WinFax Pro is still best fax software

Real-life requirements:



WinFax Pro is still the Lexus of PC fax software in spite of Microsoft Windows
95’s inferior fax bundle, which has to be installed manually under Windows 98, by the
way.


Users who send faxes frequently need and appreciate the features in WinFax Pro, now up
to Version 9.0. Installation is as easy as it gets.


Workgroup fax sharing, one of the best new features, is possible only under Windows NT
4.0. WinFax Pro can act as either host or client in an NT fax environment. It supports
multiple devices and services simultaneously.


You can configure a computer to support, say, two modems and additional fax devices
such as Integrated Services Digital Network cards, or to fax over the Internet. The
Controller program, accessed via a small icon on the Windows system tray, signals any new
faxes waiting on your computer.


It can manually or automatically send or receive faxes and launch the Message Manager.


A backup and restore tool ensures against hardware or software catastrophes by backing
up messages, phonebooks, configurations, log folders, cover pages and attachment
libraries.


The new Send screen is as easy to use and understand as anything I have seen. When you
print from any application to WinFax, the Send dialog screen appears so you can enter
recipient and fax number or select from the phonebook. You see a thumbnail version of the
entire fax on the left of the screen and can rearrange, delete or add pages there. You
also can change fax-specific options such as resolution or site and recipient-specific
options such as which fax device or service to use.


Xerox Corp.’s TextBridge engine converts faxes to editable text automatically or
in selected areas. I’ve criticized its optical character recognition accuracy in the
past, but I must admit this version does a pretty good job. I noticed only two flaws: a
tendency to change periods into the letter e and failure to maintain columnar layout.


The new Phonebook Wizard makes it easy to link WinFax Pro to phonebooks created in
other applications. If it detects a personal information manager installed on the
computer, it sets up a read-only link to the PIM’s phonebook. It gives advanced
support to Symantec’s Act, Lotus Organizer and Microsoft Access via Open Database
Connectivity. It improves their sorting capability and lets you modify their phonebook
records from within WinFax.


The new version is tightly integrated with Microsoft Exchange under Office 95 and
Microsoft Outlook in Office 97. Because WinFax is a Messaging Application Programming
Interface 1.0 application, it can access all messages in Exchange or Outlook.


You can also retrieve faxes through the Exchange or Outlook client interface. WinFax
modifies the Exchange menu to give easy access to WinFax features, and it integrates with
Outlook 98.


I found one little annoyance: The fax machine animation that runs during fax sends or
retrievals smeared out when my video driver was set to display 64K colors. It displayed
correctly when I changed the color depth to 256K or 16 million colors. I downloaded the
latest driver for the 3-D Velocity video card from the Web site of STB Systems Inc. of
Richardson, Texas, without success.


After all these years, I still don’t think you’ll find a better fax package
than WinFax Pro.


William M. Frazier, a PC hobbyist, is the postmaster of Taholah, Wash.


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