Posted on 5 Comments

QR (Quick Response) codes for OCAD

Organised Grime QR code

Why a QR code on a map?

A QR code allows a smartphone user to get access to online information easily. For example the QR code could take them directly to the club or state website page for information for newcomers. Or maybe next events. On trail maps it can show on a Google map the location of the main entry point.  Gen Y and Z prefer to use smartphones and tablets to access the web and QR codes facilitate that.

Some useful links for QR code information

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Generate a QR code in OCAD format

Mark Roberts provides a program to create an OCAD file of a QR code. This is for OCAD v9 and will work for later versions. OCAD 11 and later users might simply use the first stage of Mark’s process and place the resultant PNG file in the Layout Layer. But if the logo associated with the QR code is in OCAD format, it probably makes sense to place the OCAD QR code next to it to ensure they stay together.

Mark made this specifically to create OCD files of QR codes for Google Maps locations generated by However it can also be used to generate a QR code for a club website.


  1. Install the QR4OCAD app from
  2. Instal  prerequisite Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 (x86 and x64) if necessary.
  3. Download this template file and place it in your downloads folder

Tips for a usable OCAD QR code

The brief

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  • If embedding a URL always use QRstuff’s URL shortener option as in image below (click for a larger image).
  • If embedding an address or any other text, ensure the result is a Version 2 QR code (25 rows or modules).
  • If embedding a number such as telephone, add text else you will almost certainly get a Version 1 QR code.


QRstuff URL shortener
QRstuff URL shortener

The detail

As at 13 Sep 2013, QR4OCAD generates a correct OCAD QR code file only for Version 2 QR codes. (Mark might add other versions if there is demand).

How do you know if you have a correct OCAD QR code? Visually compare the generated OCAD QR code with the original PNG. If they look different then the OCAD QR code is incomplete and will not work. If you have OCAD 11 or later then you could instead use the QRstuff PNG raster image in the Layout Layer. However, to minimise read errors for users (see QR code trade-offs above), you would be better to read on.

A Version 2 QR code contains characters in the range 20 to 47. A QRstuff quick test with Data Type of Website URL selected showed that at just 33 characters, QRstuff generates a Version 3 QR code. On the other hand QRstuff seems to always generate a Version 2 QR code if the text is very short. Thus always use their URL shortener. A bonus is that it will provide better read error correction.

For other data types, my suggestion is that as you enter the data, watch the QR Code Preview at upper right of the QRstuff screen. The module data arrangement naturally changes as you enter data. Initially the display is Version 1 (21 modules) and at some point you will see the module density change which means it is now Version 2 (25 modules). If it changes again to 29 modules (Version 3) then you need to shorten your data.

Try this for a location QR code

QR Daylesford
Version 2 QR code for a Google map

5 thoughts on “QR (Quick Response) codes for OCAD

  1. G’day Warwick. I originally generated 2 or 3 QR codes using the process and all matched up. I just tried again and the QR code generated for OCAD worked identically to the PNG file generated from

    Possible reasons for a difference would be;
    1. Your QRstuff PNG file isn’t being saved into Downloads folder and thus another PNG file is being picked up by Mark’s app.
    2. You have a long text for the QR code and are making the QR code too small in OCAD to interpret correctly.

    The QR codes generated for me are Type 2 (QRstuff seems to generate an appropriate level code for length of text). The alphanumeric length for Type 2 is 20 through 47 characters. However, as you move towards the upper end of that range, the error correction level drops.

    If you are encoding a URL, then unless it is approx. 20 characters, I would take the option in QRStuff to generate a short URL. This will enable a higher error correction level and thus better accommodate a smaller size QR code on the map.

    Ideally your Type 2 QR code will be 20x20mm on the map. However, smaller is increasingly feasible as your text length decreases and thus your error correction level improves. Test with different smart phones as the camera quality can have an impact. The distance of the lens from the smart phone is a factor but many QR code readers are smart enough to activate when the QR code is virtually fully framed in the pic.

    Let us know if you continue to have an issue. I will add some links to the post that cover key points above.

  2. I have tried Mark Roberts application to generate QR codes for OCAD. The QR codes that display in the application are fully functional, but the OCAD versions it generates are not the same and are not functional. Am I the only one who has this problem? Am I doing something wrong?

    1. Hi Warwick

      Please send all of the evidence to me at mark[at]markroberts[dot]id[dot]au and I will work out what’s happening.


      1. Yes, turns out that the URL needs to be shortened and that the “URL shortener” under step 2 on the QRStuff site does this nicely. Having shortened my URL’s, the process described worked perfectly. Mark has informed me offline that “when you use the URL shortener, the QR code refers to a short link on a qrstuff website which links to the long URL of your choice. This is a reliable permanent method.” Thanks, Ken and Mark!

        1. Well, it worked. We had the codes on the top of the map for Mt Korong last Saturday, so that competitors could go straight to the Bendigo Orienteers “coming events” and “results” pages. Jimbo and Toph got the results up live on the web so that you could finish your run, walk back to your car and check the results to that time on your phone or tablet. Had a few teething problems, but nothing that can’t be fixed. Thanks, Mark and Ken!

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