More on Faxing: eFax Better than Fax Software

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Date: Monday, February 18th, 2002, 14:57
Category: Archive

With use of faxing dwindling in the age of e-mail, and software options changing with the switch to OS X, many users are reevaluating their faxing choices. Contributing Editor Bob Snow has ditched fax software like FAXstf in favor of going electronic with, and has never regretted it. Click ‘read more’ for the full story.

As time goes by, my need to fax dwindles, but fails to disappear. I am an Architect, and thankfully, all of my clients and many local contractors use and understand email. The options for faxing on the Mac are changing, especially with the advent of OSX. I have for nearly ten years faxed using Global Village software, which kept me dutifully purchasing their modems. Initially, I sent and received nearly a thousand faxes a year. Thankfully they offered software to work with iMacs, the internal modem on the B&W G3 and this software continues to work with the internal modem in my 400MHz TiBook, but it does not work with OS X. The only full featured faxing software I am familiar with for X is FAXstf which is so problematic, that I do not wish to purchase it for the ten or so faxes that I currently send each month.

More than a year ago, I dropped my dedicated fax line and started an eFax account. This has saved me a significant amount of money and is far more convenient, since I now receive faxes via email. I never tried sending using eFax, because it has never been supported by the Mac version of their software.

I have been content, until now, to send using the Global Village software and modem. I did some checking and several options exist. It is possible to fax from the eFax website by filling out a simple form and then uploading a file. [Ed’s note: eFax receiving is free; for sending you’ll need to pay for Plus service. -PK] eFax is so Windows-oriented that it states that it supports all popular formats such as Word and Excel. Since I typically fax FileMaker forms and PowerCAD drawings, I thought that this would not pan out. I dug deeper and they can accept a much larger number of formats, including Acrobat and PostScript files. This is great because I typically use Acrobat to convert my drawings and transmittal forms to .pdf files for attachment to email. This allows me to send the same files to recipients without email, but directly to their fax machines. The option of sending faxes by email is even better than using the website, because your email program will serve as the log for both incoming and outgoing faxes. The cost is 10 cents per page to send a fax anywhere in the continental US. This is especially helpful when sending from a hotel, where you can connect to a local number for your email and not incur outrageous long distance charges from the hotel or your phone card to fax across the country. And of course you are able to check all incoming eFaxes at the same time. It is even a boon at the office where I have a broadband connection and faxing no longer ties up a phone line. The eFax plus service is $9.95 per month and favorably compares to the cost of a dedicated outside phone line and fax equipment. They also offer a free fax service supported by advertising, but this will not get you a local area code or the ability to send.

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