Pixel Squares Conquer the World – and also the Technical Documentation?

Schon gescanned?In your daily life have you already noticed the many opportunities where you come across those QR codes – one of the pixelated squares that you see next to these lines?

At bus stops, places of interest, in newspaper ads, on drinks, yes even on naked skin they induce us to pull out our smart phones and, when we press the release button of the camera, transport us into the digital universe to the current bus schedule, to the tourist information or to “complementary” promotional product information including “amazing” lotteries.

The tiresome task of typing cryptic URLs into the browser is now water under the bridge, yes even clicking and swiping are no longer necessary in most cases. Quick Response and direct marketing are the magical words that make public relations and marketing experts’ faces light up.

How can the Quick Response code be used, however, in technical documentation?

The Bridge Between Paper and Online Media

What works for marketing also works for printed manuals and catalogs. From the manufacturer’s web address on the cover pages to the links to secondary online information in the individual chapters the QR codes can help build a bridge between printed publications and online media.

Example: print catalog of Euflor

Also links to videos and screencasts can be integrated into e.g. manuals with the help of QR codes and thus render the print product “interactive”.

Provision of Context-Sensitive Information

A number of manufacturers already now start to tag QR codes to their wrappings, products or parts of products.


Using the QR code the respective object can be identified and – depending on the use case – be made available to the user, service technician etc. as context-sensitive information.
Those who visited SCHEMA at its booth on the tekom meetings during the last two years might know this scenario from our orange Lego Unimog. By scanning the codes the respective service information can be called up with a mobile device.

Unimog mit QR-Codes

How are QR Codes Created?

Creating QR codes is relatively easy and can either be carried out via one of the countless online generators in the internet or the content management system already provides such a function.


Since the version 2012 R2 of SCHEMA ST4 it is directly possible in the content management system to create and manage QR codes and to use them immediately in all output media. If language-dependent information is coded in the QR code, it will be possible to manage different language variants as well.

The Future of QR Codes in Technical Documentation

Certainly the mentioned scenarios only schematically show the possible applications for QR codes in technical documentation. But as in many other areas QR codes will in our opinion play an important role in technical documentation in the future.


  • The term “QR code” is a registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED.
  • The companies Euflor and TIEMME RACCORDERIE S.p.A. mentioned in the examples do not have any customer relations to SCHEMA and do not use SCHEMA ST4.

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