A customer asked me to make a QR code to hold an ean-13 barcode's data but it seems they don't want to change there hardware/software that their staff use. The customer asked:

Good Morning, and 'can then use the qr code instead of the bar code, but then you have to check if the program we use (zucchetti) and' able to read the codes during the qr behalf of a client in our cash carry, Now we have more or less than 1,000 items, the expiration date will vary depending on each arrival and lot of the goods, the qr code will have to be printed by us the bar code that we are using mainly and 'ill ean13 code, but on other products there are also other types of bar codes

Googling for this company and there products does not bring much useful info (not what I would call technical), So (also out off interest) I started to try to find out all the different data types (prefix:data) I can implement in a QR code so far I have only found (I think there may be more):

Plain text      Hello Stack Exchange!
Website URL     http://www.example.com/
E-mail Address  mailto:[email protected]
Phone Numbers   tel:+00000000000
Text (SMS)      sms:9052091306
Geo Address     geo:43.838613,-79.330831,120
Contact Info    MECARD:N:Ben,Muircroft;ADR:PO Box 1, London, UK 90030;TEL:+000000000;EMAIL:[email protected];;
Bitcoin Address bitcoin:1Exampleytfu545yfu98TUYGT87t9787uy

Denso-Wave say that they can be used for warehouses to track products


This kind of implies that a QR Code could do the same job as a normal Bar Code (ean-13).

Though I cannot see how unless (ether) a hardware scanner read QRs and a prefix was designed for that specifically or custom scanning software was built to handle the prefix and look up the product.

Unfortunately I don't have a hardware Bar Code scanner and I cant tell which one they have apart from that it can presumably scan both QR codes and Bar Codes; so I am speculating on what happens at the point of scanning. I have a smartphone and can scan both QR codes and Bar codes. I can also make qr codes using Javascript and I could probably make Bar codes as well.

I would like to put something along the lines of this inside a QR code:


but the prefix should be a real one so a scanner could understand to do a look up (I am also assuming that a hardware scanner would just accept the ean-13 number then do it's job and perform its look up on a internal/external database)

I really fail to see how the QR code only has the above prefixes as it was created for corporate use originally and has only become popularized in use for marketing. So logically it would make sense that there are less commonly known more technical prefixes.

1) Are there more prefixes to add to this list?

2) Is there one which I can use in my case?

1 Answer 1


QR codes hold a string of information. It can be anything, as it's just a way to encode the string.

It's quite common for them to contain URIs (http:, https:, etc.) for smartphones and the like to access, but there's nothing stopping it from holding code to be processed (javascript:, if it's going to be passed off to a web browser), or anything else. The problem is when the client encounters a URI scheme that it's not familiar with -- as there are a lot of them.

A more recent recommendation for identifiers is to prefix them with a webresolver -- so your 5901234123457 becomes http://www.upcitemdb.com/upc/5901234123457 or similar. But this is a problem if the remote site goes under, or changes their TOS in the future. If these are for your company's use, you might want to set up your own resolver -- it can always redirect to another site, if you don't want to set up a full database.

(if you find that clients don't support redirecting, you can proxy the connections, but be aware that it might be a violation of the site's TOS)

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