Posted on

Writing custom nfc

How to Write a URL to an NFC Tag and Use it in the Office

Take a look at our NFC Tutorial below that walks you through downloading an NFC tag writing app, writing to a tag, and then using it on a marketing flyer. For more information about NFC tags or this tutorial – contact us!

Welcome to our NFC tutorial – today I’m going to show you how to write a URL to an NFC tag, and use it on an internal marketing flyer. My flyer is going to be used to introduce and teach my team about our newest products that were featured in our most recent blog post. let’s jump right in.

Today you will need:

  • A smart device connected to an app store
  • An NFC tag that is NDEF formatted (we are using the Smartrac Midas+ NFC wet inlay)
  • And a flyer – if you want to follow along

Downloading the App

The first step is to download an NFC writing application. As you probably know, NFC tags can be read natively on android, windows, and apple phones over the iPhone 7 with iOS 11. However, there is not a native NFC tag writer.

Let’s download one I’ve used before, the app is called “NFC for iPhone”

Click download, and then click open.

When you first open this app – there is a pop up that appears that basically asks you to accept ads so that the app can remain free to users. I click continue.

The formal ad acceptance policy then pops up, and I click allow.

Writing to A Tag

Now, the bottom menu has a few different options. Today we simply want to write to an NFC tag, so tap “NFC Writer”

Tap the Plus icon in the top right corner to add your URL.

A new menu appears asking what we would like to write to our tag – for this video, we will be writing a URL – so click “weblink”.

Now that the weblink form opens, you can see that it prefills the “https://”.

If you are copying and pasting a link into this form, as I will be, remember to go in and clear out the field so that that https prefix doesn’t repeat.

I can simply hold down on the field now and paste in the link I copied in from our blog website. This is a link to our newest blog article about new, featured products that I want my coworkers to check out.

And now click “Write”

Grab your tag and place it against the back of your phone. Try to place it around the top, center and move it slightly up and down to activate the reader.

Once the phone vibrates, the ‘Successful Read’ pop-up appears and we have written our tag.

Now let’s double check that it works – exit out of the app and place your NFC tag back in the same position as before.

A message should pull down from the top asking if you want to open your browser. Tap the message to launch your browser.

And…here is our Product Post – this looks great!

Now let’s add our tag to a flyer to get people’s attention.

Adding the Tag to Our Flyer

Here’s my flyer – I’ll go ahead and print it.

While I’m printing this – I want to explain that in this application, we are using our NFC tag as a connected digital element – which can be done to almost any item. Instead of asking someone to open their phones, pull up a browser, and type in a long url – NFC eliminates the hassle and allow users to simply tap and visit. The possibilities are endless for connecting real life items to the digital world.

Back to our flyer – Let’s simply peel and stick our NFC tag onto our flyer.

Keep in mind that NFC tags can say or show anything. Today I’m just using a basic wet inlay that I grabbed from downstairs, but this could show your company’s logo or give directions like “Tap for More” or “Tap to Connect”.

Now I’m going to just triple check our tag before putting it up. Still works!

The best place for our team to see this flyer is in the kitchen, near the coffee machine.

Ill just use this clip and secure it to the fridge.

And that’s it – here’s our marketing flyer ready to get people learning about our new products in the office!

Thanks for watching our NFC Tutorial Video. Subscribe to our Channel to see more videos like this one!

Conclusion

Thanks for reading and watching our NFC Tutorial Video – checkout the links below for more on Near-Field Communication (NFC).

How to write NFC Tags

Here is a comprehensive list of the available softwares and apps to encode NFC Tags autonomously. There are applications for PCs, tablets and smartphones.

We always recommend checking the compatibility between device, software and NFC chip. Software is often available for free, so you can download and test it freely.

Encoding NFC Tags with a desktop device
(Windows / Mac OS / Linux)

Computers are not equipped with an NFC sensor. Consequently, if you want to encode NFC Tags with a PC or a Mac, first you need to get an NFC encoder. On each product’s page, you can find information about that reader’s drivers and software.

In general, we recommend the following softwares, which can be downloaded for free, and are compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.

