Over the past few years, the network fax software market has slimmed down to just three products that work with standard fax modems: FaxSTF, 4-Sight FAX and FaxExpress. FaxSTF’s offering is now over three years old and no longer based on its latest technology, while the pricing for 4-Sight FAX takes it out of the realm of the small- to medium-sized office. Glenwarne continues to develop FaxExpress, with 90 per cent of its fax software sales being in this market area.
Certain features are expected of a fax program, such as 256-greyscale support, multiple cover pages, attachments and so on. Networked fax software has two extra requirements over and above this: the remote machine must be freed up as soon as possible and the system must be bombproof.
Installation of FaxExpress couldn’t be easier: the server software was ready to roll on a Power Mac 7100/80 (usually reserved for ISDN send/receive) in a couple of minutes with User software installed around the office ten minutes later.
In many ways, Mac OS does all the hard work through the Fax Chooser item – with no System Extensions to cause conflicts, FaxExpress is extremely stable. It’s also memory friendly – the server software needs just 2MB of RAM and the FaxViewer program (for printing faxes) a further 2MB.
Basic setting up is a doddle. Each remote machine logs on to the server through the Chooser at which point cover pages, phonebooks and attachments are shared between the machines.
A keyboard hotkey combination converts the print menu options within an application to fax equivalents making sending a fax almost identical to printing. The Standard and Fine options give faster or superior text quality with Standard and Fine Grayscale resulting in the same for pictures.
On preparing a fax, an on-screen zoomable preview ensures that page orientation and details are correct. The remote machine is then freed up almost immediately with the server carrying out the fax image creation. Once sent, a desktop alert appears confirming successful transmission.
With fax creation being essentially a function of QuickDraw rather than PostScript, care has to be taken to ensure that all necessary fonts are installed on the server along with Adobe Type Manager otherwise font substitution and bitmapping occur. Similarly, on-page vector graphics fax as their screen bitmap appearance, a shortcoming in technology rather than FaxExpress.
On the server side, the queue can be altered and the fax number changed – a nice facility – and cover pages designed through a basic creation program.
With support for any Class 2 fax modem, FaxExpress is easy to set up and use and rock solid in performance. If you’re looking for a cost-effective solution to office network faxing, have a look at FaxExpress – you won’t be disappointed.