Another QR code trick

Home Inspector with Texas Inspected TREC # 20406

For the sake of full disclosure, I have been a little underwhelmed with the QR code mania going around.

Sure, it's neat to be able to scan a code and have it open a website on my phone, but there's a reason why I don't sit around surfing the Interwebs on my phone. Phone + website = yuck. If the page I'm opening hasn't been reformatted to be viewed on a tiny screen with a 728K connection, what's the point?

Well, I found the point (at least for me). One word: vCard.Scott's vCard

I was sitting around thinking: why can't I scan someones QR code and have it put their contact information into my phone. That would actually be useful.

The vCard format is basically an electronic business card file that integrates with most smart phone contact managers.

After a little google magic, I found a few cards that would encode vCard information into QR codes. Great, we are on our way!

So I made myself a QR code with my number, email and web info.

Now what?

I had a slightly regressive, Neanderthal moment where I was going to print it on a sticker and put the sticker on the back of my phone. Really? After all that techo-geekery I'm going to go low-tech? I don't think so.

I saved the QR code to an image file, and emailed the image file to myself. Then i opened the email on my phone, opened the image, saved it to my phone and created a shortcut to it. (Instructions below)

So next time I'm at a networking thing and someone asks for my info, I can say "Do you have a QR reader?" and with a quick tap of my shortcut, flash my QR code to be scanned.

Then I can hop into my flying car and zoom away, laughing.

Here are step-by-step instructions for what I did. This is for an Android phone, so other smart phone users will need to adjust accordingly.

1. Find a website that will encode vCard info into a QR code image. I used and that's what I'll use for the rest of these instructions.

2. At QRStuff, under "Data Type" select "Contact Details (VCARD)". Then, under "Content", enter what you want to be in your contact info. At the bottom of that column, there is an option to "Link to VCF file" or "Embed VCARD data in QR code". I went with the Embed option.

VCF linkEdit: After input from Yolanda in the comments section, it might be better to use the link option instead of the embed option. It's not quite as elegant, but will ensure greater chances of succes across a wide range of QR readers and phones.

3. When you are done, there will be a preview of your QR code image on the right side of the page. Go ahead and scan it with your phone (you know you're dying to). It should pop up on your phone with the info you entered as well as an option to "Add Contact". So now we know it's working. This is what other people will see when they scan your QR code.

4. Beneath the preview image is an option to "Download this image". This will save the QR code image file as a PNG. Good enough for us.

5. Go to the place where the image was saved on your computer (probably your "Downloads" folder) and attach it in an email to yourself.

6. Open your email program in your phone and open the email. Click the option to save the image. This should tell you that it has been saved (ideally to your SD card) and then will open the image. Go ahead and close the image and the email program.

7. This part will be a little tricky since your phone and mine aren't the same phone. Hopefully my instructions will at least give you enough info to make this work for yourself. What I did was find a blank shortcut space on my phone's "Home page" and gave it a long push. This gave me a bunch of options to add stuff to the home screen, the first of which is "Shortcuts". Click that.

8. Then it wants to know what type of shortcut and I chose Astro (which is the Astro file manager, a free download if you don't already have it). Then the Astro interface comes up and I navigate to the SD card (/mnt/sdcard which should be the default location for Astro) and scroll down until I find the name of the image file that I saved from my email. Then I select the file and I'm prompted for a name for the shortcut. I went with vcard because I lack imagination.

9. Now I have a little icon on my home page that looks like my QR code, and when I click on it, it opens up the full image on my phone that can be scanned by someone else's phone and drop my contact info directly into their contacts.

If you have trouble with the shortcut part of the instructions (step 7 through 9), you can always save the image to your phone's gallery and pull it up the same way that you would show off pictures of your dog's grandkids.

Obviously you could also put this QR code on your business cards, yard signs or blogs.

I'm going to claim to be the first person to turn a QR vcard into a shortcut graphic on their phone to make it easier to share with others. If I'm wrong, please don't tell me. I had a rough day and I need a win.

I'm tired of typing, so this post is will now peter out. Feel free to let me know in the comments below if this worked for you, or if you think this is a solution looking for a problem, or of you are having trouble aligning your dilithium crystals.


Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Beth Franssen 04/04/2013 02:50 AM
Real Estate Technology & Tools
The Art Of Marketing You
Out Of The Box!
All Thing's Texas
QR Codes
qr code vcard contacts android

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Liz Lockhart
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO - Cape Girardeau, MO
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate

Scott~ Someday soon we'll be exchanging QRs instead of business cards. Save a tree!

