What is a QR code and how does it work?

by Pramith

QR codes can be found almost everywhere, but how do they actually work? We explain how they work and how to use QR codes safely

What actually is a QR code?

QR codes can now be found on every street corner. Whether for scanning a menu in a restaurant, reviews for a service or simply useful information – the codes have found their place in our everyday lives. But what exactly is a QR code and what is behind it?

  • The term QR code stands for “Quick Response Code”. This means that it was developed to be decoded quickly
  • In contrast to the well-known barcode, the QR code is two-dimensional and can therefore hold more information. The code can contain different types of data, including text, URLs or even contact information.
  • There is an upper limit for the amount of data. The more information you want to include in the code, the larger it becomes. But the limit is 177×177 elements. According to the manufacturer, this corresponds to 4,296 alphanumeric characters or 7,089 decimal numbers.
  • With a QR code, you can, for example, scan digital business cards, view timetable information or obtain more information about a poster or flyer.
  • QR codes can be scanned with smartphones and other devices with a camera – provided they have a corresponding function. Once the code has been scanned, the information it contains is displayed

How does a QR code work?

The way a QR code works is very simple. Especially if you just want to scan the code and view the information it contains. But the creation of the QR code is now also very simple and can be done easily using programs on the Internet.

  • As a user, all you need for the QR code is your smartphone. Some models require a specific app to read the code (e.g. Google Lens). You can find this in the App Store. On other devices, such as the latest Apple versions, it is sufficient to encode the code with your normal camera and then click on the website displayed
  • If you want to create a QR code yourself, you will need a so-called QR code generator.
  • With the help of a guide or the precise instructions on the website, you can create your own QR code in just a few steps. You can now print it out or have it engraved in style for business purposes.

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