What’s a QR code?
QR (“Quick Response”) codes are barcodes that can be scanned using a QR scanner program. Smartphone and tablet owners may use QR scanner apps to scan these codes by holding the mobile device's camera up to the code. The device will then display the encoded information. This content might be a URL, a person or company’s contact information, or a text message. QR codes are fast to use and versatile, appearing on posters, business cards, t-shirts and more.
This video ad from http://scan.me (iOS) demonstrates how QR codes work.
How can I scan a QR code using my phone?
To scan QR Codes, your phone, tablet or other mobile device must have:
- a built-in camera
- the ability to download and install third-party applications
Most smartphones and tablets on the market today (Apple iOS, Android, Blackberry, Palm) meet these requirements. Some newer smartphones and tablets may have a QR scanner app already pre-installed.
- Download a QR code scanner app. Most QR scanners are available as free apps in your device's app store. There are many different QR scanners to choose from, but most work in the same way and there are several scanners to choose from depending on your device.
Open the app and hold your device's camera up to a QR code to scan. You may scan a printed code, or a code that appears on a webpage. For an example, use the QR code below to test your app. When scanned, this code will bring up IT Help Desk information you can save on your phone as a contact.
- Get the embedded information. Once the app scans the code, the app will let you know that the code has the contact information for the St. Edward’s Computer HelpDesk embedded and that you may save this information to your device. Now that you have an app, whenever you see a QR code all you have to do is go to the app and hold your device up the code to get the embedded information.
How can I create my own QR codes to share?
Creating and sharing your own codes is a helpful and easy way to give information directly to whoever sees the code.
Find a QR code generator to embed your information. Just like scanners, there are a variety of QR generators available on the web. Please note that while many apps feature code generators as well as a scanner, these codes may only be readable only by others who have that specific app, which can be too limiting for use. Some quick, universal code generators include: Zxing, Delivr, QRstuff, and Maestro. Bit.ly and Google's URL shortening services can also generate a QR code along with the shortened URL for a webpage.
- If you want to customize your QR code with colors and graphics, make your QR code using Unitag. If you prefer to customize your code manually, make a plain black/white code, then edit it in photoshop.
- Enter in the content to be embedded in the code. After you enter the content you want to share, click on your generator’s submit button to create the code.
- Save the code and share it. Save your code as an image file for use on print materials or online.
- [Optional] Use your Photoshop skills to customize your QR code's color and appearance. See How-To Geek's article "How to Customize and Decorate Your QR Codes with Pictures". The code to the right was made on Unitag, and should take you to the IT Training webpage on your smartphone.
Need assistance using or creating QR codes? Contact Megan, the IT Training Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.