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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe InDesign

How to Add a QR Code to a Flyer

Read Time: 8 mins

In this QR code flyer tutorial, you'll learn how to generate a QR code in InDesign and how to add a QR code to a flyer to provide extra information within your design.

But, what exactly is a QR code, anyway? You’ve probably seen them on everything from flyers to billboards to restaurant menus these days. They’re the hieroglyphic-looking graphic made up of blocky shapes. Think of it like a shortcut that your mobile phone camera or QR reader will know how to decipher.

sample qr code in an indesign layoutsample qr code in an indesign layoutsample qr code in an indesign layout
You'll learn how to create a QR code flyer like this one. Scroll down to find more QR code flyer templates!

InDesign gives you a way to create them directly inside the program. It’s basically a piece of vector artwork—you can even paste the final product into Illustrator and pull it apart if you want.

Did you know you can also learn how to add a QR code to a flyer by watching a video tutorial? If you prefer videos over written tutorials, this new video from the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel is for you:

What You’ll Learn in This QR Code InDesign Tutorial

  • How to generate a QR code in InDesign 
  • How to get the QR onto your InDesign page
  • How to modify an existing QR code
  • How to check that the QR code is working correctly

1. How to Generate a QR Code in InDesign

Step 1

Creating a flyer with a QR code is really easy. I used this flyer template, but you can use any other that you like. First, you need to generate the QR code by choosing Object > Generate QR Code.

the Object menu with Generate QR Code selectedthe Object menu with Generate QR Code selectedthe Object menu with Generate QR Code selected

Step 2

The dialog box that opens has two tabs: Content and Color.

the Generate QR code dialog box with no information inputthe Generate QR code dialog box with no information inputthe Generate QR code dialog box with no information input

Step 3

The Content tab in the QR code InDesign option is where you set the information that will be contained in the finished code. In the Type pull-down menu, you can choose from Hyperlink, Plain Text, Text Message, Email, and Business Card, each with its own set of input fields.

the content tab of the Generate QR Code dialog box with email information enteredthe content tab of the Generate QR Code dialog box with email information enteredthe content tab of the Generate QR Code dialog box with email information entered

Step 4

The Color tab lets you choose a color from the existing swatches. This will be the initial color of the QR code—though you can later modify it. Click OK.

The Content tab of the Generate QR Code dialog box with color swatch selectedThe Content tab of the Generate QR Code dialog box with color swatch selectedThe Content tab of the Generate QR Code dialog box with color swatch selected

2. How to Add a QR Code to a Flyer

If you had a frame selected before generating the QR code, your newly created code will appear inside that frame. Otherwise, after clicking OK (Step 4 above), place the QR code using one of the following methods:

Method 1

Click on the page to place it at the default size.

the QR code read to click to place on pagethe QR code read to click to place on pagethe QR code read to click to place on page
The loaded place cursor, after setting options and clicking OK in the Generate QR code dialog box. Use one of the methods mentioned to finish placing.

Method 2

Click inside an empty frame to place the code inside that frame.

Method 3

Click and drag to visually set the frame and the code.

3. How to Modify a QR Code in InDesign

Once you've created your flyer with a QR code, you may find that you need to change it up a bit. Even though a QR code created in InDesign is handled a little differently than other graphics, it is still easy to modify. 

Step 1

Once the code is on the page, you can move it like you would any other InDesign object. Use the Selection tool to grab the frame and move it around the page. And, like any other graphic, you can use the Direction Selection tool to move the code around within its frame.

moving the image separately from the frame with the Direct Selection toolmoving the image separately from the frame with the Direct Selection toolmoving the image separately from the frame with the Direct Selection tool
Moving the image separately from the frame with the Direct Selection tool

Step 2

You can rescale the code graphic as needed. Remember to use Command/Control to size the frame and the graphic together and add Shift to constrain the proportions. It’s best to keep the graphic’s square shape to ensure devices will read the code properly.