Feb 19, 2011 03:26 PM #4
Scott Cotton
Texas Inspected - Midlothian, TX
Texas Inspected

Hey Yolanda, when I read it with my Android, it shows the information (name, phone numbers, email, etc) and at the bottom it has buttons that say "Add contact", "Dial number" and "Send email". This is probably a function of the QR reader software, but I'll do some research and see if I can make this format work for both Android and Iphones (and Blackberrys).

Feb 19, 2011 03:39 PM #5
Gerard Gilbers
Higher Authority Markeing - Asheboro, NC
Your Marketing Master

Great information. I recall someone else talking about this but didn't give the detailed instructions.

Feb 19, 2011 03:51 PM #6
Wade Mattingly
WEICHERT Realtors--Bluegrass Living - Lexington, KY

Biz card idea is a good one.

Feb 19, 2011 03:52 PM #7
Scott Cotton
Texas Inspected - Midlothian, TX
Texas Inspected

It seems that some of the QR readers don't support the vCard format. One possible solution is to have your QR code link to a VCF file with your information in it instead of putting your information into the QR code. This can be done by going to step 2 above and selecting the "Link to VCF file for download" option. Then will create a vcf file for you, put it on their server, and give you the URL to the file in the QR code.

Here is the QR code that I generated by changing that option.

Yolanda, if you don't mind, let us know what happens when you scan this image. I get a URL that prompts me to save a .vcf file. When I click on the saved .vcf file, it gives me the option to "Add to contacts". Not quite as elegant, but if it works for more people it might be a better solution.

VCF file

Feb 19, 2011 03:55 PM #8
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Scott . . . join the group QR CODES, then edit this post and click on it to include it that group.  I'm sure the founder, Mike, will love this one!!

Feb 19, 2011 04:24 PM #9
Toronto, ON

Hi Scott - This is very interesting.  I have bookmarked it so I can study it in more detail.

Feb 19, 2011 04:46 PM #10
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker


Very interesting read.  Thanks for taking the time to share.

Feb 19, 2011 11:07 PM #11
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


Yes, as Carla said, you should join and post this to the AR Group, QR Codes.


Mike  =)

Feb 20, 2011 12:21 AM #12
Scott Cotton
Texas Inspected - Midlothian, TX
Texas Inspected

Thanks, Mike and Carla. Done and done. Do I get a special hat for joining the QR codes group? Do I have to take a vow to forsake all other barcode-oriented real estate blog groups? I think I can hear the chanting in the distance. I hope there isn't a paddle involved in the ceremony.

Feb 20, 2011 12:52 AM #13
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


You get a coveted Major Award:

Another newly Featured Post in ActiveRain Group, QR Codes!

Feb 20, 2011 02:17 AM #14
Scott Cotton
Texas Inspected - Midlothian, TX
Texas Inspected

Awesome, a Major Award! Let's see, F-R-A-G-I-L-E. Wow, must be from Italy.

Thanks, Mike.

Feb 20, 2011 02:46 AM #15
Yolanda Hoversten
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties - O'Fallon, IL
Broker - O Fallon, IL Real Estate

Thanks, Scott!  I scanned it again... it says:

"Your iPhone cannot download vCard files from a web page, but you can receive them by email..."

Then it asks me to enter my Email address, click to send vCard.

I think it has more steps involved than just scanning the traditional QR code.  (Not being flippant or anything like that.)

Feb 20, 2011 08:22 AM #16
Barbara Altieri
Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Scott -- Worked like a charm!  This is awesome. Thanks for the tip!

Feb 22, 2011 10:48 AM #17
Event Producent

I use this for long time now and try others to use it too. No more typing contactdetails! Check out my contactpage on for example. Especially the NOTE: function adds personal information to you contactcard.

Feb 26, 2011 08:40 AM #18
Terkel Sørensen
Real Estate Places - Temecula, CA
Realtor, 951.805.0773 , Bank owned and Short Sales

Hey Scott,

I have this on my biz cards too - works well, and let me tell you, it is a great conversation starter with people who have smart phones, they know what it is, but not always sure how to use it. 

Mar 07, 2011 04:57 PM #19
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Scott, couldn't figure out the shortcut, will try later. Here is my code..can you read it?  One question, why does it list the phone numbers twice??


Rebecca Gaujot VCard

Mar 14, 2011 05:52 PM #20
Laura J. Lycans
Sandhills Choice Realty, LLC - Southern Pines, NC
Your Dream + My Passion = Success!!

This is great! I will be working on mine right now.

Mar 19, 2011 11:33 AM #21
Jeff Stevens
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Mexico Properties - Las Cruces, NM
Jeff Stevens, Associate Broker

Awesome tip, Scott. Thank you!

Apr 04, 2013 02:55 AM #22
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Thanks for sharing this. For our business QR codes don't make sense but I hope it works for others.

Jan 31, 2020 04:12 PM #39
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