Introducing the QR Code Link Generator for Acrobat

When I wrote the QR Code Generator for Acrobat, I had no idea how popular it would become so quickly. That version was a good proof-of-concept but it had it’s flaws. Unfortunately, I got laid off from Adobe before I was able to make some sorely needed improvements. Now, with some free time on my hands, I decided to revisit the concept. So – as the first of what I hope to be many of “Joel’s Flash Widgets”, I introduce the QR Code Link Generator for Acrobat.

I can’t really call the QR Code Link Generator for Acrobat a new version of the QR Code Generator for Acrobat; it’s more like a reimagining. I discovered a major flaw in the whole concept and needed to rewrite it from the ground up. Here’s the thing about Rich Media Annotations (RMAs) in Acrobat, they deactivate when the page isn’t visible. You also only get two choices for when to activate them, when “The page containing the content is opened” and when “The page containing the content is visible”. If a person opens the PDF file and hits print, if the QR code isn’t on page 1, the QR code won’t print. Luckily, you can activate RMAs using JavaScript.

With the QR Code Link Generator for Acrobat I was able to use the ActionScript/JavaScript bridge, some Acrobat JavaScript and Acrobat’s Document Actions to activate the QR code just before printing. I was also able to dim the QR code when viewed on screen… let’s face it… they’re not exactly attractive and can really ruin an otherwise well designed page. It’s best to get them off the screen and only show them when the document is printed. For cases when your computer isn’t connected to the internet but your phone is, you can mouse over the QR code widget and the code becomes visible for 10 seconds and then fades away again.

For you developer types out there, stay tuned for my upcoming article detailing how I created the QR Code Link Generator for Acrobat. It was quite an adventure figuring out how to get these things to show up when printed but not on screen.

Jump to the QR Code Link Generator for Acrobat download page.

6 Responses to Introducing the QR Code Link Generator for Acrobat

  1. Tim Plumer Jr. November 15, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    Hey Joel, great work. So for the version you sell (you re going to charge for this eventually, right?), can I request a free-form text and an address option?

    • Joel Geraci November 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

      Thanks Tim

      I won’t be selling these things. They’re free for anyone to use.

      Can you elaborate on what you mean by free-form text and an address option?


  2. Kvisoft December 12, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    It’s the first time I know the QR code.

  3. Simon Veilleux January 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    Great idea, very clever. But it doesn’t seem to work exactly as describe, or at least, to work all the time on Mac. I tried with Acrobat Pro X and Adobe Reader X on Snow Leopard 10.6.8. Main problem I have is this: when I double click on the QR code, the popup never appears. I have to save, close, then open with Adobe Reader so I can see the popup to enter my URL. I tried on a different Mac with Lion: same thing.

  4. Jeffrey Markham April 27, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    Is there a way for the QR generator to get link data from another element on the PDF page? I’d like to use it to create a form where the QR code changes based on user input.

    • Joel_Geraci April 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

      It can be done, I just haven’t written it yet. Maybe that’ll be a little weekend project.

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