NFC Encoder NFC Tags Encoding File

The NFC tags encoding file defines the data to be encoded on NFC tags by the GoToTags NFC Encoder software. The NFC Encoder uses this XML based Excel template to describe the data to be encoded on the NFC tags. Microsoft Windows Excel 2010/2013 is required; Mac versions of Excel and other spreadsheet software such as Google Docs and OpenOffice are not compatabile.

  • Use the NFC Tags Encoding file generated from the NFC Encoder software. Do not create a new Excel file and copy the data over; it will not work.
  • Each worksheet (tabs at bottom of Excel file) represents the types of NDEF records that can be encoded.
  • Encoding data should only be provided for one record type (worksheet) at a time.
  • Each row in the worksheet represents an NFC tag to be encoded. To encode multiple NFC tags with the same data (bulk encoding); create a row for each tag to be encoded. To copy rows for bulk encoding or to generate serialized values you can use the Excel Fill Handle tool.
  • Do not use any formatting (colors, fonts…) or add/change/delete any columns in the Excel worksheet.
  • The NFC Encoder provides basic structural validation of the encoding data.

Record Type Encoding

The NFC Encoder software can encode almost all NDEF record types to NFC tags. The NFC Tags Encoding file has has a worksheet for each of the most common record types. Other record types or more complicated encoding such as multiple NDEF records within a message can be encoded with the Custom Tags worksheet. Only one worksheet should be used at a time.

Common Columns

These columns are common across all tag record type encoding worksheets.

ColumnRequiredDescriptionExample
ReadOnlyNo; if left empty the default will be FALSE.Defines if the NFC tag should be made permanently read-only. If TRUE is entered, the data written to the NFC tags cannot be erased. If FALSE is entered or this column is left blank, the NFC tag will be left unlocked so that the data can be erased and new data written to the NFC tags.TRUE
FALSE
IdentityNoAn optional string value that uniquely identifies the NFC tag within the NFC tags encoding file. This value is typically used to match the encoding with the physical tag when doing correlated encoding. Often this value is printed on the tag and/or is represented as a barcode/qr.BGK8C23NU
0000000023
NotesNoAn optional string value used to provide any notes to the encoding operator.
Data1, .., Data10NoAn optional set of values to provide external tag-level data. This can be used by external applications to pass though data about each tag through the encoding operation. The names of these columns can be configured to provide a more meaningful value to the encoding operator.Blue, Green, Red…
Poster, Card, Key Chain…

Dynamic Record Replacement

The GoToTags NFC Encoder software has the ability to dynamically replace certain keys in the encoding data with values at the time of encoding. This is a powerful feature that allows you to encode data onto the NFC tag that is not known until the time of encoding. This setting must be enabled within the NFC Encoder software for the replacement to occur. To use this feature, in the encoding file put the key in the place you want the replacement value to be. See the NFC Tag Encoding page for more information and a list of available replacement keys.

Project and Tag MetaData

The GoToTags NFC Encoder software can be used to integrate with external applications and systems to support the desired NFC tag production, encoding and delivery workflow. Often it is helpful to associate additional project-level and tag-level attributes to the encoding for reference. These attributes and values are provided via the encoding file and are subsequently available in the encoded tags file; the NFC Encoder software does not modify the values in any way. The NFC Encoder applies no meaning to these attributes, they only have meaning to the external systems. The project metadata applies to the encoding as a whole, while the tag meta data applies to each tag. The name of each tag attribute can be defined in the encoding file such that it will show as the column header in the software.

Custom Tags Encoding

Used to encode complex records or records types without their own worksheet to an NFC tag. A common usage is when multiple records need to be encoded on the NFC tag. The Records column JSON can be easily generated by using the Windows App; just create the desired records structure, save the results to a local file and open the file with a text editor.

ColumnRequiredDescription
RecordsYesRequired and contains a JSON representation of the records to encode.

Data Verification

The NFC Encoder software and NFC tag encoding file provides basic data validation and error checking. However there are several things that should be checked before starting encoding.

  • Is the NFC tag encoding file the latest version of the file? There is a version # on the 1st worksheet.
  • Is the NFC tag encoding file a valid file? Often customers will copy the contents of an encoding file to a new Excel file; this does not work. The NFC tag encoding file is a special XML-backed Excel file. Editing the file with Excel for Mac, OpenOffice or Google Docs can corrupt the file. 
  • Are the correct # of tags shown? Does the total tag count in the NFC Encoder software match the encoding file?
  • Is all of the encoding data within the blue area of the Excel file? Only data within the blue area will be imported into the NFC Encoder software.
  • Is encoding data accidentally in multiple spreadsheets?
  • Are there more than 65,535 rows in the Excel encoding file? That is the limit for the Excel file due to an Excel limitation.
  • Are the tags appropriately read-only or not read-only?
  • Will the encoding project be using sequential or correlated encoding? Can the encoding file support that process?
  • If the lookup feature will be used, what data column will be used for the lookup value? Identity, Number?
  • If the Identity column has data, is it unique? It needs to be.
  • Should there be any usage of the DataX columns for additional data required at encoding time? Sequence number, tag color…
  • Is the appropriate record types (worksheet) used per what is known about the project? For example a url should probably be encoded as a website record, not a text record.
  • Will the tag data fit on the NFC chip that we know will be used? To check this, choose the appropriate NFC chip in the dropdown in the NFC Encoder software’s main toolbar.

You are ultimately fully responsible for verifying the encoding data. Make sure you perform thorough testing before you make NFC tags read-only and/or deploy NFC tags!

XML NFC Tags Encoding File

The NFC Encoder software can also use an XML file for the NFC tag encoding data rather than the Excel based file. An XML file is useful when another system is generating the NFC tag encoding data. The easiest way to generate the initial XML file is to create a sample in the Excel file and then export the XML to a local file. The XML can then be edited via a text editor and/or used as a template for another system to generate. The XML Schema Definitions (XSD) for the NFC Tags Encoding file can be downloaded from within the NFC Encoder software.