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Faxing with Mac OS X Panther

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A fax machine is hidden away inside your Macintosh, and it's sure not easy to find. Whether you want to send faxes or to receive them, Mac OS X 10.3 Panther has you covered. Learn how.
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One of the great new features that Apple added to Mac OS X in version 10.3 (Panther) is the ability to send and receive faxes. Although a Mac equipped with a fax/modem has always been able to send and receive faxes, third-party software is no longer necessary to do the job. Best of all, the faxing capabilities work seamlessly with Apple's Address Book application, making it very easy to send faxes to people in your address book. Just a few clicks does the job.

In this article, I'll explain how you can use Mac OS X and your internal fax/modem to fax documents to people. I'll also tell you how you can configure Mac OS X to answer the phone and receive faxes for you if you don't have a dedicated fax machine.

Get Connected

Before you can send or receive a fax, you must connect your Mac's modem port to a telephone line. You do this with a standard telephone cable.

I won't go into detail on this step. If you've ever connected a telephone to a jack on the wall, you already know enough to get this job done. But I do want to point out that the Ethernet port on your Mac looks a lot like a phone jack; it's just bigger. Make sure that you plug your telephone line into the modem port. It should be a snug fit. You'll hear a "snap!" when it's right.

If you only have one telephone line (like I do), you can use a line splitter from a store such as RadioShack to turn the single telephone jack in the wall into a double jack. Use one cable to plug in your phone and another cable to plug in your computer. Just remember that you won't be able to send or receive faxes while you're on the phone.

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