How to create your own QR Codes in Ubuntu

By Joey Sneddon @

QR Codes are nifty time-saving shortcuts: sort of hyperlinks that can be put in the real world for anyone to follow.

Qrencode is a small command-line utitlity that allows you to create your own QR codes (saved as .png image file) for whatever you like – a blog, a secret message – whatever!

What is a QR code?

A ‘QR’ (short for Quick Response) code is a so-called ‘two-dimensional barcode’ made up of black squares on a white background. Information encoded in QR Codes typically contains URLs or text and are in wide use thanks to Android and Blackberry mobile phones making use of the technology.

How can I create a QR code in Linux?

The creation of QR codes in Ubuntu is simple, albeit command-line based. You will need to install ‘qrencode‘ from the Ubuntu Software Center – you can click here to install it or search for ‘qrencode’ manually.

Once Qrencode has been successfully installed you can create QR codes using the Terminal and the following command structure: –

  • qrencode -o [filename.png] ‘[text/url/information to encode]‘

To create a link to the Google homepage with the output file called ‘google.png’ and made in your homefolder  you would run: –

  • qrencode -o google.png ''

This outputs the following: –

Creating QR codes on linux: 3x3

Too small? You can make the ‘pixels’ used in the code bigger by using the ‘-s‘ argument. Let’s make the same QR code but with the square pixels increased to 6×6 and have the .png saved to our desktop-

  • qrencode -o ~/Desktop/google.png -s 6 ''

This gives us: –
Larger QR code


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