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ActFax Installation and Configuration

The installation and configuration of ActFax is done through a comfortable setup program and can therefore also be done from persons with limited computer knowledge. With the integrated uninstallation program, the software can be completely removed from the system if required. ActFax automatically detects and configures all available components (i.e. modems) during the setup; the fax server is ready for operation right after the installation without manual configuration that way.

Further informationen about the software can also be found in the online help and in the user's manual, which is available for download through the download area on our website. If you have questions or problems, feel free to contact us at any time.

How do I ...

Install ActFax

ActFax primarily consists of two components, the fax server and the fax client. The fax server is installed only on a single computer in the network and stores and administrates all data and is responsible for the transmission and receipt of fax messages. The fax client is installed on all computers in the network that should be able to create new faxes and to have access to existing faxes. One part of the fax client is the ActiveFax printer, which is used to send faxes from Windows applications. For the installation of the fax server and the fax client, the same setup program is used.

The installation of ActFax can be done on the operating systems Windows XP / 2003 / Vista / 2008 / 2012, 7, 8, 8.1, 10 and 2016. Even if you plan to send faxes from a UNIX or Linux system, the fax server itself always needs to be installed on a Windows based system and not under UNIX or Linux.

To start the installation of ActFax, run the setup program from the download area (file actfax_setup_en.exe). When running the installation from a CD-ROM, the setup is automatically started when you insert the CD. To install the trial version of ActFax, enter the license key 00000-00000 in the setup. The trial version has no limitations and all functions are available (a small demoversion watermark is printed at the end of each fax page in that case then).

The setup program automatically detects and configures all connected modems during the installation. The fax server is therefore available for operation right after the installation finished.

Access faxes from a computer in the network

For network-wide usage of the fax service, the fax client software needs to be installed on the single computers in the network. The installation of the fax client is done with the same setup program as the installation of the fax server; the only difference is, that you need to choose the option to install the client components in the component selection window of the setup program. After the fax client has been installed, the ActiveFax printer is available to send faxes from any Windows application and the fax client to access existing faxes for the single users from the PC.

The first time the fax client is started, the network is automatically scanned for available fax servers. Choose the favored fax server from the list in that case. Since normally there is only a single fax server in a network, the located fax server is automatically pre-selected as the default setting.

Send faxes from Windows

Sending faxes and emails from Windows applications is done the same way as printing documents on paper. During the installation of ActFax, a printer with the name ActiveFax has been automatically created. To send a document by fax or email, you just need to choose this ActiveFax printer as the destination printer in the Windows application. When the document is printed, a dialog window asking for the recipient of the document is automatically displayed. You can enter the recipient of the document either manually or choose it from the integrated phone book in that case. It would also be possible to send the fax to a list with multiple recipients. The document is then automatically transferred to the fax server. Depending on priority and the number of available modems, the fax is transmitted as fast as possible then.

More information about sending faxes and the automatic definition of the recipient of a fax in own applications using data fields can also be found in the online help of the fax server or in the user's manual, available for download in the download area.

Send faxes from Unix or Linux

Sending faxes and emails from Unix or Linux systems requires a prior installation of the fax server on a Windows based system connected to a TCP/IP network. The fax server can be accessed like a normal network printer through the LPD/LPR protocol from Unix/Linux in that case. As an alternative it would also be possible to send fax jobs through a Samba or NFS printer as well as sending fax files through a shared directory or with FTP or TFTP. Receiving fax jobs directly from an email account through POP3 protocol can also be used to send fax jobs to the fax server.

Depending on your Unix system, follow these steps to install a LPD/LPR network printer to send fax jobs to the fax server:

IBM RS/6000 (AIX)
  • Login as user root.
  • Start the system administrator program smit.
  • Choose the menu Devices, Printer/Plotter, Manage Remote Printer, Client Services, Remote Printer Queues and Add a Remote Queue.
  • Fill out the dialog box. In the field Destination Host enter the host name of the computer where the fax server has been installed. In the field Queue Name you can enter any printer name (i.e. "fax").
HP-9000 (HP/UX)
  • Login as user root.
  • Start the system administrator program sam.
  • Choose the menu Printers and Plotters, Actions and Add Remote Printer.
  • Fill out the dialog box. In the field Remote Printer Name enter the host name of the computer where the fax server has been installed. In the field Queue Name you can enter any printer name (i.e. "fax"). Also enable the option Remote Printer is on a BSD System there.
Other Unix systems (SCO Unix) and Linux
  • To configure a network printer on such systems, have a look at the documentation of your Unix system. Usually a LPD/LPR printer can be created with an entry in the /etc/printcap file in that case. Entries in /etc/printcap are built in the following format:

    printername:\              fax:\
       :rm=hostname:\             :rm=192.168.0.1:\
       :rp=queuename:             :rp=fax:

On some Unix systems (i.e. SCO-Unix) it could also be required that the LPD/LPR protocol needs to be activated before network printers can be used. In the case of SCO-Unix, this can be done with the Unix command "mkdev rlp".

After the network printer has been configured on your Unix system, print jobs can be sent to the fax server with the Unix command "lp". For example, to create a print job with "lp", one of the following Unix commands can be used:

  • lp -dprintername filename
  • cat filename | lp -dprintername

With the Unix command "lpstat -t" or "lpstat -oprintername" the current status of the network printer can be displayed.

ActFax automatically processes the printer commands of HP-LaserJet (PCL), Epson-LQ and optionally Postscript and PDF (requires the add-on software Ghostscript to be installed on the fax server). The formatting of the print jobs sent to the fax server is preserved that way.

More information about the automatic definition of the recipient of a fax in a print job can be found later in this chapter and in the online help of the fax server as well as in the user's manual, available for download in the download area.

Send emails

Sending emails is done exactly the same way as sending faxes, with the only difference that an email address is entered in the recipient field instead of a fax number. The email is sent either in text format or if the document cannot be converted to text format, as a PDF, Tiff or GIF attachment.

The configuration of the email service on the fax server is very simple and you usually just need to configure the host name or IP address of your mail server (SMTP server). If required, it is also possible to automatically do a dialup connection to the Internet through RAS for connections to the mail server.

Automatically specify the recipient of a fax in an own application

With so-called data fields, ActFax offers a simple way to specify all kind of information (i.e. the fax number, subject, priority, etc.) already inside an application. That way, sending fully automated faxes and emails can be done very easily without big effort.

On Windows systems, data fields are usually written directly to the document or added as part of the document name. On Unix and Linux systems, data fields can also be written directly to the document the same way as printer commands. The knowledge of complex programming techniques, like DDE or OLE, is not required in that case, since data fields are a normal part of the document. The fax server automatically processes such data fields and filters them out, so they are not visible in the later fax.

For example to set the recipient's fax number for a fax, you just need to add the data field with the number 211 to the document. To set the subject of the fax, the data field with the number 307 has to be used. For example to send a document with the subject Purchase Order #1234 to the fax number 800-123-4567, add the following two data fields to the document at any position:

  • @F211 800-123-4567@
  • @F307 Purchase Order #1234@

When using data fields on a Windows system, you also need to take care to format the data fields with the "ActiveFax" font, since otherwise the fax server does not detect and process them. For print jobs that are not created through the Windows printer driver (i.e. from Unix or Linux), no special formatting for data fields is required.

Detailed information about adding data fields to print jobs as well as a complete list with all data fields can be found in the online help of the fax server and in the user's manual, available for download in the download area.

On the fax server, there is also an example for data fields used with Windows applications included in the file activefax\Server\Sample.rtf (Windows WordPad document). The file activefax\Server\Sample.txt contains an example for data fields and HP-Laserjet (PCL) printer commands used with documents not directly created with the Windows printer driver (i.e. from Unix or Linux).

Related Links
Did you know that ...
  • ActFax already includes free software updates for two years?
  • the user limit of a license can be increased through the Online Order System?
  • received fax messages can be automatically forwarded by email?