Home > QR code > Generate ADDRESSBOOK type QR Codes

Generate ADDRESSBOOK type QR Codes

Recently I had to design some business cards for a computer science research group. So I decided to add a small touch of innovation by using a QR code that stored all the contact info.

Plain text QR’s are good as they are, but they weren’t enough for my purposes, so after researching a bit around the issue I found out that barcode scanning apps are also able to identify QR’s that are encoded with the vCard notation, and thus store the information in addressbook fashion.

So the first thing I did was having a look at vCard 3.0 specification‘s notation. Actually there also are other addressbook syntaxes out there, but vCard is probably the one that offers most options.

Here’s what Julius Caesar’s contact info would look like if written in vCard syntax:

BEGIN:VCARD
VERSION:3.0
N:Caesar Augustus;Galus Julius;
FN:Galus Julius Caesar Augustus
TITLE:CEO/Emperor
TEL;TYPE=WORK;VOICE:+555 946017
TEL;TYPE=WORK;CELL:+555 678658
EMAIL;TYPE=WORK:caesar.rules@gmail.es
ADR;TYPE=INTL,POSTAL,WORK:;;Velitrae Ox Head avenue, 1;Rome;Augusta;14567;Italy
URL;TYPE=WORK:http://www.thosewhoareabouttodiesaluteyou.com
END:VCARD

After writing the vCard it’s time to generate a QR with the encoded information. To do so, you can use one of the many available online QR code generation tools, such as Google’s Chart API’s Wizard. This is what Julius Caesar’s ADDRESSBOOK type QR code would look like.


When you scan the QR code (using a smartphone’s camera via barcode scanning app) it will show all the contact info and automatically tell you if you want to do one of the following:

Add contact, Show map, Call number, Send email

If you save the contact you’ll see there’s a few bugs on retrieving the vCard info. The address is treated as a whole thing instead of splitting it by postal code, location …

The first phone number on the vCard is treated as it were the cellphone number nevertheless if you specify VOICE and not CELL.

So it’s a very promising way to add contacts but still has some full-support issues.

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