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Tips and Tricks: The Magic of QR Codes

December 23, 2013
Originally posted December 2013
by Cynthia Coulon, Studio Product Manager


You’ve probably noticed that during the past year, QR codes have popped up everywhere—from cereal boxes to billboards! You may already be a QR code pro, but if you don’t know much about these magic little boxes, here’s a brief overview.

1) QR codes are similar to barcodes, but they look like this:

(Go ahead, scan it…see what happens!)

2) QR is short for “Quick Response.” Remember that the next time you’re on Jeopardy!

3) QR codes are more useful than standard barcodes because they can store (and digitally present) much more data that can be scanned by most modern mobile phones.

4) QR codes will send bits of information to your cell phone. A code may give you a coupon, display some text, or show you a URL address (which you can click and, for example, watch a video).
5) QR codes can be read or scanned by mobile phones that have a QR reader installed. There are lots of free QR code reader apps for both Android and iPhone devices.
6) QR codes can be generated by anyone using one of the many free QR code generator websites. That means you can generate, print and send a code to people, and when they scan it, they’ll see your personal message or be directed to your personal URL (like a video you uploaded to Youtube).  Below is an picture of what generating a QR code looks like on “”. I pasted a Youtube URL into the box and a unique QR code appeared on the right!
(Go ahead, scan it…see what happens!)

And here’s what QR codes have to do with Heritage Makers:

QR codes can add a fun, modern touch to the cards and keepsakes you publish, making them even more unique and interactive than ever!
For example, a holiday photo card is great…but what if it also had a code that linked to a special video message from your family to those you love? Like “Simple Red Holidays QR,” template 113699, by Roxanne Buchholz. Spectacular!
What about a storybook that documents your child’s first year, like “Baby’s 1st Year – QR,” template 115737, by Anna G. Bates. Adding QR codes throughout would be a wonderful way to share some of the adorable moments and momentous “firsts” you catch on video! Now that’s a keepsake!
If you’d like to add a QR code or two to your next custom Heritage Makers project, here’s what you need to know:
1)    Most QR code generators on the web will create a code as a PNG graphic file format (image). As long as you have a Heritage Makers Studio account with Premier access, you can upload PNG files to your photo albums the same way you upload all your other photos. QR Codes need to be saved as JPG files to be uploaded into a Basic account.
2)    Add QR codes to your projects the SAME way you add photos to your projects.
3)    Make sure that codes you use on your projects are at least ¾-inch square in size (or larger).
4)    ALWAYS test your code before publishing and ordering your project! You can scan codes on your computer monitor with your phone. Use the zoom tool in Studio to scale your project to 100%. Then the code will be about the size it will be when it’s printed. Scan your QR code with your phone to test. If your QR code isn’t readable, try making it bigger.
5)    We suggest that you use QR codes in their original black and white form. The contrast is key to the code being readable.
6)    If you customize a template that already has a QR code, be sure to remove it and replace it with your own!
In summary…what are you waiting for? Go give this QR code thing a try, and add even more magic to your already fabulous Heritage Makers projects!
Here are some resources to help you get started. I apologize in advanced if any of these websites or apps no longer exist… that’s just the way of techy things! (You can always do a web search of your own to find free sites that generate QR codes.)

Free QR Code Generator Websites:

Free Android QR Code Reader Apps:
QR Droid
Scan – QR Code Barcode Reader
QR Barcode Scan
QR Reader for Android

Free iPhone QR Code Reader App:
URL Reader