  • TagXplorer
    Developed in collaboration with NXP (the world leading company NFC chips manucaturer), TagXplorer allows you to perform even uncommon types of encoding, such as password-protection, scan counter, tag tamper feature, or the encoding of single blocks of the chip.
    NFC Readers/Writers: compatible with uTrust 3700 and uTrust 4701.
    NFC Chips: compatible with NTAG2xx and NTAG4xx.
  • NFC Tools
    This is the Desktop version of one of the most downloaded NFC Android applications. It’s easy to use and it’s compatible with many NFC writers.
    NFC Readers/Writers: compatible with ACR122U, ACR1252U, ACR122T, uTrust 3700 F and uTrust 4701.
    NFC Chips: compatible with NTAG, ICODE, MIFARE Ultralight and others. Please check the list of all tested NFC chips.

If you don’t want to write NFC Tags, we offer the Encoding service: we write the NFC Tags the way you want.

Encoding NFC Tags with a mobile device

Choose your mobile OS:

Android – iOS (iPhone, iPad) – Windows Phone

RIM (BlackBerry) – Symbian / Nokia OS

NFC Android Apps

To encode NFC Tags with an Android device, we recommend the following free apps:

If you are looking for an app to make your device do some task (i.e. enable/disable Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, or launch some apps), we recommend:

  • NFC Task, very useful to create Task that your smartphone has to do when scans a specific NFC Tag
  • Trigger (formerly known as NFC Task Launcher) is perfect for private use of NFC Tags.

If you need to encode a large quantity of NFC Tags, importing data from a CSV (Excel spreadsheet), you may be interested in:

    , available on Google Play for € 1.19

NFC iOS Apps (iPhone and iPad)

To encode NFC Tags with an Apple device, you need an iPhone 7 or later, updated to iOS 13. About reading NFC tags with an iPhone, you can find the following applications in the App Store.

  • NFC Tools
    Free – Easy to use, many commands available
  • NFC TagWriter by NXP
    Free – The official app by NXP; supports also NTAG213 TT and NTAG4xx DNA
    $ 1.99 – A professional app which allows special features and supports ICODE SLIX too

If you use an iPhone XS or later, you don’t need any specific app to read NFC Tags (such as with an Android device). Instead, if you use an iPhone 7, 8, or X, you need to install and open an application to read NFC Tags. We recommend the following:

  • NFC TagInfo by NXP, free, compatible with iOS 11+, is the official app of the IC manufacturer (NXP Semiconductors).

If you use an iPhone not updated to iOS 13, or an iPad, you need an external NFC reader/writer. We recommend Bluetooth NFC Readers/Writers such as ACS ACR1255U-J1 and Durascan D600. In the respective pages, you can find information on their softwares.

Please note that the iPhone is compatible with all NTAG®, MIFARE® (Ultralight, Desfire, Plus) and ICODE® chips. The iPhone also can’t detect empty tags, but just those containing an NDEF message. For more information, please visit NFC and iPhone.

NFC Windows Phone Apps

On Microsoft Store, you can find the following Apps, all compatible with Windows Phone 8 / 8.1, and Windows 10 Mobile:

  • NFC Commander, free, allows you to read and write NFC Tags, and to auotomate some actions on your Phone.
  • NFC Launchit, free, allows you to launch apps installed on your Smartphone
  • NFC Tag Creator, allows you to read and write NFC Tags, and to launch apps installed on your Smartphone, non-free (€ 0.99)
  • NFC TagWriter Pro, allows you to read and write NFC Tags, non-free (€ 2.49)
  • NFC Interactor, non-free (€ 1.99)

NFC BlackBerry Apps

For BlackBerry, we recommend the app below, which is compatible with BlackBerry Z10, Z30, Porsche Design P9982, Passport and Passport Silver Edition. It’s completely free.

NFC Apps for Nokia and Symbian OS

For those Nokia phones which don’t run Windows, unfortunately there is not much choice. It seems the only available app is the aforementioned NFC Interactor, which is not free. According to Steve Litchfield, it would be compatible with different models Symbian, including C7 and N9.

NFC Samsung Apps

In the Samsung App Store, there is an Application that is simply called “Tags” which is preinstalled in some models.

How To Program NFC Tags Using Android

NFC stands for Near Field Communication and it allows two devices held closely to communicate with each other. An NFC tag is a paper-like tag that can be programmed to do your tasks using the NFC technology.

If you haven’t heard of this technology before, the above might sound a bit too technical to you, but it’s not. Once you’ve learned the basics of programming an NFC tag, you’ll find that you can use it to automate a number of your tasks that you may be doing manually every day.

