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gtuckerkellogg

paperless Using QR codes to go paperless

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I recently made a comment in a thread about putting user manuals into Evernote. The comment generated a lot of response, including a recommendation to start a new thread. This is it. I've quoted the original comment below.

I have one addition to that you might like if you have an iPad 2 or other tablet with a camera.
  1. Create a Note Link to your note with the manual for your thermostat
  2. Paste that Note Link into a QR code generator (like this one) and get a graphical QR code you can stick to your thermostat
  3. When you need to change your thermostat battery, point your iPad at the sticker and RTFM (Read the Fine Manual).

Also works for warranties. :)

There are a bunch of ways to use QR codes to enable going paperless with Evernote. You need a device with a camera, a website to generate QR codes, and a printer. Ideally, a label printer, since you'll be sticking the codes on things.

QR codes are also useful for ordinary notes. You can even include the QR code to the note in the note itself. Why would you want to do this? Well, suppose you have something you want to stick on the fridge (I'm going to China tomorrow, and my itinerary is going up there). A QR code to the note itself means my itinerary is there, but if there are any updates (including those I make while I'm in China) the note will contain them, and my family can easily check just by pointing a phone at the note. This is very useful for anything volatile for which you still need a paper copy.

One reason I would really like "evernote://" style URLs to notebooks or searches is because I could think of a lot of things to do with them using QR codes.

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I think this is VERY cool. But, for myself, I am a bit too lazy. I'm fine relying on searches. I will keep it in mind, though.

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You can do lots more with QR codes - like setting up wi-fi access; my local network settings are in a QR code so passing smartphone users can set up their temporary access without constantly bugging me for the password (and how did you spell that?). Or diary entries - get your next event in people's diaries by giving them a code to scan. I'm not so fussed about labels, except in situations where you wouldn't want a box to be labelled "Really Valuable Stuff Here".. I'm happy to have numbered boxes, and pics of the contents/ numbers so I can search "Lord of the Rings" and find which box I need to open.

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I gave this a try this morning and it worked beautifully. One tip I'd add:

  • Store the QR code image along with the note to which it associated. In my case, I just add some text below the PDF of the manual indicating, "QR code follows" and then paste in the image.

That way, if you need it again, you've got it as part of the note.

I also ran into the issue with the web vs. evernote:// link. It would be nice to have the ability to pull up evernote:// links, especially if you are using a mobile device with offline notebooks and have no Internet access. (As, say, when the power is out.)

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I've thought of another use for QR codes. I have a few cookbooks that are difficult to find recipes from the index unless you remember the exact recipe name. IE, maybe you know you've used a zucchini muffin recipe from the "1001 Muffin Recipes" book. BUT...looking under Z for zucchini, you can't find the recipe b/c it's listed under B for "Banana Nut Zucchini muffins". :( So I'm thinking I could set up a QR code to stick on those problematic books that would include a link to a page on my personal website that would serve as a future reference for the recipes I've tried from that book. By making it link to a web page, the QR code would not need to be updated & reprinted, each time I want to add something. Instead, I'd just quickly update the web page.

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Next question about QR codes that you print out & stick on something...

Anyone have a snifty way to print them out without wasting paper/labels? I'm thinking of using Avery/Avery type mailing labels b/c I already have them & they are already sticky. I think I will do what Jamie posted - store the QR code in Evernote. Then I guess I'd just copy it & paste it into some app that would allow me to position it in the right spot on the label form. Normally, when printing Avery type labels, I use a very, very, very old version of The Print Shop. It's neat b/c it has it's own database (ok that's not so neat, but it's not that hard to keep it updated when I update my "source of all truths" contact list, either.) But the neat part is that I can select which labels I want to print & give it a starting point on the form. So it's very easy to print out a label for the Smiths, the Clarks & the Allens & print them on the three labels in the middle of the page. It's equally easy to print out a single label for the Fosters & have it print on the first label in the fifth row. (Hope that makes sense.) The downside is that TPS's database is text only.

I do have MS Publisher & Word, so I will check into what can be done using those apps.

However, I was just wondering if anyone had discovered a really neat way to quickly print out a few QR codes as you need them.

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I was just wondering if anyone had discovered a really neat way to quickly print out a few QR codes as you need them.

Specialised label printers do exist that will spit out one label on demand, but that's an probably an expensive answer. I have used Word's label-printing options before - check the code number of the labels you're using, and you'll probably find Word has that as a template option. If not, it's easy to set up something similar in any word processor that supports tables. Choose row and column sizes that match your labels, and add extra rows and columns for gutters if you need 'em. Since you can print any one or combination of labels in the sheet depending on where you put the content, you can put the same sheet back in the printer until they're all used up. Still pretty clumsy though. Would be good to have a small , cheap (hand-held?) printer that could 'rubber stamp' a standard QR code onto suitable stickies...

