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How to Use and Create QR Codes

Quick Response (QR) codes allow users to access web content directly with a web-enabled phone. Use QR codes where appropriate in your print materials.

You may have seen these postage stamp-sized black and white, pixilated images: these are QR codes. Smart phones and mobile phones with cameras can read them, directing people instantly from printed materials to a website.

What, Why and Where


A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode that can store a URL, text or other data. Advertisers place them on billboards, in magazines and in many other places where potential customers with QR-compatible devices such as smart phones and laptop webcams can scan the code to open a webpage. You can use this technology to link any printed materials to your department webpage, faculty profiles, a page giving details on an upcoming event—anywhere you like. A few examples:

  • On flyers and posters for events, place a QR code in the corner to link to a page on your website with further details, registration, etc., or to the event's listing in the UB calendar.
  • On brochures for your graduate program, use a QR code to link to its page or to a specific topic. The QR code above links to information about biochemistry scholarships and fellowships.
  • Place a QR code on your business card that links to your faculty profile or other website.
  • Use a QR code on your office door to link to a page with your current office hours and contact information.

Creating QR Codes

Obtain a Short URL

  1. Go to
  2. Paste the URL you want people to visit into the box and click "Shorten."
  3. A short version of the address will be displayed below the box.

Get Your QR Code Image

  1. Click the "Details" link next to your short URL.
  2. This brings up a new page, where you will find your QR Code image.
  3. Right-click it and save it to your computer.
  4. Insert it into your document as you would any image, in Microsoft Word or your preferred program.

You can resize the image as long as you keep it square, but don't crop away the white border—that's necessary for devices to recognize it as a QR code. It can be printed on white paper or any paper light enough for the black to contrast clearly with the other areas.

You'll notice several other features on the "Details" page for your shortened, QR-coded URL. Google automatically provides free basic analytics, showing how many people have loaded your site via your QR code, when they visited and where they're from, so you can track usage and evaluate your campaigns.

Prepared QR Codes

SMBS Google Places page code

SMBS Google Places QR Code.

This image links to the school's Google Places page. This page has walking directions to the Office of Medical Admissions from parking lots and the NFTA rail station. Right-click to download the image.