Desktop QR Code Reader

What are QR Codes?:
A QR code is a lot like a barcode you see on most products. QR codes are a great way to share information like websites and contact info. They can be scanned using your camera equipped device and a proper QR code processing app (For Android, I use the Barcode Scanner App, and on iPhone I use QR Reader for iPhone.) Once the code is scanned and processed, it takes you directly to the URL on your device, or shows you whatever else was encoded in the QR code. I love the ease ability of QR codes, just a quick scan, and the content is on your device. For Example, there is a great plug-in for Google Chrome called QR-Code Tag (For Firefox there’s Mobile Barcode) which lets you generate a QR code for the site you are currently viewing. This is super handy if your reading an article, and need to take it on the go. So, what about reading a QR code from your phone to your desktop computer? Well, surprisingly that wasn’t as easy. I spent some time digging around the internet, and could not find a good cross-platform application for reading QR codes onto your desktop computer. The only thing I found that was somewhat close, was an AS3 library. At that time, the only thing using the library was embedded on a web page… which isn’t the most ideal solution if your wanting to just scan something quickly. So, I took the initiative to implement the library into an Adobe AIR app that can be run on basically any system. I call it QRreader. Download it HERE

Note: I have moved all the info and download links for QRreader to

353 Replies to “Desktop QR Code Reader”

  1. Very nice app.

    I’m looking for a way to read a QR code from the desktop screen itself rather than the webcam. While it could demand screenshots and cut and paste, I think a transparent application that one positions “over” the browser or other application would be a better design.

    Are you interested in this sort of project?


  2. Hi,
    it could be that I´m a little bit stupid, but how could I scan my QR-Code?
    Is there a secret key or button wich I couldn´t find?


  3. Dan, your QR reader is an excellent piece of work. I installed it on both Macbook and Windows 7 laptop and they both work. Now I just need to tweak URL opening code to replace _blank with something else. I don’t want to open a new browser tab for every URL I scan. Time to learn how to compile AIR applications.


  4. hmm i’ve tried several codes i found around , but none got detected , should i hold them in a special way ? as close as possible to the screen ?

  5. Tested few minutes ago with a 10 years old and out of focus Creative web cam with a QR code displayed directly on laptop screen (XP Pro). It runs really well, apart from some problems (mine!) of cam stability.
    Nice job!

  6. If Adobe AIR is required to run QRreader than it is not a valid reader. Why don’t you use the generic QR Code initially developed, patented and owned by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave.

  7. Hi Dansl,
    I’ve installed the old version and it’s not working on my PC (windows), the adobe air is already installed. But I can’t find the installer to install the newest version, 1.3.
    Would you mind helping me?
    I’m in an interesting project that would need this QRcode reader but really don’t know the code to program it :/
    Thanks a lot!!!

  8. @caesarbear: Seems to be a common request. I will look into reading a QR code from your desktop or file. With my crazy schedule it’s hard to determine how long it will take me to implement a feature like that. But I do agree, it would be a really nice feature to have.

    I guess for now, you could take a picture of the QR code with your phone or digital camera, then hold it up to your webcam. πŸ˜›

  9. I think this would be far more useful if it didn’t require using a webcam. Most of the time I want to translate a QR it’s already on my computer screen in a jpg or webpage.

  10. Just giving my note of thanks for bothering to slap this together in an simple application! It’s a shame there’s not a non-Flash way to do it, but a Flash solution is much better than no solution for a desktop client.

    Thanks again!

  11. I was able to finde an online scanner to scan a bar code or qr code from your computer you can use its free simply upload your picture weather its jpg giff tiff bmp and send the file hopefully his helps : )

  12. I’ve been looking for this. I don’t have a smart phone, but I wanted to test some qr codes that I generated. Perfect. Thank you!

  13. @Dansl I might be willing to help you even as a non coder I have some ideas on to how screen caping would work i also like pokeing thing till the break/work

  14. Very intuitive. It will take a little bit of time but the codes are creeping in. Our Print Communications company is taking it to our clients, educating them and they get it! Nice job. One question, is it just prohibitive to program a QR reader that reads your screen? Like a screen capture then interpets it on my desktop laptop? Have you seen Microsofts color version called Tags? Thanks great job


  15. Wow, talking about shooting your developers in the foot… or head… that seems pretty lame of Adobe to not to figure that out. The sandbox should be able to enforce restrictions even if the app is unsigned.

    Thanks Dansl!

  16. @kateweb
    That would be a cool feature! Not sure if I’m up to take on the challenge… but I will keep it in mind as a possibility. Thanks!

    I guarantee you my app is 100% safe. I could get my application signed, but from what I found, that costs money… which I don’t have… Sorry… But, if you want, you could take the source code and build out your own version. πŸ™‚

    Here’s some info on application signing:

    @Stace Hamilton
    If I get around to it, I will add this in the next release. Thanks for your input πŸ™‚

    Thank you all πŸ™‚

  17. Hi, this is such a great app. Just wondering if there will be any ability to set it as always on top of other windows. I have mine kicking a website open and it would be nice to have the Qreader stay on top. Thx

  18. This is great. I’d love to use this as part of an inventory system I’m building for my wife’s canning hobby. When I launched the AIR app the installer claimed that QReader was requesting unrestricted system access. It’s not that I don’t trust you, but I don’t actually know you at all… so it’d be *great* if you could request finer-grained permissions. I’m new to AIR, is that possible? Or is the AIR permissions system flawed in some way?

    Thanks for putting this together, I can’t believe how few options there are for desktop QR code readers.

  19. very cool I have been waiting for something like this, now I just would like to see a way to drop in a image file with out needing the webcam or some other way to grab a qr code already on your computer.
    also the scanning is a bit finiky if you do not have tons of light, but I love that it actually works.

  20. An update should be here in the next week or so with some bug fixes, and I will be releasing all the source. Sorry for the delay, it’s been a busy couple months… πŸ™‚

  21. Hello! I’m trying to use the application and it won‘t work πŸ™
    it installs properly, it opens the web cam but i’ve tried with
    different codes and it wont work! any suggestions?

  22. Hi Dan,

    Great quick and simple QR app! Love that it’s in Air, so it’s platform independent.

    I’m currently thinking about an application that can print the vcard information that can be in a qrcode. My AS skills are not that well but I would like to try it.
    Do you already know when you’re gonna release the code/open source version? Or can/do you want to supply me with a version so I can play with it a little?

    Hope to hear from you, thanks in advance!


  23. Hi,
    Like Tribaut Im trying to use your application, I received the red corners and the beep sound but nothing happens, could you help me?

    (sorry for my bad english)

  24. Dan would you be willing to shed a little light on how you turned this into an AIR application?


  25. Dan- this is a sweet little app. I am new to AIR and would love to see how you put this together. Do you have any intention on posting the source code?

  26. Glad you figured it out. It does take a bit to get it to read… Might also help if your computer’s screen brightness is turned down, and your device’s screen is turned up. πŸ™‚

  27. OK, after a little bit more trial I got it…
    It’s all about lighting and stability !


  28. Hello,

    I’m also using a Mac and was so happy to find such an application.
    So I downloaded it (as well as Air) and gave it a try… Unfortunately I don’t seem to be able to make it work correctly.

    I managed to have the red blinking corners a few times (not always) but then nothing happens πŸ™
    I checked and the preferences are set for the application to beep and automatically open URLs… But this never happens. I doesn’t even ever get the textual content of the scanned QR Codes.

    I’m on OSX 10.6.3 with QReader 1.2, Adobe AIR is 1.5.3.
    Am I missing something ?

    Thanks a lot !

  29. Great article! It’s surprising how sparsely used they are. I hope it catches on and we start seeing it used more.

    Thanks for your support! πŸ™‚

  30. Here is a post I developed as part of a series titled The Internet of Things. It is surprising that QR codes have taken this long to reach America and be adopted by the advertising crowd. Apparently, they donÒ€ℒt know a good thing when they see it.

    Again, great job on the software.

  31. Thanks Dan, I downloaded and runs great. There are not a lot of options for desktop based QR Code reader, especially for the MAC. Anyway, great job this works as advertised. I am reading directly off the screen which is a little tricky.
    I don’t understand how these codes are not located on every single product made and in every advertisement, do you have any insight?
    Again, thanks.

  32. This is what I need. Really need the connect to link in browser though. When installing in Vista, got “cannot install application” error?

  33. Hi, I’d really like to have QReader automatically open the link contained in the QR code, is it possible to add this option?

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