In my last post, I talked about how to integrate SMTP emails to send faxes. In this one I am going to cover the ability for GFI FAXmaker to send faxes directly from a document. This is possible through the NetPrintQueue2Fax (“NPQ2F”) feature of GFI FAXmaker. What makes this feature so special is its ability to work like a mail merge to send bulk faxes with very little user interaction.
First let’s talk about how it works. NetPrintQueue2Fax is a printer driver that is installed on the fax server. This is shared by default and allows client computers to install the shared driver to their machines. In order for a document to successfully send as a fax with NPQ2F it must contain some text indicating that whatever follows it is a fax number and should be used for sending. By default and for all examples here, we will use the word ‘fax:’ in our document to indicate what fax number should be used.
As you can see from the example above, we have ‘fax:’ followed by a fax number. At this point the document (while very basic) is ready to be printed and sent out as a fax. A benefit here is that end users are already familiar with how to print documents and this is no different. This document could easily be updated to include better formatting and a more professional look but this is designed to get you started and understand the basics.
At this point you might be saying, “Well, this is great but what if I want to send more than one fax from a document?” If you are using Microsoft Word, you can use the mail merge feature which can turn 1 document into many. This is possible because this document is created with variables which get updated when you link to a backend database. This in turn creates multiple documents from a single source which means you can send similar blasts of faxes to different customers from one document.
The only addition to the document you will need to add is the end of page delimiter – ‘@#’. This delimiter will let GFI FAXmaker know that the page has ended and a new page is about to begin. This delimiter needs to be at the bottom of your document. When the mail merge occurs, the delimiter will repeat itself and indicate a new page will begin after it.
More information about the NetPrintQueue2Fax feature can be found here:
You can also try out some example files here (ignore any errors or warnings when first opening the Word Document):
For Word 2003:
To get started open the Word Doc (disregard any errors that come up) and select Tools > Letters and Mailings > Mail Merge.
- Choose letters
- Use the current document
- Use an existing list, and then ‘Browse’ for the Excel File downloaded above. Choose Sheet1$ and click ok.
- This step can be skipped if desired
- Preview the document with all recipients
- Complete the merge
For Word 2007:
Click Mailings > Start Mail Merge > Step By Step Mail Merge Wizard. This wizard will be similar to the 2003 steps above and guide you through the merge process.
At this point you now have an example of a test document that could be used with NetPrintQueue2Fax to send multiple faxes from 1 document.
NOTE: Do not print to the NetPrintQueue2Fax printer driver unless you really want these test documents to be sent out or attempted to be sent out. The numbers are not real and could clog up your actual fax server with fake faxes. These examples are intended as a guide ONLY.
You can see this in action through a GFI 3×3 at our Knowledge Base here: http://kbase.gfi.com/showarticle.asp?id=KBID003650 or in the video below.
In the third and final post of the series I’ll be explaining the use of GFI FAXmaker’s APIs.