The Benefits of Electronic Faxing


Image Credit: USCPSC

Do you remember when the fax machine first made its appearance? In many ways faxing revolutionized business, allowing contracts and other documents to be quickly transmitted between companies.

A similar revolution occurred when the Internet and email became an active part of business. Instead of faxing a document over the slow telephone lines (and hoping the copy isn’t too grainy for the recipient), documents are now emailed. They can even be signed electronically now, removing the need to ever print anything out on paper.

If the Internet and email changed the way business is done, do you still need a fax machine? Well, yes and no.

Having the capability to fax is still a good idea, especially since not all businesses (or individuals) have the ability to receive files electronically. However, you probably don’t need that old dinosaur of a fax machine taking up space on the desk.

Instead, consider an electronic fax system. Electronic fax bridges the gap between traditional faxing and sending things via email.

While all electronic fax systems are slightly different, they’re all similar as well. To send a fax though one of these systems, typically you send an email with the documents attached to a specified email address (generally [[email protected]]), and then the system converts it, and faxes it to where it’s going.

And that’s one of the benefits of using an electronic fax system, it’s as quick and easy as sending an email. However, other benefits include:

  • Receive faxes electronically – typically in PDF format
  • Less work – no need to scan documents, just save PDF
  • Smaller file sizes (typically)
  • Higher resolution files – no more losing quality because of transmission
  • Higher quality files – no need to print documents on low quality fax machine, further degrading the quality

So if you’d like to reclaim desk space and finally get rid of that clunky old fax machine, consider an electronic fax service.

If you have questions, or would like help determining the best service for your business, give us a call. We have experience with quite a few of the solutions available, and can help determine the best system to use for your needs.

How to Turn Your Signature into a Stamp to Sign Adobe PDF’s

One of the greatest things about technology is that it has enabled us to do just about everything more quickly, including conducting business. Signing contracts and other documents 20+ years ago involved mailing the items, or a trip to wherever to sign them in person, but now we can just fax or email the documents, and print, sign, scan, and return them just as quickly.

However, even that process is still a bit clumsy. Did you know there was a better way?

Setup your signature as a stamp in Adobe, and forget about printing and rescanning your document. Instead, sign them digitally, and save yourself some hassle.

Creating a Signature Stamp in Adobe Acrobat

Here’s what you’ll need to turn your signature into a digital stamp:

  • Adobe Acrobat Pro
  • Paper – Blank and unlined
  • Pen – Black ink preferred
  • Scanner
  • Photo editing software

In order to use the stamp function, you must have the full version of Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer. One way to quickly tell is to look for the word PRO in the title. If you see it, you have the full version.

Grab the paper and pen, and sign the paper. Practice your signature in a few different places so that you can use the one that looks the best. Make sure to space out your signatures, so that you have enough “white space” to adequately crop it later.

If you initial a lot of documents, make a stamp out of your initials using the same procedure outlined above. You can even write the two on the same paper.

When done, scan the paper. Then, open the scanned copy in your favorite photo editing software. (I like Photoshop, but you could use any software that can crop photos.) Crop your favorite signature, and save it as a .JPG file. Do the same thing for your initials, if needed.

Creating Adobe StampsNow, open Adobe

Acrobat. On the bar across the top, at the far right are the words “Tools,” “Comments,” and “Share.” Click on Comments, go to Add a Stamp > Custom Stamps, and click on Manage Stamps.

The Select Image for Custom Stamp window will appear. Click on the Browse button, and locate the JPG file of your signature. Once selected, a preview of your image will appear. If it is the image you want to use, click OK, otherwise, click Browse and locate a better image. Click OK when done.

Then, the Create Custom Stamp window appears. From the Category drop down, select “Sign Here.” Give your stamp a nickname by typing a name into the Name Field. By default, “down sample stamp to reduce file size” is checked, leave it check and click OK. Repeat the process for any additional stamps you need to create.

How to Use a Stamp in Adobe Acrobat

Accessing Adobe StampsTo use your stamp, open a PDF. Go to Comment, in the top right, and click on the drop down next to the stamp tool. On the menu, go to Sign Here, and your recently created signature will appear at the bottom.

Click on your signature, then click on signature line of the PDF. Your signature will appear. Resize as necessary to fit the document.

Important Tip!: It’s not enough to save your document after it’s signed. You flatten the image prior to saving, so that the recipient cannot change the document, or move or copy your signature.

