QR Codes

a QR Code for our website

QR Codes are everywhere! Let’s learn what they are, why and where we use them and how to use them.

QR Codes – What Are They?

QR is an abbrevation for “quick response.” Basically, the QR Code is a two-dimentional bar code. The code was developed in 1994 by Masahiro Hara and his team of engineers at Denso-Wave. Once created, QR Codes were used primarily in manufacturing and warehousing. While there were some other businesses using them, the QR Code explosion didn’t really happen until Covid-19. Because of the Pandemic, we became a no-touch society and QR Codes became a hit!

Where We Use Them

If you can print or paint on something, you can almost always use a QR Code. They are used on printed programs, bulletins, posters and more. They appear on windows, on signs and even on automobles and computers. When you gas up your vehicle, one of them often appears on the pump.

The QR codes can link to PDF files, websites, coupons, Social Media channels, videos, events, Facebook likes, individual accounts (e.g., Sam’s Club, Walmart, BJs, etc.) and more.

Do you have to be in business to create one or more of these? Absolutely not. Perhaps you belong to a club or maybe you’re going to have a special event. You could hand out flyers with QR Codes on them!

QR Codes – How You Use Them

In industry situations, special readers are used to take advantage of QR Codes. For the average person, however, you just need a smart phone or a tablet connected to the Internet. Until a few years ago, you had to have a special app to read the codes. Now, however, almost all modern smart phones and tablets will interpret the coding just by using the device’s camera. (Note: you may need to grant permission to use your camera the first time you go to scan one of these codes.)

There are, however, some differences between how an Android and an Apple product treat certain QR Codes. For instance, if I post a PDF file to the web and scan its code with my iPhone or iPad, the PDF will open directly on my device. On an Android, however, I would need to download the PDF and then open it.

What It Looks Like On Your Device


Looking at the pictures above, note the following. On an iPhone or iPad, you would simply tap on the yellow button and you’d be taken to to the website or other destination. On an Android, you can click “Show options” and take whatever action you desire. (What options you are given depends on what the QR Code is representing. As examples, you might get “Open in browser,” “Download again” or “Copy.”)

How Can You Create Them Yourself?

As I mentioned above, you don’t have to be in business to use this tool. Organizations and clubs can use them, too. If you search “QR Code generator” you’ll get lots of search results. (As with any search you might do, be careful. Remember the old adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!”)

By The Way

When you scan the code at the top of this post, you’ll be taken HERE.

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About the Author

John Grubb

I've been working on computers since 1983! I love helping people resolve their computing issues and sharing preventative measures, as well.

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