need an incoming fax system that results in a pdf which can be copy / pasted from

We have an older XP box attached to a Brother fax machine over the network... the Brother machine came with software to automatically convert incoming faxes to .tif file. I then built a series of batch files along with Acrobat that converts the .tif files into pdf's that we can copy / paste from. The system works great but I built it in 2009 and I'm worried about the infrastructure not holding up much longer... either the Brother software or the XP box or the fax machine itself is getting hung up more often now, and when it does, the faxes print on paper instead of the whole pdf / copy paste things, and then we have a stack of paper to deal with.

What's out there these days as an incoming fax system that can result in a pdf which can be copy / pasted from?
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BobbyAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Look at Snappy Fax. I used to use this but I no longer use Fax at all.

http://www.snappysoftware.com/faxserver/features.htm

Snappy Server can save in TIF or PDF so it will do what you want.

It is current software so works in Windows 10.
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BobbyAuthor Commented:
John,

Thanks. Looking at their site I don't see it anywhere yet, so... do you know if the pdf's it saves are able to be copy/pasted from, or are they just a flattened image?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Part way down the page above.

Quote from article:

Receiving Faxes:
Printing
...
Saving fax images
Fax images are always saved internally to the fax server's database. Configuration options allow fax images to additionally be saved to a location of your choice in either .tif or .pdf format.

I hope this helps.
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BobbyAuthor Commented:
Right, I saw that, but pdf's are usually just a flattened image. I'll contact their support to ask.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I think that is all you can get from Fax (short of some optical scanning equipment)
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AlanConsultantCommented:
Hi,

Faxes are always just images - that is inherent in the technology.

You can always copy / paste from the TIF or PDF, but you will be copying an image, not text.

Alan.
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> pdf which can be copy / pasted from?

What that means is you need the fax that comes in as a PDF to have OCR run on it. There are numerous ways to achieve that. Here are two ideas:

(1) Sign up for an online fax service that has an OCR option. I use TrustFax, which does not offer OCR, but other services do. A web search for "fax service with ocr" will get you plenty of hits, but I can't vouch for any of them...you're on your own to evaluate them.

(2) Sign up for an online fax service that does not have an OCR option, but does deliver faxes as (image-only) PDFs...and virtually every online fax service can do that. The fax typically comes in as an email attachment. Have an email rule move the attachment to a folder that is a "Watched Folder" for a program that converts the image-only PDF to a searchable PDF by running OCR on it. Here are EE articles/videos discussing products that can do this (there are plenty others):

Batch Conversion of PDF, TIFF, and Other Image Formats via Command Line Interface to PDF, PDF Searchable, and TIFF with Power PDF Advanced


PaperPort - How To Create Searchable PDF Files


Convert Scanned Image-Only PDF Files to PDF Searchable Image Files via OCR with Power PDF Advanced

Regards, Joe
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BobbyAuthor Commented:
The routine I wrote 9 years ago runs the tif through Acrobat, converting it to a pdf while also parsing it through OCR. The end result is a copy/pastable pdf. For all but the worst hand-written faxes, it pretty much nails it. I wish I could keep it but I fear it's on it's last leg infrastructure wise. I'm hoping at this point 9 years later something exists that is a modern version of what I cobbled together.
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AlanConsultantCommented:
Yep - that's your only option.

The pixel based fax will have to be post processed to get text out of it.

Alan.
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> I'm hoping at this point 9 years later something exists that is a modern version of what I cobbled together.

Yes, many modern PDF/OCR packages can do it. In addition to PaperPort and Power PDF Advanced that I mentioned earlier, there are ABBYY FineReader, Nuance's OmniPage, and others. I'd probably go with the "Watched Folder" feature of Power PDF Advanced, but many others will work. Also, with an API/SDK or command line interface, which some of them have, you can cobble together a modern version of your solution in the language of your choice. Regards, Joe
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