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How to send Fax from Microsoft Access database

Posted on 2011-03-21
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In my Microsoft Access 2003 database, we generate Access reports, print them & then manually fax them through a fax machine to various destinations. We generate reports quite rapidly & hence, need to Fax them rather quickly. I would know if it is possible to directly Fax the Access report (maybe convert to PDF first?) without having to physically print hard copy first? if so, how?

Also, I am curious to know how the program would dial the Fax # since the computer is connected to a cable modem?
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Question by:datasolutionz
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LVL 57
ID: 35182581

 Do you have anything available to you besides Access (ie. Exchange?).

  There are a multitude ways of accomplishing this.

JimD.
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Expert Comment

by:GRayL
ID: 35183385
If you have a Fax listed as one of your installed printers (Click Start, Printers and Faxes - check here),  you should be able to open the report, click File, Print, and select Fax as an option.  
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by:datasolutionz
ID: 35183796
JDettman: Exchange is not available, but I can look into getting it. However, we are sending these to hospitals & they expect to receive Faxes only.

GrayL: When I get to the window, in the left pane, there is an option "set up faxing", upon clicking I am asked for an install CD. Anyhow, as mentioned above, my recipient expects a cop
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by:datasolutionz
ID: 35183797
a faxed copy*
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by:GRayL
ID: 35184874
You can send a FAX over the Internet.  Google - FAX over Internet - is this an alternative?  I appreciate you are transmitting medical info - and the Internet cannot guarantee the integrity of some data - but a FAX over Internet can go a long way to solving your problem.
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by:datasolutionz
ID: 35184933
GrayL: Actually, I am a developer. The client requirements are as I have described. I appreciate your alternative suggestions, however, it is frustrating that when requirements are clearly outlined, experts are suggesting solutions that are either obvious or dictate changing business process.

JDettman: Looking forward to your input.
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by:GRayL
ID: 35185765
Jim?
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LVL 57
ID: 35189747
Sorry.

 Ray has already mentioned two options:

1.  Fax over the Internet.  There are a number of services out there that will take an e-mail with an attachment and fax it to a number.  In this case Access only needs to generate an e-mail.  No other hardware is required.

2. A fax print driver - Here you print a report and fax it out directly.  This can be done by either a fax modem in a machine or a network attached Fax box.

The third I was referring to is somewhat of a cross between the two, which is the use of Exchange or a copier.  Exchange offers faxing service, but here the fax modem would be accessed by Exchange.  Access again would simply send an e-mail via Exchange, and it would handle the faxing.   Many copiers also have this option.

  It's hard to know what direction to tell you to go in without a lot more details (number of faxes, frequency, what needs to be transmitted, etc), but the simplest is a service.  Here's one site with compairisons:

http://www.faxcompare.com/

 and there are many, many out there.

 Options #2 and #3 given you more direct control, but a little more effort on your part, but they are still pretty plug and play.   Depending on the direction you go, you may or may not need a fax modem of some type and a phone line.

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by:datasolutionz
ID: 35191162
JDettman: To answer your questions: Number of faxes is pretty high, over 150 in an 8hr shift. What needs to be transmitted is a Report which is a single sheet of standard 8.5"x11". Let me know what other questions you have. The criteria is that speed is critical

can you elaborate on Fax print driver? It seems like you will either need a Fax Machine attached to you computer that can get input from Access & then transmit it onwards like a regular fax machine? What is a fax box?

I dont mind making wahtever programing changes I need to, just want to make sure that the solution is fast, efficient for my client.
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Author Comment

by:datasolutionz
ID: 35191245
The ideal solution would be that my client clicks on a button in the Access program that generates the report & then automatically faxes it over.
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Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE) earned 100 total points
ID: 35191605
<<JDettman: To answer your questions: Number of faxes is pretty high, over 150 in an 8hr shift. What needs to be transmitted is a Report which is a single sheet of standard 8.5"x11". Let me know what other questions you have. The criteria is that speed is critical>>

  Sounds like you need something local then.  With that many faxes, using an online service might get costly.

<<can you elaborate on Fax print driver? It seems like you will either need a Fax Machine attached to you computer that can get input from Access & then transmit it onwards like a regular fax machine? What is a fax box?>>
 
  A fax print driver is installed on a machine as a printer and your Access app would then "print" using that printer.  As part of that, you would supply a telephone number and off it would go.  This would require a phone line and a fax modem.  Microsoft Windows has a simple built-in Fax Service.

 A "fax box" is a fax modem that rather then being hooked to a specific machine, is attached to the network.  You would get the same effect by having one on a specific PC and then sharing it out.  

  I would start with the simplest setup; a server running the fax service along with a fax modem and a phone line.  Access needs to do nothing other then to "print" to the fax server.  

  If you want a little more control over the process, then you can use the COM interface:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms684508(v=VS.85).aspx

  You'd print a report to disk, and then do something like this:

Public Function Fax(ByVal FileName As String, ByVal FaxNumber As String)

    Dim FaxServer As Object
    Dim FaxDoc As Object
    Dim ComputerName As String

    Set FaxServer = CreateObject("FaxServer.FaxServer")
    FaxServer.Connect ("\\MyFaxServer")
    Set FaxDoc = FaxServer.CreateDocument(FileName)

    With FaxDoc
        .FaxNumber = FaxNumber
        .Send
    End With
 
    Set FaxDoc = Nothing
    Set FaxServer = Nothing

End Function

  But rather then re-invent the wheel, you just might find it easier overall to purchase something already written, such as:

http://www.faxserverpro.com/

 Software like this is relatively cheap and would provide a host of features (like security) that might be time consuming to develop.

 BTW, They have a good diagram here of the way it all looks:

http://www.faxserverpro.com/product.html

   They also have a recommended list of faxes and fax boards to use:

http://www.faxserverpro.com/faqs/fax_modems.html

  Which even if you don't use them, would be something to look at.  

  But with 150 faxes in an 8 hour shift, I would be looking at a 4 or 8 modem fax board for speed.

   Been quite some time since I looked in the faxing area and I'm amazed how much things have changed.  Lots of options.

JimD.

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by:Dhaest
ID: 35718313
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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