Thursday, July 23, 2009

Print to Fax

Our Toshiba eStudio series printer has the capability to print directly to fax. While the technology is cool, I think it is lacking a few features that I would like to see.

The user experience is pretty solid. When they are looking at something on their screen they want to fax, just act like you are printing it, select the Fax Printer from your printers list, enter the phone number, select a generic cover letter, enter the rest of the properties for the cover letter and fire away. Another neat little feature is the address book it has for faxing information. All of this is integrated into our AD domain, so I can shell out the driver from a windows print server and not have to worry about running around with a CD to everyones computer.

While its all fine and dandy, here are the shortcomings that I ran into. The AD integration works great, however, th little address book tool must be installed on each individual PC. The address book is also lacking the capability to integrate with my outlook/exchange account to pull my local contacts. It will integrate through MAPI to my Global Address List in AD, but that doesn't help since we do not store customer or vendor information in AD. This also eliminates the LDAP connector as well. I would like to have a centralized version of the address book for the 'private version' and/or have full integration with exchange/outlook local address books.

Another part that I found a bit annoying was the coversheets. I wish we could take an existing word document, insert special fields into the word document so that the printer can do a replace on those fields with the appropriate information field and give us the ability to do a custom coversheet.

If those features were available it would make faxing just that much smoother in my environment. People could either populate an existing shared address book in the domain and/or have the ability to use their local contacts in outlook/exchange to use for faxing. We would also be able to use our custom GCA coverletter for the faxing as well.

I can't really complain though, its an upgrade for sure. Just wish printing companies could keep up with network technologies a little better.

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