Everything about QR codes, or mysterious checkered boards from posters, bottles and city bikes

QR codes have amazing potential that we don’t fully use. Let’s start by explaining what they are.

What is the QR code?

QR code this is the graphic code developed in 1994 year in Japan by a company Denso-Wave dealing with automatic identification mechanisms (e.g. bar codes). So it’s nothing new – it’s almost 30 years old.

QR code to code:

  • alphanumeric (a string of numbers is used to write characters),
  • two-dimensional (information is recorded in both horizontal and vertical planes),
  • matrix (based on a regular grid),
  • square (You know).

Allows coding both the numbersas well as liter and e.g. kanji / kana characters that are used in the Japanese alphabet. It also supports Cyrillic, Arabic, Hebrew and Greek characters. Interestingly, it also allows you to define your own symbols.

How to scan a QR code?

To read the QR code is enough ordinary camera installed on the phone. Modern smartphones are most often equipped with appropriate software. It can be integrated with the camera application or function as a separate program.


At the end of the text I have posted several applications for reading and writing QR codes. I will show scanning based on the mobile program PL barcode generator.

After entering the application, click the plus icon, then Scan the code. We put the code in the designated place in the camera view and voilà – its content is displayed on the screen. In my case it was a link, but it can really be any information.

Applications of QR codes

QR codes are used, for example, to share information – phone number, home address, e-mail or business cards. They are also often used for forwarding links, both on websites and in analog form. They are seen e.g. in museums – after scanning the code, a link with information about the exhibit and additional photos may appear.

They are also useful in marketing, because they allow you to enter the product page without the tedious rewriting of the link from physical advertising.


QR codes are great at car rentals

If you’ve ever ridden scooters or city bikes, then you are certainly familiar with QR codes. Due to the speed and versatility they are perfect for identification vehicles when renting.

Their advantages are also used in logistics i parcel shipments. They significantly improve the recognition of individual shipments in sorting plants, and even their collection (e.g. in InPost parcel machines).

You can pay for purchases and bills with QR codes

In Poland, for purchases with QR codes we will pay for purchases, e.g. in the popular supermarket chain via Lidl Pay. Such an idea, however, was the most accepted in China. The codes are used not only in large stores, but also on small stalls or even by … beggars. The phenomenon is incredibly interesting, so I recommend you read more about it in Miron’s column.

QR codes are also used e.g. for paying invoices in the IKO app. All you have to do is scan the document in the right place and the application will fill in the empty fields. I don’t think I have to say how much time it saves. Certainly my editorial colleague Kuba Krawczyński knows about it.


QR codes at … the cemetery?

In Japan, there was even an idea to place QR codes on gravestones.

The code secured with a special key would allow displaying a dedicated website with the deceased’s life story, memories and photos. As you can see, technology has enormous potential, which is basically limited only by your imagination.


The QR code is not the only one

The registration certificate has a graphic code intended e.g. for insurers, who in the event of an accident can scan it and enter the vehicle data automatically into the system. However, this is the Aztec code, deceptively similar to QR.

Data Matrix code visible on AMD Ryzen 7 3700X processor

There is also a Data Matrix code that has no landmarks visible in other types. You will find it, for example, on … computer processors.

There is also the Microsoft Tag code presented at CES 2009. It is distinguished by the use of colors and triangles. It is very characteristic, but it has not taken on a larger scale.


You can make the QR code yourself

The QR code can be generated in both mobile and computer programs. I will use the application again PL barcode generator.

After opening the program, click the plus button, select add code, then code type (preferably QR Code) and type of information. Enter our message and optional code and label description. Then confirm it with the button in the upper right corner and we can enjoy the generated code.

Kody QR – skanery i generatory

In the base dobrychprogramów you can find some interesting applications to handle these codes. You will find not only mobile programs, but also for Windows and MacOS platforms. Here are some examples:

It seems to me that I have already written everything you should know about QR codes. Or maybe you still know some interesting facts about them? Share them in the comments.