What Information Is inside a QR Code?
A QR code can be made up of a maximum of 177 rows and 177 columns, which makes for a possible 31,329 data modules. Most QR codes aren’t that big, though.
The size of a QR code corresponds to its version. The smallest a QR code can be is 21 rows by 21 columns, which is version 1. 25×25 is version 2, and on and on. The aforementioned largest QR code possible, 177×177, is version 40.
It’s also worth noting that QR code minimum size is usually based on scan distance and not data size.
Encoded in a QR code is one of four QR code error correction levels. The higher the correction level, the more damage a QR code can sustain while still being scannable. It’s like a stored backup of the QR code. The lower the correction level, the more space left for size and data.
QR codes can store up to 7,089 numeric characters or 2,953 alphanumeric characters. They can also store bytes and kanji, but those are less frequently used. These numbers assume the lowest error correction level.
In practice, this means QR code uses include anything that uses numbers, letters, punctuation, and symbols to communicate. Business cards, QR codes on tables in restaurants, authentication, checking into hotels, logging into websites, contactless payments, digital wine lists, QR code food uses, and more.
For context, the amount of characters a standard one-dimensional barcode can hold is around 20 to 100 characters. This ability of QR codes to store such a large amount of information—and provide it quickly—makes them much more useful tools than standard barcodes. In virtually every industry.
But the more characters you store in a QR code, the bigger, and more complicated the QR code has to be, right? Yes and no. That’s the difference between static QR codes and dynamic QR codes.