Yes, you can read QR Codes on Windows

From ads to packaging, websites to business cards, QR Codes are everywhere, these days. The characteristic blocks of square dots are used to encode links, phone numbers, addresses and more, and may then be easily read by scanning with a mobile phone (and a suitable app, of course).

Figuring out QR Codes on a PC can be a little more challenging, unfortunately, but there are a few options available. And the latest is the CodeTwo QR Code Desktop Reader.

If you’ve spotted a QR Code on a website, say (or within any other application), then all you have to do is choose the “From screen” option, and “draw” around the code block (click the left mouse button in its top left, then bottom right corner). And the code’s contents will instantly appear in the “Decoded text” box.

Do you have to be precise in how you select the code? We tested this, and it seems not. We were able to grab a sizeable amount of bordering graphics, text and more, and it didn’t matter at all. Desktop Reader appears to work like a virtual barcode reader, so it’s smart enough to ignore any surrounding junk and work only on the code itself.

The program can also open a QR Code stored in a file. All the main formats are supported -- GIF, PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP -- and again the contents will be displayed right away.

And as QR Codes can actually contain a sizeable amount of information (the top limit is more than 4KB of text) it’s good to see that QR Code Desktop Reader also has options to save code text to the clipboard, or as a text file.

If there’s a small irritation here, it’s that the program has to be installed. Which is mildly annoying, as it only appears to be a single executable: couldn’t it have been made portable?

On the plus side, though, CodeTwo QR Code Desktop Reader is simple, effective and entirely free (no adware hassles here), so the program scores where it matters. And if you ever need to access QR Codes from Windows then it’s an excellent solution.

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