You know what QR Codes are and what they do. Just like barcodes, they store information but unlike barcodes, they can store up to 7,089 characters.
You’ve seen them being commonly used for marketing, payments, promotions, and even inventory management. And you’re now considering using them for one of your use cases.
And you’re right. QR Codes make print media readily actionable. As a result, end-users simply need to pull put their smartphones to scan the QR Code and see the encoded content. As easy as clicking a picture, right?
But here’s the thing—anyone with a smartphone can scan a QR Code to access the data encoded in it. While it helps end-users easily decode the QR Code easily, it is also a matter of concern if you want to restrict the access to the encoded data.
And that’s probably your concern too. You want to use a QR Code but restrict access to it at the same time. And you’re wondering—is it actually possible to do that?
And the answer is—yes. You can restrict the data in your QR Code to allow only authorized personnel to access it. How? By adding a password to it. We call them—password-protected QR Codes.
A. What are password protected QR Codes
Password protected QR Codes allow you to share your private data with only authorized people. When end-users scan it, they are prompted to enter the required password to be able to access the data. That simple!
Here is how a password protected QR Code works:
1. You head on to a QR Code generator that allows you to password protect your QR Code
2. You create the QR Code and add password protection to it
3. Next, you add the QR Code on required documents or print media creatives
4. You share the password with people you want to access the data
5. They scan the QR Code and get a prompt to enter a password
6. They enter the password and see the encoded content
Note that you can only make dynamic QR Codes password protected. Not sure what it means?
Depending on how the data is stored, QR Codes can be divided into two categories—static and dynamic.
The data is encoded directly into static QR Codes. Hence, they are permanent in nature. That means once created, they cannot be edited. To do that, you will have to create a new QR Code altogether. In addition, you can also not track the scanning activity of static QR Codes.
On the other hand, the target data is not encoded directly into a dynamic QR Code. It stores a short URL (usually provided by QR Code service provider) that redirects to the actual data.
Hence, a dynamic QR Code can be edited anytime you want. Yet it will remain the same. No need to reprint it. In fact, it even helps you monitor its scanning activity. For example—how many people have scanned it, when and where did they scan it, etc.
B. What can you share with password protected QR Codes
There’s a lot you can share with QR Codes. From sharing a website link, text, and venue location to a customized landing page, a secure QR Code allows you to share almost any sort of content. For example:
1. Confidential Documents
Say you want to share confidential documents with the stakeholders. Here you can add a password protected QR Code to your print material to share confidential information with them. Just add password protection while creating the QR Code while creating it and share it with the people you want.
2. Download Links of Paid Content
Suppose you offer downloadable content such as music and games. You want to share it only with the people who pay for your content. Here a password protected QR Code will let only your customers access your services.
To do it, you can create an Audio QR Code, a Text QR Code, or a Website URL QR Code.
c. Special Message
Say it’s your partner’s birthday and you want to send them a special message on a birthday card. You want only your partner to see the message and nobody else. Simply adding a QR Code with a password to the birthday card will help you do this.
Here, you can create an Image QR Code (if the target content os an image). A Website URL QR Code (to show a video or an image gallery). An audio QR Code and much more.
You can actually create more than 25 different types of QR Codes. For example—a Website URL QR Code, a Business Card QR Code, a coupon QR Code, and an App Store QR Code. You can go through the list to decide the best one for your use case.
C. How to create a password-protected QR Code
The first thing you need to create a QR Code is—a QR Code generator. Ad here you will need a QR Code generator that offers password protection. How do you find one?
If you do a quick Google search, you will probably get a list of such search results. And to decide the best one for your use case, you will have to compare all of them one-by-one.
But this will take a lot of time and effort. Don’t worry, you don’t really have to do that. We have compiled a detailed comparison chart of the topmost QR Code generators. You can go through it to decide the best one for your use case.
Once you finalize a QR Code generator, the next step is to create your password protected QR Code.
1. How to add password protection to QR Code
Using Scanova for a demo, here’s how you can do it:
i. Go to Scanova and sign-up for a 14-day free trial
ii. From QR Code categories, select an appropriate content category. For a demo, let’s choose a Website URL QR Code (you can choose any category depending on what content you wish to encode in the QR Code)
iii. On the page that loads, enter the link to be encoded in the QR Code and click Create QR Code
iv. A pop-up will appear prompting you to name the QR Code. In the same pop-up, you will also see two options—Static and Dynamic. Select the Dynamic option. It will make your QR Code dynamic in nature
Next, you will see the option Add Password Protection in the same window. Select it and enter a password
v. Once you specify the details (name, QR Code type, and password), click Save
vi. On the page that loads, you will see three QR Code design options. Standard black-and-white, custom with logo, and custom with background
You can proceed with either of the design options. While black-and-white QR Codes work fine for functional use cases, they are dull and boring to look at. Hence, marketers who use QR Codes for promotional use cases, often add design to them using their brand colors and logo.
vii. Once your QR Code is ready, say after you design it, click Update and proceed to Download it
viii. Again, ai pop-up will appear prompting you to specify QR Code image size and format. Once you specify the details, click Export
Note that selecting the appropriate size is important to ensure the smooth scannability of your QR Code. So make sure your QR Code is of the right size before you go ahead to print it. You’d not want to be stuck with a QR Code that doesn’t work, right?
D. How to edit the QR Code
Once your password protected QR Code has been created, you can share the password with the authorized personnel. And ask them to use it to access the encoded data.
Also, you can keep a track on its scanning activity.
But say you notice some suspicious scanning on the QR Code and doubt that the password has been leaked. What would you then do? Create a new QR Code?
Well, you don’t really need to do that. You can simply update the password of the existing QR Code. And your QR Code design will remain the same. No need to reprint it.
In fact, you can even edit the content (such as website link, pdf, or text) encoded in your QR Code.
i. Go to Scanova and login to your account
ii. From Saved QR Codes, select the QR Code you wish to make changes to
iii. Edit the password or content
iv. Once you have made all the changes, click Update QR Code
That’s it. Your QR Code will be updated.
You now know everything about password protected QR Codes—what are they, how do they work, how to create them, and how to edit them.
A password protected QR Code, just like any other QR Code, provides easy smartphone access to the encoded data. And even helps you limit the access to it in a few simple steps.
The next step:
Create your first Password-Protected QR Code
Still have any queries that we can resolve? Ask them in the comments.