Step 3

By default, the code will have a transparent background. You can change that by selecting the frame and selecting a fill and stroke color from the Swatches panel. If that panel is not already open, go to Window > Color > Swatches.

changing code's background with swatches panel open and QR code selectedchanging code's background with swatches panel open and QR code selectedchanging code's background with swatches panel open and QR code selected

Step 4

To change the QR code’s content­—including its color—you’ll need to open the Edit QR Code dialog box. To get there, select the code’s frame with the Selection tool, right-click or Control-click, and choose Edit QR Code from the contextual menu that pops up. You’ll see the same Content and Color tabs, and you can make any adjustments there.

a contextual menu on a QR code with Edit QR code selecteda contextual menu on a QR code with Edit QR code selecteda contextual menu on a QR code with Edit QR code selected

When adjusting colors, take into account the contrast and readability of the color choices for the code and the frame’s fill color. You’ll want to make sure the device will be able to read the QR code accurately.

4. How to Check If the QR Code Works Correctly

You’ll want to make sure that your finished QR code flyer is readable by devices and also that the information and functionality within it is correct. You can easily check the progress as you work, and definitely check before it goes to print or export.

Step 1

You can check the accuracy quickly with your phone’s camera. Most modern mobile phone cameras will recognize and process QR codes. Older phones may need an app specifically for reading the codes. Simply open your camera app and point it at the code.

person pointing a mobile phone camera at a QR code on a laptopperson pointing a mobile phone camera at a QR code on a laptopperson pointing a mobile phone camera at a QR code on a laptop

Step 2

Click the link or notification that pops up. Make sure it goes where you want or brings up the right information onscreen. For instance, if you had a URL, it will open the browser and head to that URL. A code with email will launch your email app with the information pre-filled.

onscreen QR code notification in mobile phone camera apponscreen QR code notification in mobile phone camera apponscreen QR code notification in mobile phone camera app

5 Top QR Code Flyer Templates From Envato Elements

Knowing how to generate a QR code in InDesign is always handy. After this QR code InDesign tutorial, you can make your own code. But if you don't have time to design a QR code flyer from scratch, you can save hours of work with a professionally designed template.

Next up, we'll share some top QR code flyer templates and QR code poster templates from Envato Elements that can help you in your next project.

1. Restaurant Menu With QR Code Layout (INDD)

Restaurant Menu with QR Code Layout (INDD)Restaurant Menu with QR Code Layout (INDD)Restaurant Menu with QR Code Layout (INDD)

If you need to renew a restaurant menu, you know a flyer with a QR code is a fantastic option. This QR code flyer template includes two designs on A5 pages. 

Your new menu can feature a QR code in the center of the page on one side, and on the other, you can include pictures and more details.

2. QR Code Flyer Templates (AI, PSD)

QR Code Flyer Templates (AI, PSD)QR Code Flyer Templates (AI, PSD)QR Code Flyer Templates (AI, PSD)

This QR code flyer template pack is a complete set with six different designs (5x7 inches). You can use them for restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, or any business or event. The QR code flyer templates are editable in Photoshop and Illustrator.

3. QR Code Online Menu Flyer Set (AI, PSD)

QR Code Online Menu Flyer Set (AI, PSD)QR Code Online Menu Flyer Set (AI, PSD)QR Code Online Menu Flyer Set (AI, PSD)

What if you want to create both a printed flyer and an online version, both with a QR code to take people to your site? You can do that easily with this well-structured template for either Photoshop or Illustrator.

4. Clean QR Code Flyer Template Set (AI, PSD)

Clean QR Code Flyer Template Set (AI, PSD)Clean QR Code Flyer Template Set (AI, PSD)Clean QR Code Flyer Template Set (AI, PSD)

This is another complete pack with six different options. Upgrade your business or project's stationery with these QR code flyer templates!

5. Event QR Code Poster Template (EPS, AI)

Event QR Code Poster Template (EPS, AI)Event QR Code Poster Template (EPS, AI)Event QR Code Poster Template (EPS, AI)

Organizing an event? Include a QR code on the design so everyone can scan the information. This QR code poster template comes in two sizes (A2 and A4) and five color variations.

Make a Cool QR Code Flyer Today

I hope you liked this easy QR code InDesign tutorial. They may look like something mysterious, but QR codes are simple to create and a quick way to transmit information without taking up much space in your design.

If you don’t want to start your next page layout from scratch, why not try a QR code poster template from Envato Elements? And you can expand your InDesign knowledge by following one of these other tutorials:

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