Sharing PDFs with QR codes

PDFs have been a popular format for so long because they are uniquely useful in so many cases. Pairing them with QR codes make them even more powerful.

In this article we share reasons why PDFs and QR codes are a perfect match (with some examples and use cases)

Why PDFs?

PDFs are ideal when sharing information that has to look consistent across devices. Compared to a website or other document types, PDFs tend to look very much the same on most devices.

They open pretty reliably across Windows, Mac, iPhones, Androids, and more. Sometimes an app is required to open PDFs, but as they are such a popular format, most people will already have one installed.

They’re also perfect for documents that people need to be able to save and access later, even when they’re no longer connected to the internet.

PDFs are also a good option for documents that might get shared around. E.g. a team sharing a quote/proposal or a group of friends sharing a brochure.

QR codes make it easy to share PDFs in real world situations. Whether they are for event agendas, instruction manuals, or any use case that involves saving and downloading information, QR codes make it convenient for people to download and save PDFs for later.

Example use cases of PDF QR codes

Restaurant menus

Restaurant menus are one of the most common use cases for PDF QR codes and were popularised during the height of the pandemic.

Most restaurants already have a PDF version of their menu, so it’s super quick and easy to link them up to a QR code so people can easily access them on their phones. PDFs aren’t always the easiest way to browse a restaurant menu, especially on small screens, but if you need to create QR code menus in a hurry, they are likely the simplest option.

Event agendas

When planning an event or conference, it's vital to ensure attendees know what the plan is. When and where are the various talks? How do people find their way around? What's the plan for lunch? Putting all of this information in a PDF is ideal as people can download it once and then access it throughout the even, even without an internet connection.

You should be sending these PDFs to attendees before the event, but sharing them via QR codes on posters and leaflets is helpful for people who haven't downloaded them yet.


PDFs are ideal for tickets because people can save them later. Send tickets to your customers by email, but also provide a QR code so they can easily download them on their preferred device or share them with others in the group who need the tickets.


A poster of leaflet can only hold so much information. Once you've piqued people's interest, let them learn more by scanning a QR code on your leaflet that downloads a more detailed brochure.

How to create PDF QR codes

If you already have a PDF hosted online, you can simply use the link where it's hosted with any QR code generator.

If your PDF isn't hosted online yet, look for a QR code generator that supports PDF uploads (like Hovercode).

a QR code generator with the PDF option selected

Ideally, you want to create a dynamic QR code so that if you need to make changes to your PDF, you can update it without having to reprint your QR codes.

It's pretty much that simple!

Generate your custom QR code

Create your editable & trackable QR code with Hovercode (for free!)