- 14.5. Faxing
Using the Mac as a fax machine is a terrific idea, for a lot of reasons. It saves money on
paper and fax cartridges, and spares you the expense of buying a physical fax machine.
Faxing from the Mac also eliminates the silly and wasteful ritual of printing something
out just so you can feed it into a fax machine. And because your fax originates directly
from the heart of Mac OS X instead of being scanned by a crummy 200-dpi fax-machine
scanner, it blesses your recipient with a great-looking document.
Here's the basic idea: When faxes come in, you can read them on the screen, opt to have
them printed automatically, or even have them emailed to you so that you can get them
wherever you are in the world. (Try that with a regular fax machine.) And sending a fax
is even easier on a Mac than on a regular fax machine: You just use the File Print
command, exactly like you're making a printout of the onscreen document.
There are only two downsides of using a Mac as a fax machine:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION
Scanning: The Opposite of Printing
Will my scanner work with Mac OSX?
These days, the odds are pretty good.
For the first couple of years A.M. (After Mac OS X), scanning was a sore spot
for Mac fans. Precious few scanners worked with Mac OS X even a year after
These days, Mac OS X recognizes almost any Epson scanner and any scanner
that works with the so-called TWAIN scanning standard (which, if you can
believe it, stands for Technology Without An Interesting Name). As noted on
Section 10.17.7, you can use Mac OS X's Image Capture program to operate
such scanners without even installing any software.
If you're hanging onto an older scanner model that predates these scanning
standards, run, don't walk, to www.hamrick.com to download VueScan. It's a
$50 shareware program that makes dozens of scanners work with Mac OS X,
SCSI models including all SCSI scanners from Apple, Epson, Canon, HP,
- Microtek, UMAX, Linotype-Hell, Acer/BenQ, and Agfa.
USB models including all scanners from Epson and many from Canon, HP,
Microtek, UMAX, and others.
FireWire models including all scanners from Epson, Microtek, UMAX, and
The funny thing is, you may even want VueScan if you already have a driver for
your scanner, because VueScan's controls and speed may be superior to what
• The Mac needs its own phone line. Otherwise, your Mac, answering each
incoming call, will give friends and relatives a screaming earful when they call to
express their love.
Of course, you can avoid that prerequisite by using your Mac exclusively for
sending faxes, so that it doesn't answer the phone. Or if you need to receive the
occasional fax, you could just turn on the fax-receiving feature only when
somebody is about to send you a fax. Or you could buy an automated fax/voice
splitter that sends voice lines to the phone and incoming faxes to the Mac.
But in general, the Mac-as-fax works best if it has its own line.
• You can't fax from a book or magazine. The one big limitation of Mac-based
faxing is that you can only transmit documents that are, in fact, on the computer.
That pretty much rules out faxing notes scribbled on a legal pad, clippings from
People magazine, and so on, unless you scan them in first.
14.5.1. Setting Up Faxing
Open System Preferences. Click Print & Fax. Click the + button, and proceed as shown
in Figure 14-6.
Note: Unfortunately, Apple no longer builds fax modems into new Macs—not even
laptops. You can buy an external dangly Apple USB Fax/Modem for $50, however. As
soon as it's plugged into a USB port, its name appears in the Printers list.
- Figure 14-6. When you click the + button, this handy list of fax modems pops up.
Chances are, you have only one—and it's either an old Apple Internal or a USB
External model that you bought from Apple. Click its name, and then click Add.
If you intend to send faxes from the Mac, type in your return fax number in the Fax
Tip: If you're smart, you'll also turn on "Show fax status in menu bar." It installs a fax
menulet that lets you monitor and control your fax sending and receiving.
If you intend to receive faxes, click Receive Options, and turnon "Receive faxes on this
computer." Then specify how soon the fax machine should pick up the call (after how
many rings—you don't want it answering calls before you have a chance).
Finally, you can say how you want to handle incoming faxes, as described in Figure 14-7.
Figure 14-7. When your Mac answers the fax line, it can do three things with the
incoming fax. Option 1: Save it as a PDF file that you open with Preview. (The Mac
proposes saving these files into the Users Shared Shared Faxes folder, but
you can set up a more convenient folder.) Option 2: Print it out automatically, just
like a real fax machine. Option 3: Email it to you, so you can get your faxes even
when you're not home (and so you can forward the fax easily).
14.5.2. Sending a Fax
When you're ready to send a fax, type up the document you want to send. Choose File
Print. In the Print dialog box (Figure 14-3), open the PDF pop-up button and choose
The dialog box shown in Figure 14-8 appears. Here are the boxes you can fill in:
- • To. If you like, you can simply type the fax number into the To box, exactly the
way it should be dialed: 1-212-553-2999, for example. You can send a single fax
to more than one number by separating each with a comma and a space.
If you fax the same people often, though, you're better off adding their names and
fax numbers to the Address Book (Chapter 19). That way, you can click the little
silhouette button to the right of the To box and choose the recipient, as shown in
Note: At this writing, the Address Book feature doesn't work when you're sending
from Microsoft Word or Excel. You have to type in the fax number by hand.
Figure 14-8. When you send a fax, you get a modified Print dialog box. Here
is where you specify a cover page (and what you want on it).
You can type a fax number into the To box, or you can click the silhouette
head button to open a miniature version of Address Book. It lets you choose
someone's name by double-clicking. All phone numbers appear here, so look
for those identified as fax numbers. (Chances are that these listings don't
include the 1- long distance prefix, which is why Apple gave you a separate
Dialing Prefix box.) If you've built groups in your address book, you can send
to everyone in a group at once.
• Settings. Most of the time, fiddling with the printing pop-up menu isn't relevant to
sending a fax. (ColorSync? On a black-and-white fax? Get real!) But the standard
printing controls are here for your convenience. You can use the Scheduler pane to
specify a time for your outgoing fax, the Layout pane to print more than one
"page" per sheet, and so on.
• Use Cover Page, Subject, Message. If you turn on this checkbox, you're allowed to
type a little message into the Subject and Message boxes.
Beware! Don't press the Return key to add a blank line to your message. Mac OS
X thinks you intend to "click" the Fax button—and off it goes!
Tip: Choosing Save as PDF from the little PDF pop-up button, at this moment, is
your only chance to keep a copy of the fax you're sending.
- 18.104.22.168. Sending
When everything looks good, hit the Fax button. Although it may look like nothing is
happening, check your Dock, where the icon for your fax/modem has appeared. If you
click it, you'll see a clone of the dialog box shown in Figure 14-4, indicating the progress
of your fax. Here you can pause the faxing, delete it, or hold it, exactly as you would a
printout. (Your Fax menulet, if you've installed it, also keeps you apprised of the fax's
progress; see Figure 14-9.)
Otherwise, you don't get much feedback on the faxing process. Once the connection
sounds are complete, you don't hear anything, see anything, or receive any notice that the
fax was successful.
(If your fax was not successfully sent for some reason, the modem's window
automatically reschedules the fax to go out in five minutes.)
Tip: On a network, only one Mac has to be connected to a phone line. On that Mac, open
System Preferences, click Sharing, turn on Printer Sharing, and turn on the checkbox for
your fax modem. From now on, other Macs on the network can send out faxes via the one
that has a phone line! (They'll see the shared modem listed in the Fax dialog box.)
Figure 14-9. The Fax menulet (top) says "Dialing… Connecting…" and so on. Click
to see the Hang Up Now command.
The Fax queue shows the faxes that are currently sending or scheduled to go out
later. To see which documents you've successfully sent, and when they went out,
choose Jobs Show Complete Jobs.
22.214.171.124. Checking the log, checking the queue
To see the log of all sent and received faxes, choose System Preferences
Print & Fax.Double-click your fax/modem'sname; its fax-management window appears,
- but that's not what you're interested in. Instead, choose Jobs Show Completed Jobs.
You get a status window that looks a lot like the one for a printer (Figure 14-9, bottom).
14.5.3. Receiving a Fax
A Mac that's been set up to answer calls does a very good impersonation of a fax
machine. You don't even have to be logged in to get faxes, although the Mac does have to
be turned on. In System Preferences Energy Saver Options, turnon "Wake when
modem detects a ring" to prevent your Mac from being asleep at the big moment.
When a fax call comes in, the Mac answers it after the number of rings you've specified.
Then it treats the incoming fax image in the way you've specified in System Preferences:
by sending it to your email program, printing it automatically, or just saving it as a PDF
file in a folder that you've specified.