Thursday, January 14, 2016

Chrome Extension: Link Shortener & QR Code Creator

By now, I'm sure we've all heard of link shortening services like Bitly, TinyURL, and Google's Link Shortener. We've also all heard about QR codes {check out my blog articles about QR codes by clicking here}. ...But what you may not know is that there's a free Chrome extension that will help you shorten a URL and create a QR code for it all with one click! It's called URL Shortener.

Install the Extension
1. Make sure you have a Google account. {If you have a Gmail, YouTube, or Blogger account, you have a Google account. It's possible to connect an existing e-mail -- like your school e-mail -- to a Google account; ask me about that if you're interested in learning more! I definitely recommend separating personal from professional, so if you only have a personal Google account, I'd make another one specifically for school.}

2. Launch Google Chrome {download it here if you don't already have it}.

3. Sign in to your Google account on Chrome. {Click the small silhouette of a person in the top, right corner to sign in for the first time.}

4. Click here to view the URL Shortener extension page. To install it, click the blue "add to Chrome" button in the top, right corner of the pop-up box.

To Use
1. Go to the web page of your choice. For the purposes of this demonstration, I'll use the contact page of this blog. :)

2. Click the URL Shortener icon. It's typically in the top, right of your Chrome browser, and it looks like this:

3. A pop-up box will appear that says "shortening." Then you'll see a pop-up right under the shortener icon that looks something like this: 

4. If you'd like to copy the link, just click the word "copy." Similarly, if you'd like the QR code, click "QR code." The code will appear like this:

Right-click on the code and click "save image as..." to save it somewhere on your computer. The code saves as an image file, so you can insert it into almost any other file or poster you want. {You probably won't use this feature, but the "details" button gives you analytics about the link.}

From there, you can insert the QR code into a flipchart or PowerPoint or just display the link on the board for students to enter on their devices. {Click here to read about 8 ways to share links with students.}

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