When I output a QR-Code (Business-Card) in InDesign, users scanning the Code get a weird combination of characters instead of an «é». It looks like an ascii-issue or similar. How can I fix it ?
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There was a long discusson of this a few months ago. I don't remember the resolution but it seems to be peculiar to ID's QR code generator. If you can't use another generator and import the QR block as a graphics, see that topic — I believe there was a workaround for handling accented characters.
Here's one discussion, I think there were others.
Thanks for your feedback, James !
I wonder that this QR-Code-output-topic is still an issue today.
Yes, it's an encoding issue. and it's the QR reader's fault.
InDesign is correctly writing the code for vCard 2.1 format, yet characters like your accented characters are supposed to be read as UTF-8, but for some reason iPhones and others aren't doing that. iPhones, it seems, only read v3.0 vCards properly (It screws up on vCard 4.0 as well).
Instead of using ID's built in Business Card template (which writes vCard 2.1), use the plain text option and input your card in vCard 3 syntax and it will work. Alternatively, in vCard 2.1, you can force the reader to decode the characters as UTF-8 by adding CHARSET=UTF-8 before the name fields. e.g. .....
BEGIN:VCARD VERSION:2.1 N;CHARSET=UTF-8:Lästname;René FN;CHARSET=UTF-8:René Lästname END:VCARD
Hi Brad, and thank also you for your feedback !
I had a talk this morning with someone at APPLE-Support, claiming that things are safe on the side of iOS. He also made a test with an Android-device, which apparently also returns the same issue … leading to the conclusion there might be some bug within the QR-Code-writing-process. It’s hard to define who’s right or not. At this point, the feedback of ADOBE’s_dev-team would be great. Anyone around, perhaps ?
Regarding your suggestion : «use the plain text option and input your card in vCard 3 syntax», could you give any further hint where to find any examples of code / code-samples that suit those 3.0 requirements ? Not sure how to proceed on that point.
An Apple support tech says it's not Apple's fault. Stop the presses. 🙂
This problem crops up regularly, and while I'm sure there are many readers on all platforms that have their implementation glitches, every complaint such as yours I've seen here has traced to an iPhone being unable to parse the code.
Not conclusive, no. But... suggestive.
Thanks James, for this feedback, too !
In other words : Who fixes it, how and when ?
…As it seems the culprit is a question of perspective between ADOBE and APPLE.
I think it's broader than that; it's an evolving and somewhat idiosyncratic standard (vCard) that is subject to different implementations of interpretation. If Brad is right (and I'd put a wooden nickel on that), it's that Apple and/or the general interpretation mode is dependent on following specific details of encoding and decoding, and (as is all too common) they and probably other reader-app makers are selective about the details.
Bad enough when quicky-app makers palm off undercooked apps. Annoying when Apple, MS etc. embed these faults at a level that is hard to bypass.
One interesting suggestion from prior discussions was to use multiple encoding tools (ID's, online ones, various apps) to encode the exact same vCard, and then do a visual comparison of them (using Photoshop layers etc.) I recall that there's more variation than you might expect; every implementatino is subject to different assumptions. Whether Apple's is highly compliant or... perish the thought... made "better" than the general standard is irrelevant; it's that it seems to have more trouble with QRcodes than other readers.
Thanks again, James 🙂
I wish I could put APPLE and ADOBE into a single room with water-supply, for until as long as they come up with a fix 😛
So long, I can’t provide professional services on a workaround-basis. And coding workarounds is not really a secure alternative.
ID's code generator is, IMHO, a minor convenience at best and if it fell off in the next release I wouldn't miss it. There are legions of QRcode-creation tools out there and it's trivial to use them and place the code as a graphic.
Find one that suits you and is more compliant (for iOS readers, at least). It's not (or need not be) an integral ID/workflow obstacle.
Sure. But it’s kind of frustrating to have to seek in the wild for functionalities, that could already be tested and reliably implemented, as we talk about THE leading software in its segment. Currently, it’s like flying an aircraft with no left/right commands. Yes you fly, but… 😛
As I said, there's nothing WRONG with the code that InDesign is generating. It's actually only text after all, and it follows the specficiations of v2.1 vCard spec. Unfortunately, the phone manufacturers no longer support it. Apple states that they only support vCard 3.0 and up, which is their choice, but there's lots of existing QR codes out there using vCard 2.1.
vCard 2.1 is US-ASCII by default. Individual properties can be overridden with the CHARSET= parameter.
vCard 3.0 requires the mimetype to include a character set, e.g. Content-Type: text/vcard;charset=ISO-8859-1, but is assumed UTF-8 without it.
vCard 4.0 is always UTF-8.
The simple answer to this is if InDesign at least updated their QR mechanism to v3.0
Updating the QR-mechanism would actually indeed fix a major part of the issue.
Or they might integrate a selector drop-down to choose the desired vCard version.
…would help a lot, I guess.
Regarding your suggestion : «use the plain text option and input your card in vCard 3 syntax», could you give any further hint where to find any examples of code / code-samples that suit those 3.0 requirements ? And where exactly the code should be inserted :
Edit QR-Code / Type / Plain Text … there ?
Here's one link you might find useful. I think what Brad is suggesting is that you write this code as "plain text=" and it should encode as a vCard 3 format, and parse correctly by compliant readers.
I'd still suggest the real solution is just to use a nice, free, readily-available, version-selectable QRcode generator instead of a handy but crippled ID menu option. But that's just me.
"free, readily-available, version-selectable QRcode generator"
Indeed. Most of these already write in v3.