View more on these topics

Winfax going beyond basics

In the past 15 years, the fax machine has become an essential part of almost every office although email has the potential to replace the fax.

As a communication medium, few companies would want to be without such facilities for the time being.

Anyone with a personal computer and a modem effectively has their own dedicated fax machine built into the operating system.

Windows for Work groups, Windows 95 and Windows NT all contain the Microsoft fax software, which can be used to send and receive faxes from your own desktop.

Useful though they are, these are basic tools. For anyone looking for more powerful fax software, there is one product that is by far the market leader – WinFax

Its developer, Symantec, specialises in supplying tools to help users get more out of their computers. Norton Anti-Virus, Act, CrashGuard, Utilities and PC Anywhere are all products which have major benefits for IFAs and which I hope to have time to look at in more detail during this year.

Over the past couple of years, I have come to the conclusion that there are major advantages in obtaining all your additional desktop productivity tools from a single supplier and my first choice is always those on offer from Norton. There is a very simple reason for this. Desktop tools of this type can have a tendency to interrupt the way your system works. For example, provided that you can trust the supplier, it can be a good idea to turn off anti-virus software when installing applications.

If you use desktop tools from multiple suppliers, I have found that, frequently, they can conflict with each other, causing as many problems as they solve. By focusing on a single software developer for products of this type, this risk is substantially reduced.

WinFax provides a feature- rich package. To be fair, it is no longer accurate to describe it as just fax software. It is a full telephone application, including voicemail, multiple voice mailboxes and support for caller ID facilities.

A cover-page design wizard makes it easy to create your own company&#39s fax cover sheets, including logos and other personalisation, in minutes. There is also a library of pre-formatted fax cover sheets to cover virtually every situation, which can also be adapted to include company logos and other stationery features.

If you have created your company letterhead as a template from within your word processor, any document can be faxed straight from your PC.

A word of warning at this point. Logo and other graphics in letterheads can take up big amounts of disk space. The IFA Promotion logo is a classic example. If you are going to use letterhead templates to create documents, it will probably be worth saving the actual word- processing file without the letterhead elements unless you want to use a big amounts of disk space on each document.

When using your PC to receive as well as send faxes, you do not have to have the whole WinFax package running, taking up valuable system resources. As part of the installation routing, WinFax creates a controller which is a cut-down version that sits on your desktop and can happily receive faxes, voicemails and so on, without interrupting your other work. When a fax or message is received, a small icon appears on your toolbar and you can view it when ready.

Having received your fax, you may want to take elements of the message, pass them on to your client or include them in a report. Using the built-in Optical Character Recognition (OCR) facilities, you can convert the received fax into an editable word-processing document, thus avoiding having to retype the contents.

WinFax is an ideal package for anyone wanting to create and manage faxes in a highly efficient way. If a client calls you and asks you to resend the fax you sent three weeks ago, you no longer have to get the file out to do so, walk to the fax machine and manually send it. Just find the previous fax image on your system and in a couple of mouse clicks it is arriving with the client.

To get the best out of WinFax, it is probably best to have a small scanner attached to your PC so that you can send attachments to files.

Personal scanners which work by feeding the document through the scanner can be acquired for under £100.

WinFax sells for around £70 in the retail channel although many modems come with a free copy of WinFax Lite. You can then upgrade to the full product for about £40. If you want to upgrade your modem to a faster speed, this may be worth exploring at the same time.


Bed and breakfasting off the menu

The Government is clamping down on the practice of bed and breakfasting shares to reduce capital gains tax bills. Bed and breakfasting involves selling shares at the end of business one day and buying them back at the start of business the next day. The Government says any shares sold and repurchased within 30 days […]

Property fund axed by ScotEq

Scottish Equitable has ditched its £10m property fund and invested its clients in Norwich Union&#39s Property unit trust. The life office has written to pension policyholders invested in the fund to explain the highly irregular move. ScotEq claims the fund was too small to make it financially viable to manage and also says it does […]

Model route to better T&C

An industry that nurtures active debate over its important issues must surely be a healthy one. Measured by that yardstick, our own industry is showing pleasingly robust signs of life. One of the more hotly debated areas of recent years is that of training and competence and its role in developing professional standards within the […]

Life offices feel let down by ABI over Comps challenge

Life offices have slammed the ABI for failing to challenge the Government&#39s decision to slash rebates for contracted-out money-purchase pension schemes. The Department of Social Security revealed last month it is to increase Serps&#39 rebates for appropriate personal pensions in April 1999 following the Budget cut in tax credits on dividends. But pension experts have […]

Responsibility Matters

The latest update from the Sustainable Investments Team at Royal London Asset Management, Responsibility Matters, is now available. In this edition the team look at issues such as the growing acceptance of sustainable investing and technology in China. Read the update here: The value of investments and the income from them is not guaranteed and […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers. Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and thought leadership.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm