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Use internet fax to print to printer

Posted on 2012-12-31
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Last Modified: 2013-01-22
We have a location without a telephone line, but need to receive faxes. And the faxed need to be printed out as they come out. The setup is going to be in a work trailer that only has access to a Verizon or ATT wirless hotspot or air card.  Never the less, the faxes need to printed out as they come in since the employees there are not very computer friendly. Basically, It needs to work like a analog fax system that prints out faxes. Any suggestions. ?
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Question by:netcomp
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14 Comments
 
LVL 16

Accepted Solution

by:
rbudj earned 250 total points
ID: 38733622
You will likely need more than one service. First you will need a cloud fax service. They will assign you a phone number and setup. Here is a more popular service company: http://www.efax.com/

The basic idea is that the incoming fax is routed through their servers. They receive the fax, turn it into a photo and email it to you. Once you receive the email, you will need a way to automatically print. This can be done through third party software such as: http://www.printmyfax.com/

Another way is by using Microsoft Outlook. If you are using Microsoft Outlook for your email, you can set a rule that will take all fax emails and print them. Are you using Outlook?
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LVL 70

Assisted Solution

by:garycase
garycase earned 250 total points
ID: 38733957
I know a couple small businesses that do exactly as rbudj suggested above, and it works very well.    They both use SmartFax  [http://www.smartfax.com/ ] instead of efax (suggested above);  but they use printmyfax to automatically print it =>  and it works exactly as noted above.    It simply monitors the incoming e-mail, and when it "sees" a fax attachment, it automatically prints it.

I am not aware of any message filters in Outlook that will automatically print an attachment, however.    I looked in Outlook (v2010) and it doesn't show any such feature.     I also checked Outlook 2003, and it didn't have this either.   Not sure about 2007 or 2013 versions (don't have them installed on anything to look at)
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:rbudj
ID: 38734410
Thank you so kindly for critiquing  my post. It is perfectly ok for you to not know how to perform this function within Outlook. I will help the author though if they need instruction.
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 38734785
I was not "critiquing" your post -- I simply noted that the message rules in Outlook don't show an option to print an attachment.     You indicated that with Outlook you "... can set a rule that will take all fax emails and print them ...".    I have set a LOT of filters in various e-mail clients;  but was not aware of any way to do this in Outlook;  so I had a look at the two versions I have installed on various systems ... and that is NOT one of the choices for "actions" in the filters.

I didn't say it couldn't be done ... I simply noted "... I am not aware of ..." filters that will do that.    Note also that printing the message is NOT what needs to be done => the ATTACHMENT needs to be automatically printed.    If there's an Outlook filter that can do this, it would be very instructive if you posted the details on how to do it instead of just alluding to the possibility.

You did, however, post links to what I consider the best solution to this problem:  the excellent printmyfax utility.    As I noted earlier, this works very well ... and it correctly prints the attachment -- NOT the e-mail.
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Expert Comment

by:rbudj
ID: 38734799
Indeed you can print attachments through Outlook and I will post instructions should the author need them. Perhaps your time would be better spent offering a solution instead of trying to prove wrong the possible solutions of other Experts.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:netcomp
ID: 38734815
Thank you both for the comments. Yes, please provide detailed instructions on how to automatically print the PDF faxes in outlook.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:rbudj
ID: 38734878
What version of Outlook are you using?
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Author Comment

by:netcomp
ID: 38735297
Outlook 2010.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:rbudj
ID: 38735377
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 38735438
Not sure why you didn't simply post a link to that as an alternative to "printmyfax" in your original post, rather than implying you could do it directly from Outlook (clearly you can't without buying this add-in).

i.e. rather than saying "... If you are using Microsoft Outlook for your email, you can set a rule that will take all fax emails and print them ..."   it would have been more accurate to say that "If you are using Outlook, Outlook's rules can be extended to include the ability to print attachments with this add-on:  http://www.mapilab.com/outlook/print_tools/

or ... when I said "... I am not aware of any message filters in Outlook that will automatically print an attachment ..." ==> instead of calling this a critique (it wasn't), you could have simply said "Outlook doesn't have this capability natively, but there's an add-in you can buy that provides that ability:  http://www.mapilab.com/outlook/print_tools/ '


This add-in does seem like it would work in conjunction with an appropriate rule.   One disadvantage, however, is that faxes would only be printed when Outlook was active;  whereas printmyfax runs as a service and does not require the mail client to be running for faxes to be received and printed.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:rbudj
ID: 38736436
netcomp, so clearly there is an attempt to leach and discredit my solution.

The point is that you find a solution that works for you. I'm here to offer possible solutions and what I have presented works and works well. You decide what works best for you and let us know. Good luck.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:rbudj
ID: 38736550
gary, I don't see the disadvantage at all. Outlook can be set to start with the computer. In either case, they both have to be running. Lol, a fax machine that is turned off is no good to anyone right?
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 38736905
In a single user scenario, it probably wouldn't matter, since you could simply have Outlook load as part of the system boot (although not everyone likes to have the e-mail client running all the time).    You'd still have the potential, however, that if you closed Outlook you wouldn't receive faxes.

But in a work trailer where "... the employees there are not very computer friendly ..." I suspect there are multiple users of the computer, and there may/may not always be someone logged on to the PC.    With a service, the function will work as long as the system is turned on -- nobody has to be logged in; and even if someone is, they don't have to be running the mail client.

Either approach will work ... but netcomp should be aware of the functional differences between using a background service and an Outlook rule with the printing add-in.

Not sure why you seem to feel there's any attempt to "leach and discredit my solution".    You suggested the excellent "printmyfax" -- and I simply reinforced that by noting I knew some folks who did "... exactly as rbudj suggested above, and it works very well."     I also noted that your reference to Outlook was outside my experience, and I wasn't aware of any filters that would do what you had implied it could do => and as the subsequent discussion has clarified, that's in fact the case -- Outlook does NOT have that capability;  but there is a commerically available add-in that adds it.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:rbudj
ID: 38737104
So you instruct your workers to reboot the computer if it stops working. You are exhausting a thread that does not have to be this difficult. I can come up with 100's of scenarios but I'm only interested in the authors.
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