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death of the business card

This is a practical project to add a really useful new feature to your Lumia smartphone.

We were thinking about how easy it is to read QR codes using a Nokia Lumia and the different uses you could put them to.

How about if you were to be able to replace your business cards with your phone’s lock screen?

This is intended for people who like to get hands-on with their devices and gain satisfaction out of doing something themselves.

Yes, there are apps that can do it for you, but where’s the fun in that?

Step one: you’ll need a vCard


Cramming all your business card information into a QR Code is too dense for some phones to swallow, so we’re taking a two-step approach for wider compatibility.


A vCard is a tiny text file containing contact details, with the extension .vcf, that can be imported into pretty much any address book app that exists. 


Getting one is very easy for most people. If you have an entry in Outlook Contacts or OSX Contacts, then you can right click to export it in vCard format.

contacts osx

If you need to use a public computer or want to make a new or different vCard, you could try out this online generator

Step two: put it online

You need to put your vCard file somewhere on the Web. Maybe you already have some web space you prefer to use. If you have a Lumia, you can use the public folder in SkyDrive, for example.

Go to and log-in with your Windows Live account details (the same ones used to set up your phone). Find your way to the public folder and drag and drop your vCard into the folder.

skydrive share

To get its web address, right click on the uploaded file, choose Share and then ‘get a link’.

A similar system exists in Dropbox and other online storage and sharing services, so use whichever you please. It just needs to be a publicly addressable place – rather than behind passwords or login screens.


Step three: create a QR code

Armed with the URL of your vCard, go to a QR code generator. There are lots of these on the Web – we used 


Put the address into the box, press the ‘Generate (free)’ button and hey-presto you’ve got a QR Code. Save it onto your computer.


Step four: a custom wallpaper

You can make a custom wallpaper for your Nokia Lumia using any image editor from MS Paint up to Adobe Photoshop. If you’re really desperate or only have access to a public computer, then is an online editor that does a great job.


A Nokia Lumia wallpaper needs to be 800 x 480 pixels. Go ahead and make it as fancy or as plain as you want. Remember that the date and time sits in the bottom third of the screen and indicators at the very top, so leave those areas fairly clear.


If you’re unartistic or lazy, then you might choose one of these as a starting point. Paste in your QR code and place it somewhere suitable.


You’ll want to end up with something like this:

practise wallpaper

Don’t make the QR code too small, but it doesn’t need to be massive, either. Save it as a high-quality JPEG file.

Bonus tip: add some “lost-and-found” information while you’re at it. 

Extra bonus tip: you might also want to add the QR Code image to your email signature while you have it ready. 

Step five: get it on your phone and set it as wallpaper

If you really want, you can attach a cable and synchronise the wallpaper file over to your phone. Or put it on SkyDrive again. It was simplest for me to just email it to myself. 

When the email arrives, click on the file to download and view the full version, then the context menu in the bottom right lets you ‘use as wallpaper’.

Job done! Treat yourself to a nice cup of tea.

How else are you using QR Codes on your phone?