WinFax Pro 9.0


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Type of Product

Symantec's WinFax Pro 9.0 is an updated software package that turns your computer into a fax machine that sends and receives faxes. It provides a wide variety of features for personalizing and automating your faxes. It generates crisp laser-quality faxes right from your computer.
User Level    
Are you a beginning PC user with little or no knowledge of modems and/or fax programs and how they work? Do you just love no-brainer step-by-step wizards that show you how to use a program so you don't have to spend more time than necessary reading a User Guide? If you fit into this group, WinFax is very appropriate for you. Beginners will appreciate WinFax's hassle free installation, clean and uncluttered interface, and Wizards that guide you through such procedures as installing and sending faxes, designing cover pages, calling card setup, and creating a new phonebook.

Do you worry about missing faxes when you are away from the office? Would you like a program that allows everyone in your workgroup to send and receive faxes, without buying multiple modems or additional telephone lines? Well, as an intermediate or advanced user you can take advantage of WinFax's networking features, its ability to integrate with such e-mail programs as Act 4 and MS Outlook 98, and automatic forwarding of incoming faxes.
New & Enhanced Features    

The new and enhanced features of WinFax Pro 9.0 should please previous users:

New Guided Setup wizard–This wizard runs after the install is complete and you launch the application for the first time. Guiding you through the more complicated tasks enables you to quickly and easily get the most out of WinFax.
Workgroup fax sharing–You do not need a modem directly attached to your computer to send and receive faxes. With workgroup fax sharing, you can send and receive faxes by installing WinFax Client and using modems attached to a WinFax Host station on your network
Backup and restore–Faxes, phonebooks, logs, and program settings can be backed up and/or restored. Automatic backups can be scheduled for all of your WinFax data or you can manually backup at any time.
Enhanced Send dialog–An enhanced Send dialog now allows you to create faxes in WinFax the way you would create traditional paper-based faxes.
Simultaneous support for modems and services–WinFax now allows simultaneous support for modems and services such as fax broadcast and Internet fax, and network servers.
Enhanced phonebook support–Enhanced integration abilities permits WinFax to work more efficiently with Act 4.0 and MS Outlook 98. WinFax also supports the use of Microsoft Access ODBC databases as phonebooks.
Cellular connections are more reliable–WinFax supports all common PCS/GSM/PCN (digital cellular standards) fax devices, such as PCMCIA cards and telephones that can be connected with a cable to a PC and controlled like a modem.
Notification and paging–This features allows you to find out about messages as soon as they arrive. The paging feature now includes support for SMS for international users and PCS for users in North America.
OnNow power management support–For Windows 98 users, this feature enables you to receive faxes and voice messages immediately after starting your machine.
Expanded modem support–WinFax now supports a wider variety of modems.
WinFax Pro Program Setup–Settings are now centralized so they are easier to find.
New Calling Card wizard–The Calling Card wizard simplifies the process of setting up and using calling cards.


WinFax includes the following separate programs: (1) Message Manager, the main interface for retrieving, storing, and organizing messages. It also provides access to Cover Page Designer and Fax Viewer; (2) Program Setup, the main interface for changing WinFax program settings; and (3) Controller, the tool you can use to automatically receive messages and faxes without having to run the full WinFax program. It is placed on your taskbar on the desktop for convenient access.

  1. Message Manager--The Outbox, Receive Log, Send Log, Cover Pages, Phonebooks, and WinFax Attachments, located in the Message Manager, all look and work in the same way. This consistency makes WinFax easier to use. The menus are very intuitive and the toolbars feature tooltips so that you can just point to toolbar buttons to discover what they do. The interface has four separate, resizable windows: a Side Bar to the left; a folder area, where folders and messages are stored; a log window; and the Expanded Views window, where the faxes or their details are displayed. You can just drag and drop messages from one folder to another. With a right click of you mouse in the folders area, you can create compressed message stores. You can add new folders that contain other folders, allowing you to group messages. To open a message, you just double click on the event . A viewer will then open, allowing you to view faxes or read e-mail messages. Faxes can be deleted automatically after you send them or manually at your convenience.You can access Cover Page Designer, Guided Setup, and Fax Viewer from the Manager. With Guided Setup you can get your signature and logo into WinFax; personalize your cover pages; set up phonebooks; set up calling cards; and set up advanced options.

