While it might not be quite replete with the number of features
included with RightFAX, GFI FAXmaker measures up with simplicity
of faxing administration and ease of use and installation.
FAXmaker provides the same support for the fax boards that
RightFAX and most other faxing applications do, except you’re
required to download the correct driver from the company’s
Web site at www.gfi.com. Installing the drivers is simple
and can be done after you install FAXmaker.
Upon installation, FAXmaker installs several admin utilities
in the Programs menu: Fax Server, Fax Server Configuration,
Fax Server Monitor, and Queued Faxes.
Running the Fax Server utility starts the Fax server. Fax
Server allows you to enter the Fax Server Configuration, which
you can use to configure fax boards or faxing services on
local and remote computers. It has a debug mode for troubleshooting
any problems you might be having with a specific port. All
debug information is written to a file, which you can view
at your discretion. You can also configure the cover letters
that are available to your users, how documents (such as Word
and Excel) are converted for faxing, and dialing properties.
The Fax Server Monitor (see Figure 4) displays a quick overview
of all the devices currently installed on all your local and
remote fax servers. You can view any error and status messages
for specified ports in the bottom view pane. Another nice
feature available in this tool is the ability to restart a
fax server remotely.
4. Besides using FAXmaker's
Remote FAX Server Monitor to view devices, you can use
it to restart stopped faxing services.
As with the other fax applications, FAXmaker lets you view
faxes that are queued to be sent through the Queued Faxes
admin utility. Once faxes are sent to the fax server, you
can view and modify the faxes on that server. You can use
the utility to set priorities, modify cover pages, and change
One of FAXmaker’s strengths is its integration with
Exchange Server. It does this using an Exchange Connector.
FAXmaker leverages existing Exchange mailboxes (and, therefore,
Windows NT accounts) by allowing you to specify which mailbox
is allowed to send and receive faxes.
Sending a fax from Microsoft Outlook is just as easy. Simply
create a contact with a business fax number, create a mail
message, and click on Send. The message is then routed to
the Exchange server, which then passes it to the FAXmaker
Exchange Connector, to be rendered into a fax and sent. With
other applications you can print to a FAXmaker printer which
will, once again, send the fax to the desired recipients.
There’s a slight variation in how FAXmaker works with
Microsoft Word. FAXmaker ships with two Word macros. The Send
to FAXmaker macro sends to a designated recipient. If the
Word macro doesn’t find the destination fax number in
the document, a dialog appears, asking you for more information.
The Send Mail Merge to FAXmaker macro uses Word’s mail
merge to send faxes to a number of recipients.
FAXmaker includes a basic, yet handy client application,
which you install from the FAXmaker\client directory (see
Figure 5). Using this application, users can choose one or
more fax recipients, create attachments from applications
such as Word and Excel, and choose a cover page.
5. From the FAXmaker client,
users can create faxes with attachments from applications
like Word or Excel.
While FAXmaker might not come with as many “bells and
whistles” as RightFAX, it definitely is worth consideration
when you evaluate fax servers. If the features you desire
are available in FAXmaker, its price point will make it easier
for you to choose it over some of its competitors. The documentation
comes on the CD and the company’s technical support is
Barry Shilmover, MCSE+I, MCT, owns Shilmover Consulting Services, a Microsoft
Solution Provider specializing in Windows NT/2000 and Exchange 5.5/2000 solutions.
He has co-authored books that include Windows 2000 System Administrator’s
Black Book and Exchange 5.5 Exam Cram, both from Coriolis Press.