How to Create And Read A Microsoft Tag

ms tag-mteThere are some new QR code looking barcodes popping up that your average QR code reader will not read.  They are Microsoft tags. They are popping up more in magazines like Sports Illustrated.

So why did they go and mess up a good thing and create a new kind of barcode? Well, who knows. But the reality of it is the Microsoft Tags are a bit more customizable and your regular barcode reader won’t read them. So this will be walk through on how to create and use a Microsoft Tag.

Creating a Microsoft Tag

For starters, you will need a Windows Live account. Once you are logged into the site, you will see a page talking about the process. The process is similar to creating a QR Code.

ms tag-get started

The Manage Tag screen is where you will create and edit your Tags. For your first tag creation look for the “Create a Tag button“.

ms tag-create a tag

You will need to fill in a bit of information about Tag.

ms tag-create a tag form

There are things like:

Title – This will display when the tag is scanned so the visitor knows where they are headed.

Tag Type – By changing the type to say, app download, you can direct each different mobile OS to the appropriate download page.

ms tag-different tag types

Tag Notes – The notes are for your own use and will not be seen by the person scanning the code.

Start and End Dates – For those using Tags for marketing and to track a specific campaign, being able to set a start and an end date is really handy. That way if you are giving away a free application for example, you can shut off the link at a specific time and date.

Depending on the type you chose, there may be other information to input, be it text, a phone number, links, etc.

When you are all done, click on save.

ms tag-save

The next step is to render the Tag. There are a few different styles you can choose from. Some have instructions with a URL on where to get the Tag reader, while some are just the Tag.

ms tag-render screen

You also have the option to choose the output type and size of the tag. The size can be anywhere from .75 inches to 120 inches.

The output formats are:

  • pdf
  • wmf
  • jpeg
  • png
  • gif
  • tiff
  • tag

Here are a couple examples of the end result for the Tag.

ms tag-example 1

ms tag-example 2

Microsoft Tag Reader

There are several spots you can download the reader.

Click the links below from your mobile device.

The Microsoft Tag mobile reader works just like the bar code scanners you are accustomed to. Activate the application and use the camera to scan the Tag.


I think there is a good amount of potential for these new bar codes or Tags as they are called, especially for marketers and small businesses. The biggest problem I can foresee is having the right reader. A lot of people aren’t on board with QR codes and scanning 2D barcodes yet. Throwing yet a third type of code at them may confuse some people. When the readers will scan all three types, I think the Microsoft Tags will be easier for the mainstream, not-so-techy users to adopt.

What mobile reader do you use to scan bar codes, Tags and QR codes?

Trevor Dobrygoski
Trevor Dobrygoski

Trevor is a freelance writer covering topics ranging from the Android OS to free web and desktop applications. When he is not writing about mobile productivity, He is coaching and playing the world's greatest game... Soccer.

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