Equisys technical notes

Technical guidance, explanations and fixes for our products

FIX: Sent faxes are entirely black



ID: ZTN2103

This Zetafax technical note applies to:

  • Zetafax version 17.0 and earlier


When using Zetafax with a fax-enabled application, all pages of all faxes sent from the application are black.

This affects every page of all sent faxes (except the fax coversheet page, if added by the Zetafax Server), as shown in the following typical screenshot.


The issue affects systems where one or more of the following applies:

  • The system does not include the Document Rendering licence add-on
  • The configuration settings have been changed after installation to exclude graphics files from rendering by the Zetafax DOCTIFF program
  • Rendering of graphics files by the DOCTIFF program is failing for some unrelated reason

Further information

Zetafax uses two different mechanisms for converting graphics files into the correct format for sending: the DOCTIFF document rendering engine, and a graphics library.  DOCTIFF supports a wide range of graphics and document file formats, but is only enabled for graphics file conversion on systems with the Document Rendering add-on installed.

When a fax is submitted using the Zetafax Automation Toolkit, the Zetafax Server converts the image file if necessary, using DOCTIFF if the Document Rendering add-on is licenced, or the graphics library otherwise.

This issue occurs if the image file format supplied by the fax-enabled application is not supported by the Zetafax graphics library, and the Zetafax system has not been configured to convert files using DOCTIFF.


If the supplied fax image file is supported by the DOCTIFF document rendering engine, then the issue can be resolved as follows:

  1. Confirm that the system includes the Document Rendering licence add-on.  Run the Zetafax Configuration program, display the license details, and then check that the license description includes the word “Rendering”.  If this is not included, you should contact Equisys to obtain a Document Rendering add-on license, then install this on the Zetafax system.
  2. Confirm that the SETUP.INI file [DOCTIFF] section does not contain an “Exclude” setting line for TIFF format files.  Using a text editor such as Notepad, open file SETUP.INI (in the folder zfax\SYSTEM\Z-DB), then scroll down to the [DOCTIFF] section.  Locate the “Exclude” line with value 1501 (TIFF).  If the line does not start with a semi-colon comment character, then add one to the start of the line so it looks like this:

    ;Exclude: 1501    ; TIFF

  3. Confirm that the DOCTIFF program is not displaying any errors when rendering (converting) the fax before sending.  Check the message display in the Zetafax Server Monitor program, or inspect the file SERVER.LOG, and confirm that there are no errors reported.  If there are errors then you should resolve these then check that this issue has been corrected.

An update is available for Zetafax to stops the Zetafax Server using the graphics library to convert the image file if DOCTIFF encounters and error.  This update is recommended for customers who have experienced this issue.


This issue is caused by an incompatibility between the image file format used by the fax-enabled application and Zetafax, and can be corrected by following the steps described above.

Last updated: 14th April 2016 (GW) 

Keywords: API, McKesson, Cardiology, predictor, horizontal, differencing, black fax

Equisys Logo, Document Management and Expense Management for Business Central

Replaced by script