What is a QR Code?

You have probably heard the term recently and might have wondered – what is a QR code and how do I use one?

Keep reading to learn where they come from and how to use them.

What is a QR code?

A QR, or a Quick Response, code, is a graphic that can be scanned and decoded to result in a link to a web page.

QR codes were created in the mid 1990s for use in vehicle manufacturing. These codes have been adopted as tools for advertising, inventory and other uses. Smart phone cameras now include software to read and decode QR codes automatically. This allows their use on printed material, on TV screens and on cell phones.

What do I do if I see a QR code?

Let’s say you go to your local diner and in the middle of the table is a QR code for viewing the menu. What do you do?

Open your smart phone. Go into the camera app. Point the camera at the QR code as though you are going to take a picture of it. Don’t take the picture, just wait a couple seconds.

A link should pop up, like the yellow in the photo above. Tap on the link and a web page will open in your browser and display the menu.

This same process works whether the QR code is for a menu, an ad for a product, or a link to information of another kind. It could bring you to a product manual or a conference paper. The uses are almost unlimited.

The code itself might be on a flyer, on the TV, or in a store window. The process is the same for all of them.

Other uses for QR codes

Covid vaccination information is now available from smart phones using QR codes.

Massachusetts has set up a facility for generating unique QR codes. This allows others to scan the code and see your vaccination status. Your personal code can be kept in your photos, your health app, or your wallet. You can show the code to prove your vaccination status.

There are also many free QR code generators. This could be useful for a small business that wants to use QR codes to direct people to their website. The uses are endless.

This Wikipedia article might be interesting if you want to know more about the actual structure of a QR code.

If you would like help with this process, just call or email and we’ll be happy to assist you! If you have specific questions, or if our terminology isn’t clear, please use our contact form to send us a message. Thank you!

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