How to Run a Proper QR Code Test, Easily and Effectively

How to Run a Proper QR Code Test, Easily and Effectively

If you think testing a QR code is an off-the-cuff matter, think again. A QR code test requires checking some pretty critical elements to make it functional. This is how it should be done.

You have created your QR code for personal use or for business purposes, and you feel you are ready to go. But have you wondered whether all the effort you put into designing your code has paid off?

Your prospects might not be able to scan the code with their mobile device because it is too small. Or you have created a business card QR code to use for networking, and your potential business contact cannot save your personal details.

Testing your QR codes matters and can spare you a financial headache, so let’s look at the best practices when running a QR code test.

Table of Contents

QR codes are a type of two-dimensional code that contains data. When you have exported your code to either in PNG or SVG format, you must test it before use. It might sound obvious but people can rely too much on technology and forget the importance of testing.

Not testing your QR code could be costly. For instance, if you are running a marketing campaign and have printed an inoperative QR code on thousands of copies of a flyer, your money will have gone down the drain.

At a restaurant, using a QR code for a menu with the wrong size or contrast could make you lose dinners on the spot —it doesn’t matter if it’s static or dynamic QR codes.

So, scanning QR codes before using them is the best way to test them. But what is it that you test when you scan them?

Also see: What Is a QR Code and How You Can Create One

You must check several elements when scanning your new sample QR code for the first time. This is how you do a QR code test so you can go all through them in a breeze!

Woman doing a QR code test with a smartphone from a specific distance
Image Source:

To ensure the embedded data can be accessed in both static and dynamic QR codes, you must test the scannability at different distances. This is so because there is a strong correlation between size and how far the code can be scanned.

Following this reasoning, the smaller the QR code, the closest it should be scanned. So, if you are using a dynamic QR code in product packaging, the minimum size should be 2 x 2 cm —0.8 x 0.8 in.

The size-to-scanning distance ratio for a QR code with a smartphone camera is 10:1, and the image format of the QR code will also play an essential role in scannability at a distance.

The QR code PNG format is small and useful, and it is suitable for images with a transparent or semi-transparent background. The PNG format is the smallest compared, so stretching it beyond its limits could make it difficult to scan.

PNG QR codes are best used for the web so users can scan them online and for small prints: restaurant menus, book covers, or as a business card QR code.

The SVG format is bigger than PNG and it is perfect for bigger prints such as posters and billboards. To test this larger format, keep in mind the size-distance ratio so you have an accurate measure.

Scan QR vector created by freepik –

Light can extensively affect the scannability of QR codes. Scanning a code under poor lighting —either with a scanning app or a smartphone camera— could hamper the code’s ability to link to the embedded data.

The first thing you need to know before running a test is the time of day at which you want the code to be scanned –bearing in mind bright light.

For instance, if you want to display your code indoors under mild lighting —at a concert entrance or a theater— the contrast between the background and the foreground must be higher.

So, print a sample of your QR code and test it under different lighting conditions —including the ones in which you intend to use it— so you can adjust the contrast between the code’s main elements.

Woman doing a QR code test on a tablet
Holding tablet photo created by –

There are several QR code scanners available to access the information contained in a code —some of them are free on Apple’s App Store or Google Play Store. However, the operating systems of the different smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices can make the code operate differently.

So, scanning a code with a QR code scanner app on Android or iOS could be a different gig altogether. Some codes could only be picked up by one or the other if they are not designed and printed the right way.

Also, different browsers such as Google Chrome or Safari can also play a role in how quickly a scanning device can open the code —it is widely accepted that anything over 2 seconds means there is something wrong with the code.

So, if after testing the code with 5 different devices —smartphones, tablets, scanning apps, etc— your code does not work, it is time to go back to the generator to do some tweaking.

Also, to test QR code online, just scan the code from your laptop screen. The testing QR code online method will spare you the need to print it on paper and is more cost-effective.

No wifi vector created by storyset –

The internet connection where the QR code will be displayed is of the utmost importance, especially if it’s a URL QR code that connects to a page, a video, or more. Using a QR code of these characteristics where there is no internet will absolutely defeat the purpose.

So, make sure that, when using a dynamic code or a code that contains a link that requires an internet connection, users will have access granted.

A QR code containing the wrong information is certainly something you want to avoid. So don’t get caught up in the whirlwind of a campaign and marketing materials, and put the wrong information in your code! there is nothing a QR code reader can correct!

Graphic of how QR codes can be tested on several different devices
Qr scanner vector created by vectorjuice – allows you to customize your QR codes to fit your needs. You can change the foreground and background colors, the shape of the dots, and the marker color. Even add a frame with a call-to-action and a logo.

But as the saying goes, less is more. Too much customization can affect the code’s performance: little contrast between the colors and choosing a smaller dot pattern play a role. It could the code from a large distance.

While personalizing the code is an exciting and satisfying task, you must always focus on functionality.


Indeed it does. Too small a QR code and users will not be able to scan it. To determine the right size, you must identify the intended use and the approximate scanning distance and always keep the 10:1 ratio in mind.

To test your QR code, check for the following elements:

  • Distance and format
  • Lighting conditions
  • Scanning devices
  • Internet connection
  • The right QR code data

Testing, testing, testing. There is nothing more important when creating your QR code on a QR code generator. Now, you have greater knowledge as to how to do it properly and avoid costly headaches!

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Manage Your QR Code Campaigns lets you generate fully customized QR Codes, with color & shape, logo and keep track of how many people scan your QR Codes, from where and on what date.


Cristian Bustos

Cristian is Senior Content Manager for He is an experienced and versatile writer with a demonstrated history of working in journalism, public relations, and B2B marketing.