You may have noticed the two-dimensional barcodes in stores or magazine ads over the holidays. I downloaded my boarding pass on my mobile phone a couple of months ago and used this type of barcode to get onto the plane (although one airport did not have the readers available yet). In case you have read about these newer barcodes, they are QR (Quick Response) Codes which are matrix or two-dimensional barcodes that are readable by a QR barcode reader or camera phone app. The small squares are arranged into patterns that encode various types of data. They are commonly used in Japan where they were developed but are now finding wide use around the world for mobile advertising as camera phones have saturated the market.

The reason why they are more useful than a standard barcode is that they can store (and digitally present) much more data than traditional barcodes including URL links, videos, coupons, vCards, geo coordinates, text, SMS messages, and more. The other key feature of QR Codes is most modern cell phones can scan them using the camera. Users can also easily generate and print their own QR Code for others to scan.

The QR Codes can be generated by visiting one of many free QR Code generating sites such as Google,, Jumpscan, Kaywa, etc. They can be read by many newer phones that come with a QR code reader app, but there are also many available for free on the web such as Kaywa, NeoReader, ScanLife, Nokia Reader, etc. If you don’t already have a QR Reader app on your phone, go to NeoReader now at using your cell phone browser. It will automatically detect your phone type and give you the proper link to download the appropriate version of their application. It only takes a minute to download and install. Then launch the app and take a picture of the QR Code above.

This was automatically created by when we entered our webinar landing page URL for URL shortening. We are now using this QR Code on our house advertisement about educational webinars as we keep the latest schedule on this landing page. tracks the visitor stats so we can measure the effectiveness of the ad’s barcode use. There are many other ways to use the QR Codes like on business cards (use the URL for your Facebook or LinkedIn web page), T-shirts, posters, product ads (use the URL for your datasheet) and more. Let me know if you have any cleaver ideas for their use or have experience using them. Microwave Journal has recetnly added a user comment section to the end of articles so use the one below to post your ideas and comments.