Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Posted by: Harvey Schoenman, AITP Pittsburgh Chapter
What does QR stand for and what are QR codes? QR stands for "quick response” and the codes are those little square boxes that, when scanned with a smart phone or reader, take you directly to a website. A QR code is therefore a matrix (two-dimensional) bar code for a URL. QR codes also work for email addresses, just be sure to include the "mailto:” link instead of an "http://” link.
But, you may be wondering, "how can I make one and why would I want to?” First, for the "why,” any printed materials that have, or can have, a website reference should include a QR code or codes. You want to make it is easy as possible to drive people to your website, or a particular page on your website. If they can scan it with their phone and don't have to type the URL into a browser, all the better.
Now for the "how.” There is an excellent QR Code Generator at http://qrcode.kaywa.com/. Bring up your target website, or page within, and copy the URL. On the generator site just paste in your URL, making sure to overlay the "http://” that's already there. Leave the content type as URL but change the size to S (small). Note: Even the "small” images will probably need to be resized a bit smaller in your document. Click "Generate” and you will see your QR code. Drag the QR code onto the desktop, change the name from img.png to something more descriptive and move it to a folder of your choosing.
To use your newly created QR code in a document, open the QR code png file (any program that opens png files will work) and copy the image. In the document you are creating, just paste it in where you want it to appear and resize if necessary.
There are QR code readers for all smartphones. The Kaywa site has a download page but the easiest way is just to download it from iTunes (for iPhones) or the Android marketplace for Android phones. What about Windows phones? Easy, it's built right into the search function. Just touch the magnifying glass (search button) and touch the eye at the bottom of the screen. The camera will come on and when you have the image in focus, the website link will appear. Then just touch it to bring up the site. iPhones and Android phones work in a similar except that you have to bring up your QR reader app first. No alignment is necessary as the three small boxes in the corners provide the alignment.
Print this page and scan the following codes. Try some sideways and upside down to see that the alignment is self-actuating. I promise these are not links to sites your mother would not approve of.