Latest smartphones based on Android, Windows Mobile and iOS come equipped with apps that can scan QR codes through the camera built inside the mobile phones. But what about the desktop PC users? If you do not have an expensive smartphone, even then you can scan the bar codes and QR codes that come in newspapers, magazines and flyers these days. The free bcWebCam software allows you to read any type of bar code (e.g., EAN 13, EAN 8) and QR codes easily through the web cam attached to your PC. This freeware application imitates the regular laser bar code scanners, sends the read bar code to any active application and makes a beep sound when the code is read.
You can download bcWebCam from their website where the download is available in form of a setup installer. After the installation, it automatically launches and asks you to select one of the webcams. Most of the users have only one webcam on their PC, so just click OK to continue. When the bcWebCam shows up, you can click on the Start button so it starts to scan your webcam captures for any possible bar codes.
Hold any object like a magazine or toothpaste box with bar code or QR code printed on it close to your webcam. The webcam should be able to show the bar code clearly. Hold it there, until you hear a beep and your bar code is read into the field. Easy! If an application (like a text editor) is in focus, then the code is sent to this application automatically.
If you click on the bar code settings button, you can choose which type of bar codes to read. You can choose to read EAN bar codes as well as the QR codes. If you are not successful in reading the bar codes, then you can tweak settings like skew angle, dense search rotation angles etc.
In the bcWebCam options, you can choose to automatically start it with Windows, send bar code to open application, copy it to the clipboard, open the embedded URL (in case of QR codes), invert the webcam image and more.
bcWebCam works better if you have a webcam of good resolution (above 5 megapixels). It can turn your PC webcam into a full fledged bar code scanner. You can scan only a limited type of bar codes and QR codes using the free version of bcWebCam. If you want to scan all different types of bar codes, then you can purchase the Pro version which costs around 50 euros.
You can download the free bcWebCam from http://www.bcwebcam.de/en/.