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Document Rendering

In order to be sent as a fax, a document, email, or submit file must be converted into a TIFF image compatible with one of the Group 3 Faxing standards. This process is referred to as rendering.


There are two areas where rendering may occur:


Client-side rendering: this covers methods which perform the conversion on the client machine. All client-side rendering involves the use of printers.

Server-side rendering: this covers methods which perform the conversion on the Zetafax Server. This includes methods based on the Mail Rendering Subsystem printer and the document conversion add-on (DOCTIFF).


This guide describes all the rendering methods available in Zetafax, and concludes with a table summarizing the features they offer.


More information


Client-side rendering


All client-side rendering methods use printers to convert the fax into a file format the Zetafax Server can handle. To render a document on the client, you print it to one of the following printers:


Zetafax Printer. This printer is available on all operating systems except NT4 Terminal Server. It performs the following tasks:

Converts files directly to G3F (Group 3 TIFF format)

Processes embedded addressing information

Can open the Zetafax Client and trigger the Addressing dialog


Epson LQ-1000. This printer driver, which ships with Windows, can be used to render documents on the client side when neither Zetafax printer is available. It creates an Epson format file which the Zetafax Server can render natively. It does not interact with the Zetafax Client at all. See the More Information section for information on how to configure this printer for use with the API.


Server-side rendering


Depending on which process is used to submit faxes to the Zetafax Server, one or more of the following rendering methods may be used. You can identify which component was used to render a document by inspecting the Zetafax Server's monitor or SERVER.LOG file.


Zetafax Server (EPSTIFF). The EPSTIFF module in the Zetafax Server can render these file types to Group 3 compatible TIFF format:

Plain text

Epson spool file format

Graphics file formats (JPEG, BMP, PCX, WPG, ICO, DCX, TARGA, GIF, non-G3F TIFF)

Email Gateway (STOLE). The email gateway includes its own rendering mechanism. Rendering is handled by a process called STOLE, which opens the document to be rendered in its native application, prints it to the Mail Rendering Subsystem printer, and then submits the resulting TIFF file to the Zetafax Server. The email gateway can render the following formats:

Microsoft Office documents

Adobe Acrobat


Note: The Email Gateway can only render documents submitted via email, and the application to render must be installed on the Zetafax Server. As a general rule, this process yields the best results, but it is not suitable for very high volumes.


Document rendering (DOCTIFF/PDF native rendering).

Zetafax comes with a limited functionality version of the DOCTIFF add-on which is only available for those using the email gateway and has been restricted to only operate at a maximum speed of 20 seconds per page. If you do not have the add-on license and send a file using the client and not the gateway, it will not be rendered by the limited DOCTIFF.

DOCTIFF can handle over 250 file formats without needing the source applications to be installed on the machine. To gain a full speed version of DOCTIFF an add-on license would need to be purchased.

With Zetafax version 2007 or higher, PDF documents can be rendered in two different ways: high-quality native PDF rendering or legacy PDF rendering which is used with older versions of Zetafax. The default option is the high-quality native PDF rendering.

It is available to all areas of Zetafax which require server-side rendering, including the Email Gateway, COM or C-language API, ZSUBMIT and the Web Client. This method will produce an approximation of the original document, but is most suitable for high volumes of faxing.


Note: Documents submitted via the Email Gateway can be rendered by any of the above methods. The method chosen by the Zetafax Server will depend on the following process:


1.The Zetafax Server checks if the Email Gateway is configured to render the submitted file type. If so, the file will be rendered using the Mail Rendering Subsystem.

2.If the Email Gateway is not configured to handle the file type, it will start the DOCTIFF/PDF rendering process and attempt to render the file that way.

3.If the rendering add-on is not able to handle the file type because it is excluded or not supported, the Zetafax Server will render the file using its own EPSTIFF module.

The API and Web Client can only use DOCTIFF/PDF rendering or EPSTIFF. If DOCTIFF/PDF rendering is not able to render the document, EPSTIFF will attempt to render all non-graphical documents as plain text.


The following table summarizes the different rendering methods. API in this context refers to the COM or C-language API, or the automated submitter (ZSUBMIT).




Operating Systems




Zetafax Printer


All except NT4 TS


Zetafax Client

Creates spool file in TIFF format


Supports embedded addressing

Epson LQ-1000





Creates spool file in Epson format

Zetafax Server (Epstiff)




Zetafax Server

 Email Gateway


 Web Client

Converts text, Epson and graphics files

Email Gateway (STOLE / Mail Rendering Subsystem)


All except XP and Terminal Servers (*)


Email Gateway

Requires the presence of the document's original application (e.g. Microsoft Word)

Rendering add-on (DOCTIFF/PDF rendering)


All except Terminal Servers (*)

Rendering add-on

Email Gateway


 Web Client

Converts 250 file types



(*) Please note that the Zetafax Server is not supported in any Terminal Server environment. The details of the environments where each method can be used are given here for information only, and this does not imply that these are normally supported.



For Configuring rendering options select your email gateway system from the list below:


Exchange 2007

Exchange 2003

Lotus Notes


For additional help with document rendering please try the Document Rendering Troubleshooting guide.