Turn your computer into an intelligent fax machine

Is your small business looking for a fax solution that lets you send and receive faxes efficiently, uses imported data, and isn't susceptible to paper jams and low toner levels? Symantec’s WinFax PRO 8.0 offers what you're looking. With WinFax PRO, the number of faxes you can receive is limited only by your computer's disk space, and you have a number of options that let you customize the way you receive incoming faxes.

WinFax PRO 8.0 supports Windows NT and Windows 95. I tested WinFax PRO on a 100MHz Pentium computer with 32MB of RAM, 1.6GB of hard disk space, a 28.8Kbps fax/modem, and NT Workstation 4.0. The installation wizard's instructions were clear and easy to follow. You can choose Typical, Minimum, or Custom install options. I chose the Typical option, which took about 15 minutes to automatically set up the WinFax files and features such as Microsoft Exchange support, optical character recognition (OCR), and email support. WinFax PRO took about 39MB of hard disk space on my test system, but it might take closer to 33MB on your system if the program detects that your modem does not have voice capability or is not supported by Talkworks.

After I installed WinFax PRO, I opened the program's main screen and clicked Live Update! on the Help menu. Live Update! automatically connected me to Symantec's Web site, downloaded appropriate updates to my WinFax PRO program, and installed them on my computer.

After my LiveUpdate! session concluded, I used WinFax PRO's Fax Wizard to send a fax. I clicked Send on the program's main screen, then chose New Fax from the drop-down menu to open the wizard. The Fax Wizard steps you through the process of composing and sending your fax: I entered recipient information, typed my message, previewed the layout of the fax, then clicked Send Now to send the fax on its way. Using the Fax Wizard, I was sent my first fax only 10 minutes after I had installed WinFax PRO.

The Cover Page Design Wizard guides you through seven steps to design a personalized fax cover page--complete with a company or personal logo--in less then 10 minutes. If you want to make more changes, the Cover Page Designer assists you in editing your cover-page layout or text.

The sight of my freshly designed cover page gave me the itch to send another fax. Using WinFax PRO's drag-and-drop feature, I dropped my cover page's icon onto the yellow Send Fax button on the main screen toolbar to bring up the Send screen, as Screen 1 shows. You can type in the name and telephone number of your fax's recipients or use the WinFax PRO-supported online telephone book to select recipients. You can also use a separate address book program to drag the names of recipients from the address book to the Recipient list box on the Send screen.

You can choose to receive faxes automatically or manually by right-clicking the WinFax controller icon in the lower-right corner of the taskbar, then selecting the option you prefer. I tried both options, and they work equally well. Whether you choose to receive faxes automatically or manually, WinFax PRO offers you a number of fax-receiving features: you can view faxes automatically upon receipt, specify that incoming faxes are printed automatically and unattended, forward incoming faxes automatically to another fax machine, and convert a received fax into an editable document for use in a word processing or spreadsheet program. You select fax-receiving features by clicking Receive Rules on the Setup drop-down menu.

WinFax PRO's telephony program, Talkworks, gives you voicemail capability. Talkworks supports two phone lines and lets you set up telephone answering-machine, voice-messaging, and mailbox support through your desktop computer. You must have a voice-capable modem and one dedicated telephone line to use the Talkworks features.

WinFax PRO's manual is thick but helpful, with step-by-step instructions and plenty of screen shots. Online Help is well written and easy to follow--you access it from the Help menu on the program's main screen. Another good source of help and information is Symantec's Web site.

WinFax PRO 8.0 is easy to use and offers a wealth of fax and telephony options. It's a cost-effective solution for small businesses or individuals who rely on non-network computers.

WinFax PRO 8.0
Contact: Symantec * 800-441-7234, Web: http://www.symantec.com
Price: $99.95 for a single license, $19.95 upgrade for WinFax PRO 7.5 users, $49.95 upgrade for all other versions of WinFax PRO or WinFax LITE
System Requirements: 486 DX2/66, 16MB of RAM, 25MB of hard disk space, VGA video, CD-ROM drive, Class 1, 2, 2.0 or CAS-compatible fax/modem or fax/voice modem required and soundcard recommended for Talkworks, Mouse recommended