Quick Response Code (QR Code)

Last updated: November 29, 2011

What Does Quick Response Code (QR Code) Mean?

A quick response code (QR code) is a type of two-dimensional bar code that consists of square black modules on a white background. QR codes are designed to be read by smartphones. Because they can carry information both vertically and horizontally, they can provide a vast amount of information, including links, text or other data.

QR codes were created by Denso Wave, a Toyota subsidiary, in 1994. Although they were initially used to track parts in vehicle manufacturing, their use in mobile phone applications continues to grow. They are often found on signs, in print publications, on business cards or in any context where users might seek additional information.

Techopedia Explains Quick Response Code (QR Code)

Compared to a bar code's 20 alphanumeric character limit, a QR code can hold thousands of characters of data. As a result, a QR code can be used to share multimedia content, such as a website landing page or an entire e-book. QR codes can also direct a phone to perform certain actions. For example, a theater company might provide a QR code that not only sends the person who scans it to the company’s website for show times and ticket information, but also embeds information about the dates, times, and locations of upcoming shows into the phone's calendar.

Data can be translated into a QR code through a QR code generator. Users enter the data they wish the QR code to display and the generator turns it into a symbol that can be printed or displayed in electronic form. Many QR code generators are available online for free.

Scanning applications for reading QR codes can be downloaded (often for free) to smartphones, allowing users to simply point the phone’s camera at the code to scan it. The application then interprets the QR code and utilizes the data from it by displaying a Web page, playing a video or providing some other type of content.

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