Windows XP Fax Service
If you’re running Windows XP, you can finally donate that old fax machine to a local charity and use the desk space for something more valuable (like a box of doughnuts, perhaps!) Believe it or not, but an easy to use fax service is built into Windows XP already, so you can send and receive faxes from your computer.
There are a number of advantages of moving to a Windows XP based fax system, with the main one being no wasted paper. There’s no need to print documents before faxing them. You can read, save, delete or attach incoming faxes to an e-mail, all without using a single piece of paper. Of course, you can print them too!
Although you don’t need a fax machine, you’ll need a phone line, a modem and a scanner to send and receive faxes from your computer. For faxing, the modem and scanner don’t have to be anything special. Even a 33.6 bps modem will dispatch a multi-page letter in a minute or two. As to the scanner, faxes are sent in black and white and usually at a default resolution of no better than 150×150 dpi (dots per inch). Any working scanner can manage that.
Setting Up and Configuring Windows XP Fax
The fax service isn’t automatically installed in Windows XP. To install the fax component:
1. Go to Start, Control Panel and click Add/Remove Programs.
2. Click Add/Remove Windows Components. Select the Fax Services check box and then click Next. The Windows Component Wizard takes care of the rest.
After the fax component is installed, the next step is configuring it. You can configure the fax service in the Fax Console, the center for faxing tasks. To configure the Fax Console:
1. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to Communications, point to Fax and then click Fax Console.
2. On the Tools menu in the Fax Console, click Configure Fax. This will start the Fax Configuration Wizard. Click Next to start configuring your fax information.
3. On the Sender Information page, include your name or your business name and your fax number. Everything else on the page is optional.
4. On the Select Device for Sending or Receiving Faxes page, your modem will be selected, unless you have more than one. If you do, just select the one you want to configure at this time. Specify send and receive options and whether you’ll manually answer incoming faxes or answer automatically when received.
5. On the Transmitting Subscriber Identification (TSID) and Called Subscriber Identification (CSID) pages, enter your business name and fax number. These fields really matter when you’re running special fax routing software. Most software of this kind depends on TSIDs to determine where to direct an incoming fax.
6. On the Routing Options page, specify how incoming faxes will be handled. All faxes are stored automatically in the Fax Console, but you can also print a copy or store a copy in a local folder or on your network.
Sending Faxes From Your Computer
You can fax a document that’s stored on your computer or you can scan a document and fax it by sending it to your fax printer. The Windows XP fax service uses the Windows Address Book (WAB) as its default book for fax numbers. If you ever install Outlook 2000 or Outlook 2002, the fax service switches to the Outlook Address Book (OAB) as its source for fax addresses. So, you don’t need to maintain two address books, just one will do. To fax a document stored on your computer:
1. On the File menu of the document, click Print.
2. In the Print or Print Setup dialogue box, in the Printer name box, click Fax to open the Send Fax Wizard. (When faxing from an MS Office program, on the File menu, point to Send To, and then Click Fax Recipient. An Office Fax Wizard asks for specific information and then hands the process over to the Send Fax Wizard).
3. To supply the recipient’s fax number, click Address Book and select one or more recipients just as if you were sending them an e-mail message.
4. If you’ve already set up Dialing Rules, skip ahead. If you haven’t, click Dialing Rules. If you need to dial an extra digit to get an outside line, use a special carrier code or dial an area code even for local numbers, add those settings here and then click OK to return to the fax sending.
5. Specify when the fax should be sent, as well as, the fax’s priority. Priority only matters if you’re stacking up a number of faxes to be sent at a particular time. In that case, the order of sending will be determined by the priority you set.
6. Finally, you’re presented with a screen that recaps the details of the fax. It also offers you a chance to preview it. If the fax is a multi-page, you’ll be able to preview only the first page.
If you’re sending the fax right away, the Fax Monitor, shown below, will start when the dialing does.
Faxing Scanned Documents
The second way to send a fax is to scan a document and then send it to your fax printer. The software that came with your scanner can help you set up this kind of fax and send it directly to your fax printer. However, you can also fax from a scanner using the tools in Windows XP:
1. Open Control Panel, click Printers and Other Hardware, click Scanners and Cameras and then double click the icon for your scanner to start the Scanner and Camera Wizard.
2. On the Choose Scanning Preferences page, click Grayscale picture and then click Preview to start the scanner.
3. Provide a name and location for the scanned document.
4. Open the folder that contains the image file, right click the image and then click Print. The Photo Printing Wizard will open.
5. Select the check box for the image to be faxed.
6. Select Fax as the printer you want to use.
When you finish the Photo Printing Wizard, the Send Fax Wizard opens and you proceed as described in the procedure for sending a fax from your computer.
Does that sound pretty cool to you?! Go on and give it a try!
~ Ramachandran Kumaraswami