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Turning the Mac into a Fax Machine

If you bought a Mac with a built-in, dialup fax modem, you don't need a dedicated fax machine. Just connect a telephone cord to the Mac's modem jack and you're all set. Unfortunately, the dialup modem is no longer standard on the latest Macs. Instead, it's a USB add-on.

Sending a fax

If you have the Apple modem, you'll appreciate the convenience of computer faxing. You don't have to print a document and go to the trouble of feeding a dedicated fax machine. Instead, you dispatch faxes directly from any program with printing capabilities. Send a fax by following these steps:

1. Open the document you want to fax.

2. Choose File --> Print.

3. Click the PDF button and choose Fax PDF from the pop-up menu.

4. In the To field, type the fax number of the person to whom you want to send the fax, including 1 and the area code.

If you need to access an outside line, add a dialing prefix such as 9 in the appropriate box.

Alternatively, choose an entry from your Address Book by clicking the shadowy silhouette icon to the right of the To field and then double-clicking the card of the contact to whom you want to fax.

5. In the Modem box, select Internet Modem (or whatever) as the means for dispatching your fax.

6. If you want a cover page, select the Use Cover Page option and type a subject line and brief message.

7. If you click the pop-up menu that says Fax Cover Page, you can choose other options to schedule the delivery of your fax or alter the layout.

8. To review the fax before sending it, click the Preview button.

9. Click the Fax button.

You should hear that awful, grinding faxing sound. It's the best evidence that your fax is on its merry way.

Receiving a fax

It makes sense that if a Mac can send a fax, it can receive one too. Make sure that you have an available phone line and that your computer is awake. A Mac in sleep mode cannot receive a fax. Then follow these steps to receive a fax:

1. From System Preferences, choose Print & Fax and then click the Faxing tab.

2. Select the Receive Faxes on This Computer option.

3. Type your fax number in the box.

4. Designate the number of rings before the fax is answered.

Make sure that the computer picks up before an answering machine connected to the same phone line.

5. Choose how you want the incoming fax to be treated:

• Save the fax as a PDF file in the Shared Faxes folder that Apple suggests, or save it to another folder

• Send the fax to a specific email address

• Automatically print the fax

You can accept an incoming fax even if you haven't bothered to set up the system to receive faxes automatically. Go to System Preferences, choose Print & Fax, and click Faxing. Select the Show Fax Status in Menu Bar option. When the phone rings, choose Answer Now from the Fax Status icon in the menu bar.

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