Standards can be a wonderful thing. In the technology industry, specifications that ensure software or hardware functionality will work in different settings, with different types of architectures, can save significant amounts of time and money. It takes time for such standards to be developed and adopted, but once they are things run a lot more smoothly.
One standard that people tend to take for granted is the PDF document format. This is cross-platform compatible, meaning documents saved as PDFs can be read in Windows or Macintosh — on any computer with Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader installed.
While PDF files are most commonly e-mailed from one person to another in business settings where the layout of a page needs to be preserved, the format has other applications as well. Internet fax is one such example.
When Packetel (News - Alert) designed its Internet fax service, the company considered the best format for document to be sent electronically so that virtually all users could benefit. The company decided to incorporate two options for fax delivery format: PDF and TIFF (an image file format). These are used to deliver fax documents to the user’s e-mail box.
To view multiple-page faxes as they were intended to be seen, Packtel fax users can easily configure their accounts for viewing faxes in the desired format. The user simply logs into his/her account and selects the desired delivery format under the Email/Fax Format Settings tab. The delivery format chosen will dictate what external viewing software is needed to read faxes.
For PDF, that would be Adobe’s Acrobat Reader, a free download. For TIFF format, probably the most common program used (in a Windows environment) is Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.
By choosing the PDF format, users can ensure that faxes work in Windows and Macintosh platforms — the two most commonly used operating systems. TIFF is also pretty universal, although Packetel notes on its Web site that there is no built in TIFF viewer in Mac OS; users can select the NIH Image, Tiff Sight or Graphic Converter utilities to view faxes in TIFF format.
To learn more about the benefits of fax to e-mail, please visit the Internet Fax channel on TMCnet.com, brought to you by Packetel.
Mae Kowalke is senior editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae’s articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.
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