How to open a QR code on your computer

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Maybe you already know How to scan a QR code with your phone. It’s very simple: just open the camera app, point your phone at the code and tap the link. What if you were on your computer? You can point your phone at the computer screen, but the inter-device dance isn’t necessary. You can unlock that code from your laptop or desktop.

Scan the QR code in Google Chrome

Google Chrome users have it the easiest, because the browser has a special built-in feature to deal with this situation. Right click on the image containing the QR code and click Search with Google Image.

Google Chrome allows you to seamlessly reverse an image search by right-clicking on a QR code. Credit: Justin Pott

This opens a Google Lens The panel on the right side of your browser window. You will see your image at the top. Below you will see the words QR Code: Text, with the text in the QR code. If the text is a link, you’ll see a button to open the link.

Google Lens panel
“Search Google Image” will open the Google Lens panel. Credit: Google/Justin Pott

Non-Chrome users can still access this feature, it just requires an extra step. Simply go to Google.com in your browser of choice and click Search by image icon, located on the right side of the search bar.

Google search reverse image search icon
Google Search allows you to search the image by clicking the icon on the right. Credit: Google/Justin Pott

If you want, you can upload an image with a QR code or provide a URL for the image. Either way, Google Lens will open and let you know what’s inside the QR code.

Scan the QR code with your webcam

Sometimes you have a QR code on paper but your phone isn’t handy. Your laptop has a camera, and you can use it instead.

In Windows 10 and 11, you can use the camera app included with your operating system. You can find this app by opening the Start menu and searching for “Camera”. Scanning is easy: hold your QR code in front of your webcam and click the QR code button.

Apple’s Macros doesn’t have a built-in camera app that can scan QR codes. Good news: the free app QR JournalDownloadable in the Mac App Store, you can use your webcam to scan QR codes.





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