All you need to know about QR codesHave you ever wondered what these strange black and white squared graphics mean? You’ve probably seen them around a lot lately, but do you really know what they’re used for, or how can you read them? No worries: OnSoftware comes to the rescue! In this post I’ll try to explain everything you need to know about QR codes.

Yes, these strange symbols are called QR codes (Quick Response codes). They’re an evolution of the classic barcode, a standard sign that enables you to represent more than 4,000 alphanumeric characters in a bi-dimensional graphic (don't worry about that!).

QR codes were initially used in the automotive industry to keep track of stocks, but nowadays their usage has spread everywhere as a handy way to share information: IT companies, software developers, advertising agencies and media, they’ve all used QR codes at some point.

In order to read QR codes, you need a camera-equipped device and a compatible reader. These requisites were a real handicap a few years ago, but now that most of us have a smartphone with camera in our pocket, we’re now ready to scan QR codes anywhere. This is precisely why their popularity has grown so much in the last few months.

Creating QR codes is really simple. All you need is a QR code generator, which you can get as a desktop utility (such as iCandy, for Windows and Mac). But the easiest thing to do is probably using an online app, like Kaywa . Just select the type of data you’re going to encode, enter it into the form and press Generate.

All you need to know about QR codes

Now that you’ve learned how to create QR codes, it’s time to learn how to read them. There are literally dozens of QR code readers available today, depending on your device’s operating system. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones for Android, iPhone, Symbian, Blackberry and Windows Mobile.

  • Barcode Scanner (Android) – Works not only with QR codes, but also with other barcode formats . It also searches the web with the data found in the scanned code.
  • i-nigma (iPhone) – This handy app and your iPhone’s camera will enable you to unveil all the secrets behind any QR code. It also supports other code formats like DataMatrix.
  • Barcode Reader (Symbian) – Reads QR, BIDI and DataMatrix codes. The app’s options let you save read codes, and send them via SMS , e-mail or Bluetooth.
  • Beetagg (Blackberry) – Have a Blackberry? This is the perfect code reader for you! It’s not only compatible with QR codes, but also with DataMatrix and BeeTagg.
  • i-nigma (Windows Mobile) – Besides iPhone, i-nigma works also on the Windows Mobile platform . It’s very easy to use and lets you share codes with other users.

So, now that you’ve learnt what a QR code is, how to create them and how to read them, it’s time for some action. Check out these three sample codes and discover all the possibilities behind this new technology to share information.

All you need to know about QR codes

(Via OnSoftware ES)


  • Pablo |

    There is another way to read them.... I don't have any of those cellphones. Perhaps for a normal cellphone?

  • Chris |

    Using iCandy, and any standard webcam, you can scan and decode QWs on your computer. I'm guessing that scanners might work too.

  • Mark |

    Placing the 3 QR codes at the end of this article in a vertical column instead of a horizontal row would make the center QR code much easier to read... just a thought. :)

  • Charlie |

    Just a thought.. Does the design of the QR code obviate the necessity of having quiet areas around the coding stamp? ie; with traditional Barcode any line or edge too close couldmeke the code unreadable!! As often experienced at supermarkets when the cashier enters the code manually.

  • dave tribbett |
    dave tribbett

    Good post, Here is a post I developed as part of a series titled The Internet of Things. It is surprising that QR codes have taken this long to reach America and be adopted by the advertising crowd. Apparently, they don’t know a good thing when they see it.

  • More Wineries Adopting QR Codes | PrintMediaCentr.com |
    More Wineries Adopting QR Codes | PrintMediaCentr.com

    [...] All you need to know about QR codes (onsoftware.en.softonic.com) [...]

  • QR Codes Put To Use For Gulf Relief, Helps Petition Gain 117,000 Signatures To D |
    QR Codes Put To Use For Gulf Relief, Helps Petition Gain 117,000 Signatures To D

    [...] All you need to know about QR codes (onsoftware.en.softonic.com) [...]

  • Integraphix SEO Chicago |
    Integraphix SEO Chicago

    I think it's incredibly necessary since smart phones are becoming more prevalent in the US. There's a huge percentage of people using smart phones and businesses and designers need to listen to what they want. QR codes are the answer.

Your avatar