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QR Codes

QR codes — short for Quick Response codes — are a more powerful form of traditional bar codes.

QR codes — short for Quick Response codes — are a more powerful form of traditional bar codes. While the barcodes you see on packages and price tags encode data horizontally, QR codes encode data both horizontally and vertically in a series of squares. This makes QR codes an ideal tool for linking from print media to the web, because they are able to hold more data.

To scan a QR code, you must have a smartphone, tablet, or computer with a camera, and download a QR code reader app. The camera and decoding software work together to read the code, and will automatically take the following actions:

  • Open a web browser to the URL embedded in the code
  • Open an application and play a video
  • Download a file
  • Provide coupons and exclusive offers

History

QR codes were developed in Japan by Toyota to track auto parts, and have since become a popular way to connect to online information, appearing on everything from movie posters to fast food. They are a free, open-source tool that anyone can use. You can find out more about their history at Wikipedia.

Examples

Here are a few examples for you to scan with your phone. Find out if you have the right app.

Get a QR reader for your phone

You’ll first need to get a QR code reader app on your smartphone. Visit your phone’s app store and download the reader app directly to your phone, or download to your computer and sync your apps.

Here is a list of popular, free QR code readers that work on most smartphones.