Using a QR Code

What is this?

If you’re not sure what you’re looking at, you’re not alone.

That black and white mess is called a QR code (for quick response). If you have a smartphone, you can download a free QR reader to it, then point it at the image to decode it.

In this case, you’d see my contact information, which you could then add to your contacts with a tap (or click, or spin of the wheel).

Wired magazine, among others, has used them for a while, and it goes something like this:

You finish reading an article and notice the QR code at the bottom. You pull out your phone, scan the code, and suddenly your phone is showing you a link, text, or some other information that you never would have seen otherwise.

Often, these codes are on ads, and the information is some kind of special deal, or just more detail about the product.

Why is this great?

Neil Perlin, at Hyper/Word, points out lots of good ways that tech writers could use QR codes, so rather than repeat them, I’ll send you his way.

Note: Neil mentions creating QR codes using Flare. You can probably use your free QR reader to create your own QR codes on your phone (I use QuickMark), or search the Web for free QR Code Generators.

Here’s the link to his site:

Oh, which brings me to another point. Until this stuff becomes ubiquitous, I wouldn’t put anything essential in a QR code unless it’s also somewhere else!

See also:

Neil Perlin’s Hyper/Word

Google search for QR Code Generators

QuickMark download page


3 Responses to “Using a QR Code”

  1. Sethermidus
    March 14, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    is there a way to make a link word, instead of showing an entire address? So instead of:

    it would say:

    and Website would be a link to our website

    • admin-Robert
      March 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

      Sethermidus: I’m not sure. In short, you’d be coding html to show the name you want, rather than the URL. I would think that it’s possible, but it’s not something I’ve tried.

  2. Neil Perlin
    May 26, 2011 at 9:45 am #


    Thanks for the reference. You’re right about my discussing QR codes in the context of Flare 7, but there’s a ton of third-party QR code generators out on the web. And I’m still finding new ways to use this feature.


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