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Would be good to have a small , cheap (hand-held?) printer that could 'rubber stamp' a standard QR code onto suitable stickies...

Yeah, I figure between Word & Publisher, I should be able to rig up something. The good news is I have a nearly full box of labels so I don't have to buy anything. But I was really hoping there was some small Dymo/Brother P-Touch type gadget that would do these easily. Probably not realistic, since it would need to have the QR code generator on board & the data entry of the info would be cumbersome.

I did see where Brother has a P-Touch editor app that will allow you to create labels on your computer & hook up one of their printers to your computer. But in that case, I may as well use what I already have.

Thanks!

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Ok...if you want to get very simple/efficient, get some NFC tags & the Trunk Conference winner, Touchanote!!! Check out this demo by the developer!!!

ACCCCCKKKK...Android only... :)

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I can relate to Touchanote simplicity - get your phone near a tag, and up pops the note; no need even for searching. But. NFC phones? The UK has only just caught up to basic smartphones - there aren't that many NFC-capable handsets around yet, and many people who would use them for this like a shot (e.g. me..) are locked into a contract that won't end this year. Stickylabel tech looks like the only viable option for the time being.

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I can relate to Touchanote simplicity - get your phone near a tag, and up pops the note; no need even for searching. But. NFC phones? The UK has only just caught up to basic smartphones - there aren't that many NFC-capable handsets around yet, and many people who would use them for this like a shot (e.g. me..) are locked into a contract that won't end this year. Stickylabel tech looks like the only viable option for the time being.

Yeah the Touchanote people admit to being pretty bleeding edge--NFC enabled phones just aren't that regular yet--but market share is growing (if someone bugs me I'll research beyond anecdotal evidence). Once retailers smell that magic sweet spot though...probably won't be able to escape em.

The QR codes make sense though as a near-term solution, and one that's a bit more scalable, depending on your volume. I can't imagine buying more than the $20/25 NFC tags, and if I went higher than 50 I'd probably go with QR codes till prices or tech came down.

I actually think QR codes have been woefully underutilized. They're fairly stylish, interesting ways of pointing to a certain website. But invariably, they're stuck next to the actual web address, and even more invariably, it's a parent web address. I always imagine them taking me somewhere more underground, and instead I get taken to IKEA.com or some corporation's home site.

Additionally, this was a subject made for wikipedia. Look at risks.

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I actually think QR codes have been woefully underutilized.

I have seen QRs used on posters - so you can grab when/ where/ how much quickly, without fumbling for pens or forgetting the details later; on websites so you can grab addresses on a mobile from a monitor screen; on ATM receipts to jump to a charity page; and on cars/ vans (well, a couple) as part of the signwork so (presumably) you can snatch the contact info as they move past. I take your point about security though - a harmless square of dots is meaningless to everything except the phone reading it. You might never know what you just signed up for... Use public QR codes with caution, I agree!

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I've seen (and used!) them on some those coupons for local businesses that are bundled together in a fat envelope & mailed to you. The only one I've used was on a coupon for a Chinese restaurant. The QR code opened their menu. I thought that was pretty useful.

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On my android, I have Barcode Scanner v3.6, which has a Send To option. From Evernote I can send a link to my post to the bar code and it generates a QR code automatically.

From here it gets a little tricky though. I can't print directly from my phone, and if I save the image it's just the QR code, no reference to what it goes to. If I save it back into EN, it includes the QR code and the destination link, and I can add a comment so I know what it is. From my desktop, take the QR codes and print them off! It's a little redundant (EN to QR to EN to PC to PRINT) but I think it's faster/easier than going to another website to create the QR codes.

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I love the ideas I am hearing. I have a Brother P-Touch printer but am wondering what size label to use based on the QR code and any text needed to go along with it, if any. Any ideas?

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This is a new concept for me, but I am anxious to try it, especially for those manuals. If I understand correctly, I can generate these codes for free using the link above? I have a new iphone 4 and ipad 2. I Iooked online to find a code reader app, but the reviews on the ones I found are less than stellar. Can anyone recommend one that works well?

Thanks!

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I love the ideas I am hearing. I have a Brother P-Touch printer but am wondering what size label to use based on the QR code and any text needed to go along with it, if any. Any ideas?

So long as your phone camera can read the code, any moderate size label should be fine. Try out a few different sizes. Obviously, you may want *some* text with it, depending on how much you want to annotate the code for your use.

