Symantec, the yellow box software manufacturer, has the commitment to provide users with advanced software that will help them to better communicate with the “Work Virtually Anywhere” range of products. Symantec TalkWorks 3 is in fact an enhanced version of WinFax Pro 9. This release adds phone features to WinFax 9 such as an answer phone, free hand phone and many more.
As always with all Symantec software, installing TalkWorks Pro 3 is very easy. Insert the CD and push the ‘install TalkWorks Pro’ button of the welcome screen. Then the setup will start and after approximately 6 minutes the setup will be completed and you’ll have to configure your modems to be properly used by TalkWorks Pro 3. The setup of TalkWorks Pro 3 will query the modems you’ve selected to retrieve their capacities and configure them.
Through a wonderful graphical user interface that looks like a professional phone, TalkWorks Pro 3 manages many voice boxes and can distribute faxes when incoming caller request the faxes. As TalkWorks Pro 3 is fully compliant with TAPI you’ll be able to use at the same time for example an Internet dialup connection when you’re sending faxes. This communication suite software is perfectly integrated with Microsoft Outlook 97/98/2000 and can even handle emails. The new release 3 has been improved, sure it includes new features but it runs much faster than the previous release 2. TalkWorks Pro 3 now manages and supports the smart self-memory modems (it only concerns 3Com and US Robotics modems). TalkWorks also comes with advanced address book features, it can import Lotus, Symantec ACT or even ODBC address books to be used when calling peoples or sending faxes. Obviously you can create and use your own phonebook.
TalkWorks Pro is supposed to be compliant with all existing modems. Indeed the compatibility of analogue modems is very good (even with PCMCIA modems). However if you use ISDN adapters such as the Bewan USBooster 128 one, TalkWorks Pro 3 won’t correctly work with it due to some CAPI 2 compatibility problems. Also the list of certified ISDN adapters that work with TalkWorks 3.0 is very short since only AVM and Digi modems are certified to be 100% compliant.
As TalkWorks Pro 3 includes the worldwide fax leader software WinFax 9.02 its' fax features are really great. You’ll be able to manage easily your faxes from an Outlook like interface, named the Message Manager (you can also use the message manager to manage voice calls). Like in Microsoft Outlook you’ll be able to store and sort faxes in different folders. The Microsoft Office 98 like interface of the message manager allows users to be quickly operational. When incoming faxes arrive users will be notified by a sound and the WinFax tray icon will change. The OCR feature of TalkWorks will try to recognize incoming faxes and translate them in text files. However we found the OCR engine not very accurate with handwriting faxes, but it works correctly with typed modems. TalkWorks includes a great TWAIN compliant feature: when you want to scan and send a document by fax, launch the Message Manager center, click scan and send. Then the default TWAIN driver (you can select the one you want in the settings if you’ve got many TWAIN drivers) will run and you’ll be able to scan as many pages you need to send faxes. It works really great on our test system.
fax sending quality with TalkWorks is somewhat excellent. However when
sending faxes that contain pictures from other software by using the
print feature you’ll have to change the printer driver intensity to
avoid disastrous results on the receiver’s fax (if you don’t do that
the receiver will have most of the time a black fax). But once this
setting has been made the faxes that contain pictures will have a fair
quality. As it’s a Symantec product, TalkWorks will be able to use the
Live Update feature to retrieve latest patches and enhancements. The new
sending dialog box is very easy to use. From it you’ll preview your
faxes pages, and you’ll be able to select, modify cover pages, add
stamps and much more in a few clicks.
The first immediate advantage of TalkWorks Pro 3 is that it’ll turn your voice-capable modem in a real phone by dialing phone numbers from the screen and speaking to your caller in free hand mode! Sure when incoming calls arrive you’ll be able to answer to them in free hand mode simply by pushing a button! More due to the CallerID feature you’ll be able to know who is calling (if your modem supports this feature) and to answer or direct the call to the answer phone. The answer phone will automatically answer to incoming call if you don’t want to answer or if you’re out. A default welcome message will be played and your caller will be able to let you a message. Once your caller left a message a blinking LED will appear on the TalkWorks panel and an icon will blink in the tray. You just have to click on it to hear the message. You can even change the speed of the voice messages and set their volume. More the audio editor provided with TalkWorks Pro 3 will help you to record and modify greetings, voice messages and wave files. It can also be used to create or modify files to be played to callers on hold and system notification wave files. Finally it can delete background noise and stretches of silence or change the order of segments of the wave file.
With TalkWorks Pro 3 you can create multiple mailboxes to store the voice calls you received and to direct them to the good person/service. And the TalkWorks simulator will help you test your new answering system to know how it looks like. TalkWorks will also seek you if you received new messages: indeed it can send pager notifications or messages to your mobile phone so you’ll be able to call back TalkWorks to hear the messages you’ve just received.
One of the great features of TalkWorks Pro 3 is the Message manager center. Indeed from it you are able to store, sort incoming faxes, emails, pager notifications, transferred files or voice messages. The different kind of messages can be easily distinguished due to the different icons TalkWorks Pro 3 uses. From the message manager you can add new contacts, edit or remove existing contacts to your phonebooks. TalkWorks 3 can handle data calls (if you wish); so remote data callers will have a special Data only mailbox to be able to start remote data connection. Finally you can share the computer that has got the voice capable modem with other computers that haven’t voice capable modems: so your employees will be able to check for new messages on the answering system directly from their computers, great isn’t it?
TalkWorks Pro 3 is very good and very complete communication software that needs to be enhanced further to be easier to use and to set up. Also this software will become quickly obsolete since Symantec has announced the availability of WinFax 10. However this software is a great buying to give a professional voice to your business or home office. You can try it for free on the Symantec website.