QR Codes. They look like barcodes that have gotten wet and smudged. You’ve probably seen them. In fact, they’re everywhere: on the web, in print ads, on business cards, and even on the sides of buildings. All you need to do is scan a QR code with your smartphone and you’re either taken to a website or you get some information about a person or a business.
Whether you believe that QR codes are here to stay or that they’re a fad, QR codes can be useful. Creating one is fairly easy. You don’t need any special software on your desktop, and you definitely don’t need to worry about fiddling with graphics.
There are a number of websites that will let you create your own QR codes. They have the same general features and functions, and save QR codes to your computer as a PNG file. Some generators, though, are better than others.
Let’s take a look at four of the best ones.
1. ZXing Project QR Code Generator
While it won’t win any prizes for looks, the ZXing Project QR Code Generator is easy to use and is very flexible. How simple and flexible?
Just choose the type of content that you want the QR code to contain. It can be any of the following:
- A calendar event
- Your contact information
- A geographic location
- An email address
- A phone number
- A short message to be sent by SMS
- A block of text
- A URL
- Login information for a wireless network
Then, you just type information in the fields on page and click the Generate button to create your QR code.
If you want even more flexibility, then you’ll want to check out QRStuff. It’s one of the most fully-feature QR code generators available, yet remains easy to use.
You get the same content options as you do with the ZXing Project generator, along with a few other options. These include PayPal Buy Now Link, links to various social media services, a link to content in the Apple iTunes Store, and a link to a video on YouTube. You can also use QRStuff’s built-in URL shortener – the shortened URLs begin with http://qrs.ly.
What really sets QRStuff apart, though, is the ability to change the color of your QR codes. Don’t like the standard black and white? Then change it to a shade of green, a nice red, or even bold blue.
If you’re a back-to-basics kind of person, then GOQR might be what you’re looking for. It’s basic, but has a few options that set it apart from other QR code generators.
How basic? You can only create QR codes that contain text, a URL, a telephone number, and SMS message, or contact information. Nothing special, but not bad.
But, as I mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago, GOQR has a some very useful features. The first is the ability to change the size of your QR codes. Most generators create QR codes in three sizes: large (350 px by 350 px), medium (230 px by 230 px), and small (120 px by 120 px). With GOQR, you can use a slider to change the size of your QR code in five pixel increments. You can go as small as 60 px by 60 px or as large as 1000 px by 1000 px.
If you click the Options button, you can also change the foreground and background color of your QR code and add a margin around it.
Maestro makes creating a QR code both simple and graphical. While it doesn’t offer a lot of options for the type of content to include in a QR code, it’s probably one of the easiest to use (and visually pleasing) QR code generator on the web.
You can use Maestro to create QR codes that contain:
- Phone numbers
- SMS messages
- Map information
- Contact information
- Calendar events
- Links to content in the Android Market, BlackBerry App World, and the iTunes App Store
Maestro takes things a step further. You can add headings to your QR codes – sort marketing messages, for example. Maestro also generates an HTML image tag that you can embed in a website or blog (assuming you don’t want to download an image). On top of that, you can change the color of the QR code.
Creating your own QR code is quick and easy. While the four QR code generators we’ve just looked at are among the best ones out there, you can find more by doing a search with your favorite search engine.
Do you have a favorite QR code generator? Then share it by leaving a comment.