How do you like the P-touch label printer? Do you use a Mac, and if so how does the software work?

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This is a new concept for me, but I am anxious to try it, especially for those manuals. If I understand correctly, I can generate these codes for free using the link above? I have a new iphone 4 and ipad 2. I Iooked online to find a code reader app, but the reviews on the ones I found are less than stellar. Can anyone recommend one that works well?

Thanks!

I've used one called an I-Nigma reader for a few years, on iPhone. It does the job. They're pretty basic as far as apps go, so I wouldn't really worry about poor reviews. Don't shell out a ton of cash for one either, I'm sure you can get one for 1.99 or less. I-Nigma's free and it works. It occasionally crashes, but we're not trying to launch the space shuttle here.

I mentioned I don't see these codes very often, but I just helped run a major art auction with about 150 separate QR codes. People could walk up to a piece of art, scan a code in the corner and read about the artist, the work, etc. Less QR-related, but we also had giant screens that cycled to the correct art piece image (same one linked by QR) so you could survey the multiple auctions before diving into the crowd to bid.

Regarding I-Nigma again, as part of my pre-show prep I used it to re-verify all the QR codes for the 150 pieces. Well, 75 of them, I split with another guy who had some other reader. Took us about 30 minutes to review the catalog, and it only crashed once on me.

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On my android, I have Barcode Scanner v3.6, which has a Send To option. From Evernote I can send a link to my post to the bar code and it generates a QR code automatically.

From here it gets a little tricky though. I can't print directly from my phone,...

Have you tried Google cloud print?

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I think it's pretty awesome that a record label is fronting it. I'll probably do a little more research and start something in the OT area about this, since it's not really about using QR codes in EN.

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Here's a post I made someplace else back in September:

To people who are trying to find more uses for QR Codes: "think URL". Much very specific -- and useful -- information can be transported via URLs nowadays. And, as the web is progressing, you can stand on the shoulders of giants. Another good way to think of QR Codes is "object/location bookmarks". The information transported becomes relevant in the situation/place you're in right now. For example, a QR code on a beamer at school or university could bring up its user manual or link to a way to reserve it for a future lesson.

Let me just rattle down some examples from a common household situation to give a better impression: Adorn your TV's remote control with a code which links to the current TV programme or IMDB. Put a QR code up next to the coat hanger which links to your local weather. Put a QR code up next to your door that shows you what trains/buses are leaving next from your local bus/tram/train station (via a specific query of your local transportation services). Keep your shopping list in Remember The Milk, make a QR code linking to that list and stick it on the fridge. Use QR codes to broadcast recurring events to members your family, like round-tweets/texts "I'm going shopping right now. Need anything?", which you can e.g. put on that reusable shopping bag that you keep in your car. Can't remember that darn WiFi configuration of yours that you only need to remember once every year? Put it in Evernote and link to it via a QR code that you slap on your WiFi router (or, if you must, create a plain-text-QR code if the configuration is stable). Doing GTD? Stick QR codes to specific locations where one or the other GTD context becomes relevant. which Slap QR codes on your more complex electronic devices which link to a PDF version of the user manual.

Maybe this list also triggers one or the other cool idea. :-)

Hint: URLs with queries etc. can become quite complex. You can use an url shortener like goo.gl. If you use goo.gl, you can simply add ".qr" to the end of the short url to create a QR code to print out. Pretty nifty, eh?

Hint 2: Most URL shorteners only support "http://" URLs and can't deal with custom URI schemes like "evernote://". But good old tinyurl.com does! You also need to pay attention to install a scanner app on your smartphone which supports custom URI schemes.

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These are all awesome ideas using QR and I'd like to get started with some of my own uses within Evernote. I'm currently "hung up" on one of the steps / concepts.

I would like to create a QR code that opens an Evernote Note on my iPhone4S running Evernote 5 for iOS. However, I DO NOT want each and every stranger or random person who stumbles upon that QR to be able to scan it and read my Evernote Note contents.

It seems like creating a link to a note in Evernote generates a URL which is then publically accessible on the web for anyone to read. Is this correct or incorrect?

Is there a way to create a private / confidential link to an Evernote Note which would be accessible with a mobile device? If so, then I can accomplish what I would like to do.

Any thoughts?

-matt

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This is a brilliant idea!!

Can I suggest as an alternative to use Data Matrix codes instead of QR Codes. They're essentially the same thing, but require less pixels for an Evernote link than a QR Code does, which means you can print them smaller while still being readable (see below). Any app that reads QR Codes will read Data Matrix as well.