Getting an NFC tag and programming it doesn’t require any special skills. As long as you know how to use an app on your Android device, you can program an NFC tag to do your specified tasks. Also, these NFC tags are inexpensive and available on all the major websites including Amazon. You can get a few of these for you so they can perform various tasks for you.

Requirements For Programming An NFC Tag

In order to program NFC tags, there are certain things, or requirements that you must meet. These are basic ones and as long as you use modern gadgets, you should be just fine.

  • An NFC tag which can be bought very cheaply on Amazon.
  • An Android device with NFC compatibility. Check your phone’s specifications to confirm.
  • An app to program your tags. There’s a free app on the Play Store so you don’t need to worry about it.

Once you’ve confirmed you meet the minimum requirements, head onto the following section to start writing data to your NFC tag.

Writing Data To An NFC Tag Using Your Android Device

Programming an NFC tag basically means writing the actions you want to perform to your tag. This is done using a free app from the Play Store that you can download and use on your device.

    The first thing you’ll need to do is enable the NFC option on your device. To do it, open the Settings app, tap on Bluetooth & device connection, select Connection preferences, and finally turn the toggle for NFC to the ON position.

  • When NFC is enabled, launch the Google Play Store on your device, search for the app named Trigger, and install the app on your device.
  • Launch the newly installed app. When it opens, you’ll need to first create a new trigger. This can be done by tapping on the + (plus) sign at the bottom-right corner.
  • On the following screen, you’ll find the options you can create triggers for. The option you need to tap on is called NFC as this is what allows you to perform an action when an NFC tag is tapped.
  • After tapping NFC, tap on Next on the following screen to continue to program your tag.
  • The screen that follows lets you add restrictions to your tag. Here you can define the conditions when your tag is allowed to run. Tap on Done when you’ve specified the options.
  • Your NFC trigger is now ready. You now need to add an action to it so that your tag performs your chosen action when it’s tapped. Tap on Next to do it.
  • You’ll find various actions you can add to your tag for it to perform. As an example, we’ll be using the Bluetooth toggle option so that Bluetooth is turned on/off when the tag is tapped. Hit Next when you’re done.
  • You can customize the action even further on the following screen. Since we want to toggle Bluetooth, we’ll choose Toggle from the dropdown menu and tap on Add to Task.
  • You can now see all the actions you’ve added to the list. If you want, you can more actions by tapping the + (plus) sign at the top. This’ll make your tag do more than one task at a time. Then tap on Next to continue.
  • Tap on Done on the following screen.
  • Here comes the main part where you actually write the data to your tag. Place your NFC tag near the NFC location (usually near the rear camera) and the app will automatically write your actions to your tag.
  • You’ll get a success message when the tag is successfully programmed.

From now on, whenever you tap your phone to your NFC tag, it’ll perform the predefined actions on your device. In our case above, it’ll toggle the Bluetooth functionality on our phone.

You can even stick these tags somewhere convenient and then all you need to do is tap your phone at them to run your tasks.

How To Erase An NFC Tag On Android

If you want to use your tag for any other task, you can do so by erasing the existing data on it. You can program NFC tags as many times as you want and it’s pretty easy to get them formatted if you wish to do it.

  • Enable the NFC option on your device and launch the Trigger app.
  • Tap on the three horizontal-lines at the top-left corner and select Other NFC Actions.
  • On the following screen, you’ll find an option that says Erase tag. Tap on it to select it.
  • Place your NFC tag on your phone like you did when you were programming it.

You’ll get a notification when your tag is erased. It’s instant in most cases.

Uses Of a Programmable NFC Tag

If this is your first time using NFC tags, we know you’ll appreciate some suggestions as to what to use them for

  • Create a WiFi NFC tag that lets your guests automatically connect to your WiFi.
  • Create an NFC tag for an alarm so you don’t need to mess with the alarm app.
  • Make a tag for your conference room that puts people’s devices in silent mode.
  • Program a tag to call someone specific in your contacts

Mahesh has been obsessed with technology since he got his first gadget a decade or so ago. Over the last few years, he’s written a number of tech articles on various online publications including but not limited to MakeTechEasier and Android AppStorm. Read Mahesh’s Full Bio

Did you enjoy this tip? If so, check out our very own YouTube channel where we cover Windows, Mac, software, and apps, and have a bunch of troubleshooting tips and how-to videos. Click the button below to subscribe!