Introduction

CopiaFacts offers a variety of ways to send ASCII files by fax. In the first place, many of the supported fax boards have the capability to convert ASCII files on the fly. This may also include the ability to include image 'strips' as well as blocks of text. The fonts available for rendering ASCII files are limited to those supplied by the board manufacturer, and are generally based on an 'IBM PC OEM' character set.

In addition, CopiaFacts provides facilities in the CF8GCOVER library (normally used for graphical customization) to convert ASCII files into TIF. This is now the default.

Files with extensions .TXT, .ASC, or .CVR are always treated as ASCII files. Other files with extensions not otherwise recognized are treated as ASCII if they start with a block of mainly ASCII characters.  If you define a variable VALID_ASCII_EXTS containing a white-space-separated set of file extensions (each with a leading '.') only these ASCII files will be accepted and others will be rejected.

Fax-Board ASCII conversion - Brooktrout

Four font files are provided by Brooktrout, and since the format is published it is theoretically possible to create new font files. ASCII files may be specified either as a cover-sheet template on a $fax_cover command or on a $fax_filename command. In a cover-sheet template, graphics strips may be included by including a line in one of the two following formats:

@@/pathname@@/

*INC:pathname

The double at-sign is needed because CopiaFacts variables are expanded in a cover-sheet ASCII file. The pathname must reference an image file in faxable TIF or JT-Fax format. The font and margins to be used are specified on an $ascii_font command, or the font can also be overridden by a token FONTn in the $fax_filename 'group' parameter.

CopiaFacts cannot determine in advance where the page breaks will occur, and so the total number of pages is not available at the time the cover sheet is processed or when the fax header line is set up.

Fax-Board ASCII conversion - Dialogic VFX/40

A default ASCII font is provided by Dialogic. An alternate Katakana font is available which can be selected in the Dialogic installer.

Included graphics in ASCII files are not directly supported but a transmitted page can have a graphical top section and/or bottom section which are implemented by CopiaFacts using the syntax *INC:pathname, which must appear as the first or the last line in the text file.

CopiaFacts cannot determine in advance where the page breaks will occur, and so the total number of pages is not available at the time the cover sheet is processed or when the fax header line is set up.

CopiaFacts Emulation of Brooktrout ASCII Conversion (not supported in CopiaFacts version 8)

Setting the run-time option pre-convert ASCII files in COPIAFACTS causes the program to pre-convert ASCII files to TIFF, before they are passed to the Brooktrout board. This has the advantage that the number of pages in the resulting TIFF file are known in time to show them on the fax header line or on a separate cover page. However the process does not support image embedding in the ASCII page as described above.

This option uses the Brooktrout fonts specified in the BTCALL.CFG file and is therefore only supported on systems which include Brooktrout fax boards. There are system variables (BT_...) to specify the page sizes and margins.

If ASCII_TEMPLATE (see below) is explicitly specified (in the configuration, user or FS file, or in a pre-process infobox), then the pre-convert option is ignored for the call.

CopiaFacts built-in ASCII Conversion

CopiaFacts can convert ASCII files to text format using an 'ASCII-template' graphical customization file (.GTT). This pathname of this file should be specified as the value of the control variable ASCII_TEMPLATE, either in a UJP or USR file (for all transmissions) or in an FS file (for an individual transmission). This feature is enabled by setting a value for this variable which is a valid pathname with .GTT (or .GCT) extension.

If the ASCII_TEMPLATE variable is not explicitly defined, it is assumed to have been set to AT_LTR_1.GTT in the USA locale and to AT_A4_1.GTT elsewhere.  Set it to a value of none to disable this feature.  This will only work if your fax board/port directly supports ASCII files: Dialogic Diva boards, BladeWare SIP and Sangoma, and Fax Modem do not.

Four sample ASCII-template files are provided in the CopiaFacts Application Data folder (AT_*.GTT). Each contains either one or two pages, containing a large annotation into which the ASCII file is flowed line by line.  Overlong lines are truncated to fit the field, unless the variable ASCII_WRAP is set to a non-empty value, which will cause them to be word-wrapped. The last page of the template is either omitted or replicated, depending on the number of lines in the ASCII file. The annotation specifies the font and size in the normal way. The filename for each annotation's include file is specified as @ASCII_FILE, and this variable is set automatically by the engine when each file is processed using the ASCII-template file.

If ASCII_WRAP is defined as a non-empty value, you must either ensure that the text will fit within a page, or else insert your own formfeed (ASCII 12) characters into the text to force page breaks appropriately.

If ASCII_LANDSCAPE is defined as 90 or 270 the text will be rotated anti-clockwise by the specified number of degrees before it is placed into the field. An example is provided in FaxFacts\Samples\ASCII_LANDSCAPE, and described in the Examples section.

If ASCII_NO_EXPAND is defined as a non-empty value, it suppresses expansion of all variables in the text. By default, ASCII conversion treats the word following an @ sign as a variable and attempts to expand it.

The sample annotations with two pages leave room on the first page for a logo or heading. If the ASCII file fits entirely on the first page, the second page is omitted. If the ASCII file does not fit in the supplied pages, the last page is replicated.

This method of creating faxes from ASCII files is the only one supported for the Dialogic Diva Server boards, TE-Systems ports, Fax Modems and BladeWare.

Showing Page Count

It is possible to show the page number on either the cover sheet or in the fax header line only when the fax pages have been preconverted, either using Brooktrout emulation or with the CopiaFacts built-in ASCII conversion. The system variable @TPAGES will provide this value, which is used when the fax has been assembled but before the cover sheet is rendered. If the fax-board conversion of ASCII pages is used, each ASCII file will count as one page in @TPAGES irrespective of the number of pages that actually result from the conversion.

Fonts for ASCII Text

With conversions of ASCII text performed using either board-provided or emulated facilities, the font will have been designed so that it looks the same when rendered at low-resolution as at high resolution. The same is not true when you use standard Windows fonts, which will first be rendered effectively in high resolution and converted to low-res, if specified. This conversion may occasionally either lose or thicken details of the character glyphs especially in small point sizes. It is recommended that this method of conversion should use high-resolution, and the provided sample ASCII template .GTT files are all designed with high-resolution watermark files to ensure a high resolution output file.