Generator here: http://datamatrix.kaywa.com/

Encoding this link: evernote:///view/658078/s3/b3be5f98-e5f0-478b-8540-0de5b7acd3f8/b3be5f98-e5f0-478b-8540-0de5b7acd3f8/

Data Matrix:

post-58732-0-58875600-1354284165_thumb.p

QR Code:

post-58732-0-66412700-1354284181_thumb.p

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It seems like creating a link to a note in Evernote generates a URL which is then publically accessible on the web for anyone to read. Is this correct or incorrect?

Incorrect. Copy the note link, rather than Share > Copy Note URL. Totally different options. One will start with "evernote://" and is private, and the other starts with "http://" and is public.

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Does "evernote:///" do anything on a mobile device? I scan the QR code that I generated using the "evernote:///" style of address. I thought it would open Evernote Android (in my case), but it does not. It doesn't even open a browser and take me to my note via a mobile web brower. What good is it again?

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Does "evernote:///" do anything on a mobile device? I scan the QR code that I generated using the "evernote:///" style of address. I thought it would open Evernote Android (in my case), but it does not. It doesn't even open a browser and take me to my note via a mobile web brower. What good is it again?

Did you share the note & use the sharing URL as the QR code? I'm pretty sure the note would have to be shared.

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Thank you for all the replies. I was able to accomplish what I intended to do.

This is what I ended up doing:

I created a QR Code using the Note Share -> Copy Note URL to Clipboard. This created a shared note accessed to a public user via a webpage. When a user scanned the QR code it spawned a web browser which pulled put the shared Evernote Note.

On that shared note on my PC/Mac Evernote Application, I pasted in the "Copy Note Link" information at the top of the note. This created one of the evernote:/// style links and put it on the shared note webpage.

This QR code is placed onto a "widget" which is being tracked during a new product design phase. So a user can scan the QR code on the widget to view the information / history on the widget in the shared note on a web browser interface. If I use my iPhone to scan the QR code on the widget I view the same webpage where I can read the history of the widget but I can also touch on the "evernote:///" link I pasted into the shared note which then spawns Evernote App on my iPhone and pulls up the associated note. I can then edit / add information about the widget to the note on my phone. Right now I am the only one who updates information in the Evernote Note for each widget.

I hope this sparks some other ideas on how to use QR codes and Evernote links.

-matt

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QR Code is a matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by QR scanners,mobile phones with a camera, and smartphones. It consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data. Last time I used a C# QR Code barcode generator SDK to generate QR Code in C#. It's good. Anyone who interested can take a look at that site. Many other barcode generators can be found there, like Java QR Code barcode generator SDK, .NET QR Code barcode generator SDK, etc.

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Hi, 

My company, Apptreme Studio have just submitted a new app into the Apple App Store that use integrate Evernote and QR code seamless. 

More details will be revealed soon. 

Stay tune!

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Are you an Evernote users on iOS? Introducing our latest app: ENPower - lighting quick access to your Evernote note, notebook, tag,search!

ENPower allows you to be more efficient with your Evernote account on your iOS devices! Create home screen shortcut, in-app shortcut and QR codes shortcut that enables you to access your Evernote notes, notebooks, tags quickly!

ENPower also supports the Paperless Lifestyle through the innovative use of QR Code! Ever lost the user manual of your washing machine when you want to fine tune the settings? Now with Evernote and ENPower, these are the things of the past. Simply just upload your user manual pdf into Evernote, Use ENPower to create and print the QR code to the note. When you want to access it, simply use the in-built QR scanner in ENPower to bring you to your user manual. No more wasting of time trying to find your user manual! Now, they are just under your fingerprints! 

What are you waiting for? ENPower can be downloaded from the link below!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/enpower-lighting-quick-access/id617682206?ls=1&mt=8

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Hello,

thanks for your post. I'm trying to develop a QR Code system that will allow me to use Evernote to setup prepaid discount cards for my customers. My drivers would scan the prepaid cards QR Code and be redirected to the customer data on Evernote. 

 

Can you offer some tips on best ways to set this QR Code prepaid card up using Evernote to track customer data and usage?

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Hi,

 

Has anyone tried using QR Codes in SME businesses? We're on Evernote for Business, and have thought we'd use QR codes to attach to key areas within our retail businesses (eg. Alarm Panel, EFTPOS units) to share our best practice methods stored in our share notebooks & business library. Testing to date shows that only personal (unshared) notes are the only ones that work (using the copy note link, and creating a QR code) when scanning with iphone/ipad. Any thoughts? or experiences? in trying to achieve this.

 

Many thanks,

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