To flatten the document prior to saving, go to Layers (located on the right, under the paperclip). If Layers is not shown, go to View (at the top), Show / Hide, Navigation Pane, Layers. Then, click Layers on the right to access the menu.

From the Layers menu, select Flatten Image, then save your document. Now it’s ready to send to whomever you’d like.

Microsoft Outlook Shortcut Keys

Microsoft Outlook

Image Credit: Microsoft Corporation

We may have written a few articles about common shortcut keys for various software, but it seems we missed Outlook. Since it is one of the more commonly used software for business email, we thought we’d take the time to share some keyboard shortcuts that will help you get around quicker, and get more out of Outlook.

Here are a few of our favorite shortcuts.

Note: * Denotes commonly used shortcuts for PC software.

  • Arrow Keys: Move throughout the navigation pane.
  • Left / Right Arrow Keys: Collapse / expand a group in the e-mail message list.
  • ALT + . (period): Opens the Address Book with the To: field selected.
  • ALT + B: Opens the Address Book with the BCC: field selected.
  • ALT + C: Select message recipients for CC: field.
  • ALT + D: Switch to Daily Calendar view.
  • ALT + E: Open the Edit drop down menu.
  • ALT + F: Open the File drop down menu.
  • ALT + K: Check names in the To:, CC:, or BCC: field against the Address Book. Note: Cursor must be in the corresponding field to check contacts.
  • ALT + L: Reply All, in an open message.
  • ALT + M: Switch to Monthly Calendar view.
  • ALT + R: Reply / Switch to Work Week Calendar view.
  • ALT + S: Sends an open message.
  • ALT + Y: Switch to Daily Calendar view.
  • ALT + F4: Close the active window.
  • CTRL + 1: Switch to Mail.
  • CTRL + 2: Switch to Calendar.
  • CTRL + 3: Switch to Contacts.
  • CTRL + 4: Switch to Tasks.
  • CTRL + 5: Switch to Notes
  • CTLR + 6: Switch to Folder list in Navigation Pane.
  • CTLR + 7: Switch to Shortcuts.
  • CTRL +A: Select all. *
  • CTRL + B: Bold selected text. *
  • CTRL + C: Copy selected text. *
  • CTRL + D: Delete an item (message, task, contact, etc.)
  • CTRL + F: Forward an item, must have a message open.
  • CTRL + J: Open a new Journal Entry for the selected item (message, task, contact, etc.)
  • CTRL + M: Send / Receive All.
  • CTRL + O: Open selected item. *
  • CTRL + P: Print selected item. Opens Print dialogue box. *
  • CTRL + Q: Mark the selected message as Read.
  • CTRL + R: Reply to selected / open message.
  • CTRL + T: Tab.
  • CTRL + U: Mark selected message as unread.
  • CTRL + V: Paste cut / copied information. *
  • CTRL + X: Cut selected information. *
  • CTRL + Y: Go to folder.
  • CTRL + , (comma): Switch to the next item. Note: must have an item open to use this command.
  • CTRL + . (period): Switch to previous item. Note: must have an item open to use this command.
  • CTRL + Shift + Tab (or F6): Switch between the Folder List and the main Outlook window.
  • CTRL + Shift + A: Open a new Appointment.
  • CTRL + Shift + B: Opens the Address Book.
  • CTRL + Shift + C: Create a new contact.
  • CTRL + Shift + E: Open a new folder.
  • CTRL + Shift + G: Flag selected message for follow up.
  • CTRL + Shift + J: Open a new Journal Entry.
  • CTRL + Shift + K: Open a new Task.
  • CTRL + Shift + L: Open a new Distribution List.
  • CTRL + Shift + M: Open a new Message.
  • CTRL + Shift + N: Open a new Note.
  • CTRL + Shift + O: Switch to the Outbox.
  • CTRL + Shift + P: Open the New Search Folder window.
  • CTRL + Shift + Q: Open a new Meeting Request.
  • CTRL + Shift + S: Open a new Discussion.
  • CTRL + Shift + U: Open a new Task Request.
  • CTRL + Shift + Y: Copy a folder.
  • Tab: Move throughout the navigation pane and reading pane in Outlook.
  • + or -: Expand or collapse a folder or selected group in the Navigation Pane.
  • F7: Spellcheck
  • F9: Send / Receive all.
  • F12: Save As.

If you want to learn shortcut keys for other software, checkout our other shortcut posts:

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who wants to help you use your technology smarter and faster. Email: [email protected]. Website: