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Home > Printers > Fax Machines > Glossary

Fax Machine



Activity Report - A printed report of a fax machine's incoming and outgoing transactions. The activity report may be printed automatically or manually at a specified interval. Information may include date and time of transmission, the fax number/name, duration, number of pages, result, errors incurred and comment.

Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) - This attachment automatically feeds one page at a time to the printer, allowing users to step away while the printer completes a job.


Bits Per Second (BPS) - A measure of the speed at which a device, such as a modem, can transfer bits of data.

Bluetooth - Bluetooth is an industrial specification for wireless Personal Area Networks. This allows your computer or wireless device to communicate with your bluetooth enabled multifunction printer.

Brightness - This adjustment allows you to control the lightness and darkness of any image. Brightness is measured by the total percentage of light reflected.

Broadcast Faxing - This feature allows you to send one fax to multiple users.


Call Back Message - A call back message sends a fax and then leaves a message for the recipient to call.

CNG - Calling tones sent during automatic fax transmissions that tell the receiving machine that the sender is a fax machine.

Collation - Collation allows you to print multiple projects in the correct order. Also reffered to as "ordered printing".

Connectivity - Connectivity refers to the method by which you connect your printer to your computer. These connectivity options include USB, FireWire, Parallel and Ethernet.

Contrast - A manual adjustment on a fax machine that compensates for very dark or very light documents by lightening dark documents and darkening light documents.

Copy Weight - This refers to the minimum and maximum paper weight that your printer can handle.

Cost Per Page - This is the total cost of each page printed. Things like ink cartridges, other consumables and media cost is all factored in to give you a per page estimate of cost.

Cover Page - Received and printed at other party's machine, the cover page contains the sender and recipient's name and fax number, number of pages and comment. You can generate an electronic cover page at the other end with pre-programmed information from memory, or you can print a sample cover page to fax with your document.


Daily Timer - A function that lets you program a fax to be sent at a certain time.

Document Feeder - A device which feeds documents into a fax machine without operator assistance.

Dots Per Inch (DPI) - Dpi is an abbreviation for dots per inch. A measurement of print resolution, dpi indicates how many individual dots a device can create on a page per square inch of area. Dpi is typically listed as horizontal resolution by vertical resolution; the higher the dpi, the better the resolution.

Drivers - This software allows your computer to communicate with your printer to produce quality, accurate prints.

Dual Access - This feature simultaneously performs two functions at once. It can scan one document into memory as it prints, receives, or transmits another.

Duty Cycle - This is the number of pages that a printer is designed to handle per month.


Electronic Phone Directory - All of the pre-programmed phone numbers in your fax machine will now be accessible through the display of the machine. Search or scroll methods are available for ease of dialing ability.

Extension Phone Transfer - The ability to transfer a fax call from an extension phone to the facsimile unit by entering a 2 or 3-digit code.


Fax Modem Speed - This refers to the speed at which data is transferred over a traditional phone line. Most of today's multifunction fax units include a 33.6 Kbps fax modem speed.

FireWire - High-speed external connection used for connecting peripherals, also referred to as "IEEE 1394".

Font - A set of printing characters that share the same distinctive appearance. Fonts are used on your computer to display text on your monitor and print documents on your printer.


Grayscale - Similar to color bit depth, refers to the number of bits used to store information about levels of gray.


IEEE 1284 Standard - This is the design specification for parallel cables. Recent printers with parallel ports require cables that meet this specification.

Ink Jet - A technology that sprays ink onto the paper through tiny nozzles.


JPEG - Usually carries the file extension .jpg. The current favorite image format among Web surfers and graphics professionals, JPEG images are highly compressed to save more space than a BMP or GIF file.


LCD - "Liquid Crystal Display" provides information to the operator when either using or programming the facsimile unit.


Maximum Original Size - Largest size paper that can be put through the machine.

Memory Transmission - The storage of documents in memory for transmitting when the phone line is available or at a user-defined time.

Modem - A device found in all facsimile equipment. At the transmitting end it converts a digital signal to an analog signal, and at the receiving end it reconverts the analog signal to a digital signal.


Optical Resolution - This number is the best indicator of the overall image quality of any scanner. If the resolution is 2400 dpi it will be listed as either 2400 dpi or 2400 x 2400 dpi. When comparing scanners that have two numbers listed in the resolution, the lower of the two will be a more accurate representation of the scanners ability (for example, a 1200 x 2400 dpi scanner would be considered a 1200 dpi scanner).


Page Memory - For multifunctions with fax, this refers to the number of pages the fax will save after they are sent. Typically this is 99 pages or less.

Paper Capacity - Defines how much paper any given paper tray can handle.

Paper Handling - This refers to the number of pages that a printer can store prior to printing. It also usually details how this paper is handled (document feeder, tray, automatic document feeder, etc.).

PC-Fax Interface - A built-in interface allows users to send faxes directly from most Windows applications, receive faxes into their PC, fax broadcast to multiple locations and custom design fax cover pages.

Polling - A feature which permits a fax machine to call another machine and request it to transmit documents. Pages must be left in the document feeder or in memory and the polling unit must have the passcode of the unit it is calling.

PPM - Pages per minute, usually abbreviated as PPM. A measurement of printer speed, indicating how many finished pages a printer can produce in 60 seconds. PPM speeds are typically listed for both monochrome only and color documents.

Print Server - A computer completely dedicated to supporting a network printer. The server's system RAM and hard drive are used to store print jobs in the queue, and print jobs can be reordered, paused, or deleted from the server's keyboard.

Printhead - In an inkjet device, the print head contains the printer's ink cartridges and the nozzles that control the flow of ink. This electro-mechanical functionality allows the delivery of ink dots.

Processor - High perfomance laser printer and multifunction units sometimes have an integrated processor. This allows the printer to deliver a higher PPM.


RAM - Random Access Memory, usually abbreviated as RAM. RAM built into your printer can store data from a print job temporarily until the printer is ready to print the data.

Resolution - Resolution refers to the individual number of samples that are taken in the space of one inch. This is commonly referred to as dpi (dots per inch) or spi (samples per inch). In fax, the resolution is expressed in the number of lines per inch scanned and recorded, such as normal, fine and superfine.

RGB - Red Green Blue. All colors defined as percentages of red, green, and blue. Varying percentages of these colors create all colors seen in the full color spectrum. To help understand the concept of RGB, look very closely at a color TV screen (not too long though, remember what Mom always said...), and see that the color is comprised of a variation or combination of individually colored dots (like pixels).


Serial Interface - Can transfer only one bit of information in one direction at a time but can transmit data over greater distances.

Substitute Reception - Also called paper-out reception to memory, this feature allows documents to be automatically received into memory when the unit runs out of paper. Some models also allow documents to be received into memory when other supplies, such as ink or toner, are depleted.


Thermal Dye Sublimation - Dyes are infused into the paper which will create slightly blurry edges. However, these images are less susceptible to fading and distortion over time.

Turnaround Polling - Allows the unit to send and receive documents on one phone call with the same remote unit. The remote unit must have the document in its feeder tray or in memory.


USB - Universal Serial Bus. An input/output (I/O) bus capable of data transfer at 12 megabits (1.5 megabytes) used for connecting peripherals to a microprocessor. Typically, each device connected to a computer uses its own port. USB can connect up to 127 peripherals through a single port by daisy-chaining the peripherals together. USB devices may be hot plugged, which means that power does not have to be turned off to connect or disconnect a peripheral. It is expected that USB will become a primary means of connection in IBM-compatible PCs. Most major hardware, software, and telecommunications providers support USB.


Wireless Print Server - Allows any wireless device on your network to communicate with your printer. Direct traffic when you're printing from multiple sources.


Zoom - "Zoom" reduction or enlargement modes may be selected by the operator in 1% increments. Magnification percentages (+/-) typically range from 65% to 155%.

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