the default size.
  • Clicking and dragging creates a new frame with a fixed aspect ratio, and releasing the mouse places the code inside the frame.

Once it is placed inside a document, the QR code is treated as a traditional EPS object, except that a Tool Tip appears when your cursor hovers over the object, revealing the content details.

Edit a QR Code

After generating the QR code, InDesign CC also allows you to do the following:

  • Once the QR code has been placed in the layout, select it with the Selection tool and either right-click (CTL-click) and select Edit QR Code, or select Object>Edit QR Code. The QR Code dialog box will open, allowing for the content and color information to be edited.
  • To modify the QR code’s frame attributes, simply select the frame using the Selection tool and change the fill and stroke atrributes (line color, style, and thickness) using the standard controls.
  • Transform the QR code by selecting it with the Selection tool, selecting Object>Transform, and choosing the desired transformation command.

Being able to generate QR codes from within InDesign—what a great time-saver!


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Posted by: Monica Murphy

Monica Murphy has worked in the publishing industry for over 30 years supporting publishing operations of various sizes. In her role as Technical Product Manager for Technology for Publishing, she shares her publishing application expertise supporting a broad range of publishing clients in InDesign best practices, cross-platform content workflows, and InDesign Template strategies. Her weekly tip and blog posts have a committed following in the InDesign community, and as a long-time participant in the InDesign pre-release community, she regularly analyzes and provides feedback for upcoming features. Monica manages the authoring and publication of Technology for Publishing’s handbooks on InDesign, InCopy, and other associated titles.