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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
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.
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.