Encoding NFC tags/products

To download our Encoding Template please click HERE

• Already an encoding expert? Scroll down the page to find out more about the encoding options and services on offer at NFC Direct.
ithin the Template there are 6 different example pages.

• If you’re unsure what you need and are looking for an NFC encoding primer, read on…

What is encoding?

NFC contactless technology is – at its most basic – simply another way of storing and transferring information. Just like you can save data to a hard drive, USB stick or memory card, you can also save data to an NFC tag/product. This could be a web address, a name, a reference number, electronic business card details (called a vCard), a command to launch an app… in fact, anything you like.

The only limitations are the capacity of the tag/product and the compatibility you require with other devices. All NFC mobile phones, for example, can understand a web address or text, and most will be happy with a phone number, but more complex data may require a custom app to be installed. There are common, free apps to deal with vCards, for instance. If you are deploying your own app, the options increase even further. You could design an app to recognise the format of your own product ID codes, for example.

Often, such as with a web address or product ID number, the information saved to the tag/product will simply be a reference or ‘pointer’ to enable a contactless reader to retrieve and update more detailed information from a central database.

We call it encoding – not just writing data – because NFC tags/products follow a specific set of guidelines defined by the NFC Forum, a global body which oversees contactless technology. In this way, you can be confident that your NFC tags/products will be compatible with all the various different makes and models of contactless devices, as they will all understand the same encoding ‘language’.

Can I do my own encoding?

Yes, you can encode a tag/product with an NFC enabled mobile phone or any one of numerous other contactless devices. It’s simple and quick, using a free app such as TagWriter. However, if you have more than a handful of tags/products to encode, this approach could quickly prove to be excessively tedious and time-consuming!

A much better option is to take advantage of the bulk encoding services of NFC Direct. We offer a fast and reliable tag/product encoding service, we can process hundreds of thousands per day – and we guarantee adherence to the NFC Forum standards. We also offer variable encoding, whereby you can have different data on each of your tags/products – for example, to refer to different products or locations.

Can tags be rewritten?

Yes – but you can easily prevent this with locking. You can overwrite an unlocked tag/product encoding as many times as you like, but if you want to ensure that no one can tamper with the data, you can also lock your tags/products.

Both rewriting and locking (also called protecting) can be performed using the same contactless devices and apps. However, take care with locking – it’s very secure and it’s strictly a one-way process. You can never rewrite a locked tag/product!

The essential thing to remember is that unlocked tags/products can be overwritten by anybody; locked tags/products can be overwritten by nobody.

Encoding with NFC Direct

At NFC Direct, we can take on board the work of encoding your tags/products whatever your requirements are. Once you’ve chosen the tags/products you wish to buy, you will have the option of selecting either ‘encoding’ or ‘variable encoding’ on the product page. Variable encoding means that each tag/product can have its own unique data element – whether that’s text, a URL, a product code or any other kind of encodable information.

There are two options for submitting the encoding data to us – either by typing or pasting it into the ‘encoding data’ box on the product page, or by completing and uploading our simple data template spreadsheet. You will also need to specify whether your tags/products should be locked or unlocked.

The cost for encoding will be automatically added to your basket total. As soon as your order has been completed and we’ve received your data, we will put our high-quality and high-capacity encoding machines to work to produce your encoded tags.

Completing the template couldn’t be easier:

To download our Encoding Template please click HERE

• Organise your data into one or more batches. Batches can be different NFC Products that you have purchased. For example: You could have a batch of NFC Beer Mats and another batch for NFC General Tags.

• Start each batch with the word ‘locked’ or ‘unlocked’. And then list your encoding data underneath. In the example below the encoding data is a URL for our NFC Products page. This will be encoded to each NFC Tag/Product.

• List your data to be encoded - each tag/product must have its own row on the spreadsheet.

• If you require an ID print, add an ID in the first column with the associated data in the second column. For example as seen below; start on 350 and end on 450 - You will need to list the ID number used on the tag/product. 
Or if ID print is not required you do not need the number column and simply present your data as normal without the extra column.

The examples below show how to present your data for:

1. Encoding
2. Variable Encoding
3. Encoding in Batches
4. Variable Encoding in Batches
5. Encoding with ID Numbers (with and without Batches)
6. Variable Encoding with ID Numbers (with and without Batches)

1. Encoding


2. Variable Encoding

Variable Encoding

3. Encoding in Batches

Encoding in Batches

4. Variable Encoding in Batches

Variable Encoding in Batches

5. Encoding with ID Numbers (with and without Batches)

Encoding with ID Numbers

6. Variable Encoding with ID Numbers (with and without Batches)

Variable Encoding with ID Numbers

Then, simply submit your spreadsheet to NFC Direct. We will contact you if there are any issues with the data you’ve provided; otherwise we’ll get straight to work encoding your tags/products precisely as you have specified.

Extra Information

Click HERE to see if your device(s) are NFC enabled.

Click HERE for details on the most popular NFC apps on the market.

Click HERE for NFC chip specifications.

If you want any advice please give us a call – it’s what we’re here for.

“We are Contactless technology specialists supplying the World with NFC: the power of Contactless”