  2. Program Setup--Program Setup is used to set up and/or make changes to WinFax. You can configure your modems or fax devices, define how you want to send and receive faxes, set up WinFax to notify you when you receive new faxes, and more. Guided Setup, which contains various wizards, is available in the Program Setup.

  3. Controller--The Controller starts automatically with Windows and appears as an icon on the Windows taskbar. Most of the components started from the Controller do not start Message Manager, thus using the Controller may reduce the amount of system memory your computer uses. It gives you quick, shortcut access to the most commonly used WinFax features such as:
    • Receive faxes at all times–You can receive faxes even when Message Manager is not running. The Controller can detect an incoming fax and receive the message in the background while you continue with your work.
    • Send faxes–Start preparing a new fax without starting Message Manager. Controller starts only the Send dialog.
    • Turn automatic reception on or off–The Controller can enable or disable automatic reception.
    • Check for new messages–Recently received faxes and e-mail messages appear on the Controller menu and can be viewed by clicking on an item on the menu.
    • Quickly start WinFax programs–With one click, you can start Message Manager or Program Setup.
    • Monitor current WinFax activities–The Controller icon will change to indicate when messages are being set or received and when you have received new messages.
    • Quickly change dialing locations–You can quickly change your current dialing location.

To give you a better idea of what WinFax Pro can do, I will go into more detail on a few features:

Guided Setup
Personalizing WinFax is easy, fun, and efficient with the Guided Setup and wizards. As stated above, you can access it from the Message Manager or from the Program Setup. This is where you can perform such tasks as customize cover pages, import existing phonebook data, set up modems, and more. All of the dialog boxes and wizards are as easy and well-thought out as the Cover Page Design wizard.

To create a custom cover page with the Cover Page Design wizard is easy. You start Message Manager, click Cover Page Designer on Tools menu. Cover Page Designer starts and the New Cover Page dialog appears. Click Using The Cover Page Design Wizard and then click OK. The Cover Page Design wizard starts. You follow the instructions on the screen and in following dialog boxes you are prompted for information about style of cover page, company logo and signature, company information, and other options. Then you click finish and you have a custom cover page. (For images of step-by-step dialog boxes, click on thumbnail.)


Sending Faxes
There are two interfaces for sending a fax in WinFax: the Send Fax wizard and the Send dialog. The Send Fax wizard guides you step-by-step through the process of sending a fax, while the Send dialog provides more features and customization abilities, such as sending faxes to more than one person at the same time. There are a variety of methods for sending a fax. You can:

Fax one or more documents with cover pages.
Fax a cover page with a note on it.
Send a fax to a group of people.
Send a fax to an ACT! contact.
Send faxes using the Controller.
Send faxes using WinFax program macros.
Send a file in its native format so the recipient can edit it.
Fax a document printed on your letterhead.
Scan a paper document and fax it.
Save info about a fax (cover page and the address), or save work in progress.
Send faxes using DDE macros.
Schedule a fax or send a recurring fax.

As stated above, the Send Fax wizard does not give you as many options, but it is practically automatic. You start Message Manager, click Send New Fax on the Send menu. Then the Send Fax wizard starts. You follow the instructions on the screen and in following dialog boxes you are prompted for information about who is to receive the fax, cover page, attachments, and delivery dialog box with options to send at a later time. (For images of step-by-step dialog boxes, click on thumbnail.)

Faxes can be previewed before sending. They can also be rearranged or you can remove pages while creating a fax. You can also merge documents from multiple applications into a single fax. There are Annotation tools to circle something or type a note.

Last but not least, WinFax has a large library of professional cover page designs. There is even an extended humorous selection.

Setting Up Phonebooks
ou can create and manage personal phonebooks directly in WinFax. One entry in a phonebook can contain a user's fax, alternative fax, e-mail and voice information. You can specify a specific device, server or service per recipient. For example Internet Fax for long distance or international faxes. Specific dialing instructions can be specified.

You can also create shared phonebooks on a network. You can import records from other phonebooks to your WinFax phonebooks. For ACT! users, the ability to use your existing phonebooks with WinFax is a plus. You can also use phonebooks created in Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Organizer, dBase as well as MS Access. I am emphasizing WinFax's ability to integrate with other personal phonebooks because it is an important feature. With a business, it is difficult to organize all the data you need in one place. If you already have all of your data in one program, you don't want to re-inter it for other programs. ACT! 4.0 is a software package that allows you to organize phone numbers, addresses, order history, even invoice dates. I plan to review and use ACT! 4.0 next month and discuss how it works with WinFax.

Customizing the Interface & Toolbar
ven though I briefly mentioned that you can customize Winfax's interface in the Message Manager section, I am elaborating on it here. Users who like to modify programs to suit their needs will appreciate WinFax's customizing abilities. You can drag window borders to resize them. Interface components, such as the Side Bar, can be disabled or enabled. Sizing buttons can be used to change the viewing area. The Expanded Views window can be configured to display information about a message, a thumbnail view of a fax or the fax itself. Right mouse-clicking on display fields can switch you between views or can be used to customize the information displayed. You can reorder field columns by dragging them into position. It is possible to choose up to three fields to sort by in ascending or descending order.

With the Toolbar, you can select button appearances and add buttons by dragging them from Available Buttons to a location on the toolbar view. You can even create your own buttons and assign them to any menu command. Tooltip text can be modified.

Personal Comment    
I had previously used WinFax, Version 4, and liked it. With my new computer, I had just installed the software that came with my modem. Installing the product was not that easy and I had to reconfigure some parts. I was not quite sure when it would work or not, and it had no features. I was delighted when WinFax Pro 9.0 arrived. It has come a long way! It does about everything. If it could just feed the animals and put out the garbage, we could be connected for life. Trying to write a review of the product was difficult because there were so many features to cover and I didn't want to leave anything out. Whether you fax documents infrequently or abundantly, it is a program that is worth while to invest in.
System Requirements
Processor: Pentium
Operating System: Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT 4.0
Memory: 16MB
Hard Disk Space: 57MB
Modem: Class 1, Class 2 or Class 2.0 fax modem, or fax capable ISDN CAPI 2.0 card.
Hardware: CD ROM Drive (Disks can be ordered.)
Other Goodies    

The User's Guide is small but excellent. It is well-organized and easy to follow. What is not found in the guide can be located under the Help menu. The Help menu includes:

WinFax Help Topics--You can search for information on a topic using Find, Contents, and Index.
Symantec Support Genie--This is an automated answer service available on the Symantec Web site. You can ask their Technical Support Team for help.
Answer Wizard--Type a request.
Show Me--Multimedia demos of various features. These are worthwhile demos. (Click on thumbnail image for larger display.)
Tip of Day--Displays Tip of Day dialog box.
Live Update--Update service through Symantec.

The WinFax Pro 9.0 CD includes a Showroom section where you can download free demos of other Symantec programs such as Act!, Crash Guard Deluxe, Norton Utilities, pcAnywhere, and Mobile Essentials. There is also a QuickTour section of WinFax features, and you can view the User's Guide on-line in Adobe Acrobat format.

Technical Support    
Symantec's technical support has always been excellent. You have the options under the Help menu and their Web site support. They are also prompt and courteous when you call.
The Upgrade price is $69.95 and the full version is $119.95. You can download the Upgrade for $63.00 and the full package for $109.95.

Graphics: DeMorgan WebSpice 1,000,000 Page Design Edition
Web Page Editor: Symantec Visual Page