Send a fax

If youíre using Windows 95, you can send a fax by performing 5 steps.Ö

Step 1: type what you want to fax

Start using your favorite word-processing program (such as Wordpad or Microsoft Word). Type the document that you want to fax.

Step 2: say you want to fax it

While the documentís still on the screen, do this: from the File menu, choose Print.

You see a box called Name. Make that box say Microsoft Fax (by clicking the down-triangle thatís next to the box, then clicking Microsoft Fax). Press ENTER.

If you havenít faxed before, hereís what happens:

The computer says "Inbox Setup Wizard". Press ENTER twice. The computer says "Enter your name and fax number". Your name is already filled in, so just type your return fax number. Thatís the phone number of your modem or whatever fax machine you own. If you donít want to receive any faxes, type your regular (voice) number. Press ENTER twice.

The computer says "Compose New Fax". If the computer says "Iím dialing from", press ENTER.

Step 3: say where to send the fax

The computer says "To". Type the name of the person youíre sending the fax to, press the TAB key three times, type the area code of the person youíre sending the fax to, press the TAB key, and type the rest of the phone number of the person youíre sending the fax to.

If the person youíre dialing is in your area code but the call is not local, click the "Dial area code" box, which makes the computer dial 1 before the number.

Click the "Add to List" button. (If you wish to send copies of the fax to more people, fill in the name and fax number of the second person, click the "Add to List" button again, and do the same for each additional person.)

Press ENTER twice.

Step 4: finish the fax process

The computer says "Subject". Type a phrase that summarizes what your fax is about (such as "want to order your toilets") and press ENTER. Press ENTER again.

The computer sends the fax!

Step 5: reset the computer

Now that the fax has been sent, reset your computer to do normal printing instead of faxing. Hereís how:

From File menu, choose Print. You see the Print window. Make its Name box say the name of your printer instead of Microsoft Fax (by clicking the down-triangle thatís next to the box, then clicking your printerís name). Close the Print window (by clicking its X box).

Receive a fax

You can make your computer receive faxes, but donít. The fax-receiving software is hard to set up. To receive a fax, you must let that software run continually, scanning for incoming faxes. That software consumes lots of RAM and lots of the computerís attention, so that all your other software runs slower or refuses to run at all! Moreover, you must leave your computer on continuously, 24 hours, unless you know what time of day your faxes will arrive.

If youíre planning to receive lots of faxes, buy a fax machine instead! You can buy a fax machine for under $200 from discount dealers.

For example, a company called A Fair Fax sells a bottom-of-the-line Murata fax machine (model 620) for just $110. Phone New York at 800-499-1998, but beware: the company does not offer a true money-back guarantee.

Another advantage of a fax machine is that it lets you instantly send articles and pictures that youíve found in newspapers, magazines, and books ó without forcing you to type or scan that info into your computer.