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US005282052A
O
Unlted States Patent [19]
[11] Patent Number:
Johnson et a].
[45]
[54]
TECHNIQUES FOR AUTOMATIC FORM
CREATION BY COMBINING PARTIAL
62-272751 11/1987 Japan ........................... ., H04N 1/32
63-95578 4/1933 Japan
~
OPERATIONS
63-242060 10/1988 Japan ........................... .. H04N 1/21
Date of Patent:
5 a 282 9 052
Jan. 25, 1994
[75] Inventors: Walter A. L. Johnson, Santa Clara;
smart K- Card, Los Altos; Maf?n FN. Cooper, Fremont, all of Calif.
OTHER PUBLICATIONS
DoveFax Installation and User’s Manual, Dove Com
puter Corporation, sep_ 1990.
[73] Assignee: Xerox Corporation, Stamford, Conn.
[21] Appl. No.: 856,107
Fri-man, Examiner_stephen Brinich
Assistant Examiner-Scott A. Rogers
[57]
ABSTRACT
[22] Filed:
[51]
Mar. 20, 1992
m. c1’.s ..................... .. H04N 1/32; H04N 1/387;
An automatically created form includes a ?eld for re
G06K 9/20
[52] US. Cl. .................................. .. 358/402; 358/407;
358/440; 358/468; 358/450; 382/61
[58] Field of Search ............. .. 358/402, 440, 407, 468,
questing a combined operation. A processor creates the
form in response to another form that includes ?elds
that are marked to indicate a sequence of partial opera
tions. The partial operations together constitute the
358/452, 450, 448; 382/61
[56]
combined operation. The combined operation can, for
References Cited
example, be a facsimile transmission, in which case the
partial operation ?elds can specify the digits of a fax
us‘ PATENT DOCUMENTS
machine’s telephone number. The automatically created
4,542,378 9/1985 Suganuma et a1. ................. .. 382/61
4,893,333 1/ 1990 Baran et al
-
form can then include a single check box next to the
' name of the recipient. When the check box is marked,
33265:“ e‘ 81'
"-355/200
5:060:98O 10/1991 Johnson Quit-1'51"""W211. 283/70
the processor responds toithe form by performing the
Segue?“ “.pmml .operat'ons‘ The pr°°ess°r C.“ axe‘
5,099,340 3/1992 Kamada et aL
358/403
cute input instructions to receive data de?mng the
5,134,669 7/1992 Keogh et a1. ....................... .. 382/61
image of each form and can execute response instruc
tions to respond to each form.
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
354703A2 2/ 1990 European Pat. Off.
H04M 1/274
10 Claims, 10 Drawing Sheets
50
72
/ 9o /52 f
j
I
i
Fax
.
lngstnirtionsng
Response Instructions
92
-PAutqanl;iully Create,
um
~Perforrn Partial
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Jan. 25, 1994*
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Form 10
Form 20
Fig. 1
.
.
Receive
Flrst
Form
Indicating Sequence Of
Partial Operations
Automatically Create
40
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Second Form With
Complete Operation Field
l
Provide Second Form
44
-/
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Receive Second Form
46
indicating Complete Operation
I
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Perform Sequence of
Partial Operations
Fig. 2
48
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US. Patent
Jan. 25, 1994
Sheet 2 of 10
50
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56
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Image Output
Circuitry
Fax
Printer
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US. Patent
Jan. 25, 1994
Sheet 3 of 10
Speed Dial Form
Check Recipient :
K
122
V New Fax Recipient
Name:
Sum Buddyi
Fig. 4A
K124
5,282,052
US. Patent
Jan. 25, 1994
Sheet 4 of 10
Speed Dial Form
Check Recipient (s) :
K152 ’
Sum Buddy
\—150
K142
V New Fax Recipient
Name:
{144
Know Buddy
/160
Check
If Recipients Are A New Group
(162
Group Name :
km
Fig. 4B
5,282,052
US. Patent
'
Jan. 25, 1994
Sheet 5 of 10
5,282,052
Speed Dial Form
Check Recipient (s) :
K182
180
'
\- V
Sum Buddy
/ 186
184
\_. V
Know Buddy
K172
New Fax Recipient
K174
Name:
19o
\
Check V If Recipients Are A New Group
/ 192
Group Name :
Good Buddies
kk1”
Fig. 4C
US. Patent
Jan. 25, 1994
Sheet 6 of 10
5,282,052
Speed Dial Form
Check Recipient (s) :
230
\-
K232
Sum Buddy
234
\-
Know Buddy
244
\-
Good Buddies
K236
K246
K222
New Fax Recipient
[224
Name:
226 <
240\
Check
If Recipients Are A New Group
K242
Group Name :
L220
Fig. 4D
US. Patent
Km\
Jan. 25, 1994
mam“.
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Sheet 8 of 10
5,282,052
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US. Patent
Jan. 25, 1994
Sheet 9 of 10
5,282,052
[512
PA
ID
List Contents
I I [-550
M Recipients
,__,
,_ _
,__
552
1! I Documents
I Send
538
'__
DocumentA
[-540
554
r556
502
Requester's Fax
Machine
ii
504
Fax Server
i
M2
f
506
Recipient's Fax
Machine
i
Docun1ent
A
Fig. 7
562
i! I Document A
K
520
US. Patent
Jan. 25, 1994
5,282,052
Sheet 10 of 10
580
-
Form Action:
(Bitmap Identifier + Recipient's
J
Fax No.) to Recipient Index
I
l
I
Y
582
Form Action:
Automatically Create
J
Form With Send Section
l
584
Pre - Retrieve Action:
Convert to Fax Card Format
i
:
586
Retrieve Action:
Request to Send Form
l
Verify Action:
Verify Completion
Fig. 8
588
1
5,282,052
2
second input image data de?ning an image of the second
TECHNIQUES FOR AUTOMATIC FORM
CREATION BY COMBINING PARTIAL
OPERATIONS
form that is marked to indicate a request for the com
plete operation. In response, the processor can perform
the sequence of partial operations that constitutes the
complete operation.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to forms from which a
system obtains information for use in controlling subse
A machine implementing the invention can include,
stored in memory, input instructions for receiving data
de?ning an input form’s image and response instructions
quent operations of the system.
for responding to an input form. In response to the ?rst
input image data, the processor can execute the re
sponse instructions to automatically produce the cre
Johnson et al., US. Pat. No. 5,060,980, describe a
form on which a user can impart or modify markings
representing data. As shown and described in relation to
ated form data. In response to the second input image
FIG. 1, the markings are located so that a form inter
preter can be instructed where to look for data to be
read. The form can include printing, such as an outline
data, the processor can execute the response instruc
tions to perform the sequence of partial operations.
The invention can also be implemented by an article
of ?eld regions to be ?lled in, borders, titles, and in
of manufacture for use in a system that includes a stor
age medium access device such as a floppy disk drive or
a CD drive. The article can include a data storage me
structions. The form also includes encoded information
representing a structural description of the form, includ
ing a description of the locations of ?elds on the form
and a description of the types of ?elds. The encoded 20 dium such as a ?oppy disk or a CD-ROM and data
information can also include instructions for speci?c
stored by the medium. The stored data can indicate
processing of selected data, dialing instructions to a
input instructions and response instructions as described
facsimile machine, network addresses for routing se
above.
lected data, data to be processed, etc. A system for
A
closely
related
aspect
of
the invention is based on
processing such a form is shown and described in rela 25
the recognition that a user may require some ?exibility
tion to FIG. 3, and a techniques for generating such a
in obtaining an automatically created form. In the case
form are shown and described in relation to FIGS. 4
where the user desires a form with a number of recipi
ents, for example, the user may desire to add several
recipients, then obtain a new form that lists all the added
and 5. The user can view an image of the form, select or
create ?elds and other items on the form, specify opera
tions to be performed on contents of a ?eld, and enter
recipients.
operations and data independent of the contents of any
?eld.
This problem can be solved if one form speci?es the
partial operations that constitute the complete opera
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
tion and another form requests the automatically cre—
One aspect of the invention deals with a basic inef? 35 ated form for requesting the complete operation. This
ciency in the use of control sheets and other forms used
allows the user to obtain the automatically created form
to control machine operations. Such a form often in
after adding a number of recipients, for example.
cludes a set of ?elds that can be used together to request
The following description, the drawings, and the
an operation, with each ?eld specifying a partial opera
claims further set forth these and other aspects, objects,
tion. For example, a telephone number to which a fac 40
features, and advantages of the invention.
simile is transmitted can be speci?ed with a series of
?elds, in each of which a user inserts a digit. Each time
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
the same operation is requested, a number of ?elds must
FIG. 1 is a schematic ?ow diagram showing how a
be completed.
This aspect is further based on the discovery of a 45 ?rst form specifying partial operations can be used to
automatically produce a second form with a ?eld for
technique that alleviates this problem. When a user
requesting a combined operation.
speci?es a sequence of partial operations on a form, the
FIG. 2 is a ?ow chart showing general acts in auto
technique can automatically produce a new form with a
matically producing a form as in FIG. 1.
single ?eld to request a complete operation that in
FIG. 3 is a schematic block diagram showing a soft
cludes the sequence of partial operations.
This technique can be implemented in a system that
ware product that can be accessed by a system to auto
includes image input circuitry, image output circuitry,
matically produce forms as in FIG. 2.
and a processor connected for receiving data de?ning
images from the image input circuitry and for providing
data de?ning images to the image output circuitry. The
FIGS. 4A-4D are schematic diagrams of a series of
55
image input circuitry could be connected to receive
facsimile transmissions, and the image output circuitry
could be connected to provide facsimile transmissions.
The processor can receive ?rst input image data de
?ning an image of a ?rst form with a number of ?elds 60
that are marked so that they together indicate a se
quence of partial operations. The indicated sequence
constitutes a complete operation. The processor can use
fax control forms automatically produced by the tech
niques of FIGS. 1-3.
FIG. 5 is a schematic block diagram showing soft
ware components of a system that can automatically
create a form with a ?eld for requesting a combined
operation.
FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram showing a batch that
can be handled by the components in FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram showing input forms
and a created form produced by a system that includes
de?ning an image of a second form that includes a ?eld 65 a fax server executing software like that in FIG. 5.
FIG. 8 is a ?ow chart showing acts in automatically
for indicating a request for the complete operation. The
creating a form with a ?eld for requesting a combined
processor can provide the created form data to the
the data to automatically produce created form data
image output circuitry. Then, the processor can receive
operation in FIG. 7.
3
5,282,052
A. Conceptual Framework
The following conceptual framework is helpful in
understanding the broad scope of the invention, and the
4
A processor “uses” data in performing an operation
when the result of the operation depends on the value of
the data.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION
An “instruction” is an item of data that a processor
5 can use to determine its own operation. A processor
“executes” a set of instructions when it uses the instruc
terms de?ned below have the indicated meanings
tions to determine its operations.
throughout this application, including the claims.
An item of data “indicates” an attribute when the
item has a value that depends on the existence of the
The term “data” refers herein to signals that indicate
or include information. When an item of data can indi
attribute or on a measure of the attribute. For example,
an item of data may indicate a set of instructions a pro
cate one of a number of possible alternatives, the item of
data has one of a number of “values.” For example, a
binary item of data, also referred to as a “bit,” has one
of two values, such as “0” and “l” or “ON” and
“OFF.QQ
cessor can execute.
An item of data “includes” information indicating an
attribute if data indicating the attribute can be obtained
The term “data” includes data existing in any physi 15 by operating on the item of data.
cal form, and includes data that are transitory or are
being stored or transmitted. For example, data could I
exist as electromagnetic or other transmitted signals or
as signals stored in electronic, magnetic, or other form. 20
“Circuitry” or a “circuit” is any arrangement of mat
ter that can respond to ?rst data at one location or time
by providing second data at another location or time.
A “data storage medium” or “storage medium” is a
physical medium that can store data. Examples of data
storage media include magnetic media such as ?oppy
disks, optical media such as CD-ROMs, and semicon
ductor media such as semiconductor ROMs and RAMs.
As used herein, “storage medium” covers one or more
distinct units of a medium that together store a body of
data. For example, a set of ?oppy disks storing a single
body of data would be a storage medium.
A “storage medium access device” is a device with
'
An “array of data” or “data array” or “array” is a
combination of items of data that can be mapped into an
array. A “two-dimensional array” is a data array whose
items of data can be mapped into an array having two
dimensions.
_
An item of data “dei'mes” an array when it includes
information sufficient to obtain or produce the array.
For example, an item of data de?ning an array may
include the de?ned array itself, a compressed or en
coded form of the defined array, a pointer to the de?ned
array, a pointer to a part of another array from which
the de?ned array can be obtained, or pointers to a set of
smaller arrays from which the de?ned array can be
obtained.
30
To “obtain” or “produce” an item of data is to per
form any combination of operations that begins without
the item of data and that results in the item of data. An
item of data can be “obtained” or “produced” by any
circuitry that can access data on a data storage medium.
operations that result in the item of data. An item of
Examples include floppy disk drives and CD-ROM 35 data can be “obtained from” or “produced from” other
readers.
'
items of data by operations that obtain or produce the
"Memory” is any component, combination of compo
item of data using the other items of data.
nents, circuitry, or system that can store data, and may
An “image” is a pattern of light. An “image set” is a
include local and remote memory and input/output
set of one or more images.
devices. An example of memory is a storage medium 40 An image may be divided into "segments,” each of
access device with a data storage medium that it can
which is itself an image. A segment of an image may be
access.
A “data processing system” is a system that processes
data. A “data processor” or “processor” is any compo
. of any size up to and including the whole image.
An item of data “defines” an image when the item of
data includes sufficient information to produce the im
nent or system that can process data, and may include 45 age. For example, a two-dimensional array can de?ne
one or more central processing units or other process
all or any part of an image, with each item of data in the
ing components. A processor performs an operation or
a function “automatically” when it performs the opera
tion or function independent of concurrent human con
trol.
Operations of a processor can be related to each other
array providing a value indicating the color of a respec
tive location of the image.
An item of data “de?nes” an image set when the item
of data includes sufficient information to produce all the
images in the set.
as “partial operations” and “complete operations” or
'A “data transmission” is an act that transmits data
“combined operations.” A complete or combined oper
from one location to another. A “facsimile transmis
ation is an operation that can be performed by perform
sion” is a data transmission in which the transmitted
ing a sequence of partial operations. A sequence of 55 data define an image according to a standard format. An
partial operations “constitutes” a complete or combined
"image destination” is a machine or other destination to
operation when the sequence is suf?cient to perform the
which data defining an image can be transmitted. A “fax
complete or combined operation.
I machine” is a machine with circuitry that can receive
Any two components are “connected” when there is
and provide facsimile transmissions. Therefore, the
a combination of circuitry that can transfer data from 60 telephone number of a fax machine is an example of
one of the components to the other.
information that indicates an image destination.
A processor “accesses” data in memory by any oper
A “marking medium” is a physical medium on which
ation that retrieves or modi?es the data, such as by
a human can produce a pattern of marks by performing
reading or writing a location in memory that includes
marking actions or actions that modify marks, such as
the data. A processor can be “connected for accessing” 65 erasing, wiping, or scratching actions. Common exam
data by any combination of connections with local or
ples of marking media include sheets of paper and plas
remote memory or input/output devices that permits
tic, although humans can produce patterns of marks on
the processor to access the data.
an enormous variety of media. As used herein, "mark
5
5,282,052
' ing medium” covers one or more distinct units of a
6
the ?eld. Data de?ne an image set that shows a “form
that has been marked” or a “form that is marked” when
the data de?ne an image of the form that shows at least
medium on which, together, a human has produced a
pattern of related marks. For example, a set of paper
pages that form a handwritten letter would be a single
one ?eld that has been marked. Therefore, data de?ning
marking medium. Also, as used herein, “marking me 5 an image set that shows a form that has been marked
dium” includes a marking surface of an electronic de
can be produced in a number of ways: For example, a
vice that can sense marks.
A user “marks” a marking medium or “makes a mark
form on a marking medium can be marked by hand or
by typing and then the form can be scanned or facsimile
on” a marking medium by performing any action that
transmitted; or editing software can respond to user
actions such as mouse and keyboard clicks by modify
ing data de?ning an image of the form so that it includes
marking, erasing, wiping, or scratching actions.
features that would be interpreted as marks.
The term “mark” includes a single mark and also
An image “shows the contents of’ a ?eld that has
plural marks that together form a pattern of marks.
been marked when the image shows the set of features
The terms “form” and “?eld” are related: A marking 15 that would be perceptible as marks in the ?eld if the
produces or modi?es marks on the marking medium; a
user may mark a marking medium, for example, with
medium may be an instance of a “form,” in which case
image were presented to a user.
the marking medium has a set of “?elds,” each of which
can be marked in an appropriate way to indicate infor
An image is “from” a form when the image shows a
part of the form or the form as a whole. For example, an
image showing the contents of a ?eld of a form is
mation. A ?eld may also include information indicating
how it should be marked or indicating how a mark in 20 “from” the form.
the ?eld is interpreted. For example, a ?eld may include
A “version” of a ?rst image is a second image pro
a “check box” indicating a region within which a
duced using data de?ning the ?rst image. The second
check-like mark should be made. A ?eld may include
image may be identical to the ?rst image, or it may be
one or more ?elds within it. In addition to its ?elds, a
modi?ed by loss of resolution, by changing the data
form can include additional information such as ma-' 25 de?ning the ?rst image, or by other processes that result
chine-readable or human-readable information identify
in a modi?ed version.
ing the form.
An operation “creates" a page, such as a page of a
A mark in a ?eld “indicates” an attribute when the
form or a sheet, when the operation produces data de
presence or shape of the mark depends on the existence
?ning the page. An operation “transmits” a page when
of the attribute or on a measure of the attribute. A ?eld 30 the operation transmits data de?ning the page.
is “for indicating” an attribute when one or more appro
B. General Features
FIGS. 1-D illustrate general features of the inven
the ?eld indicate the attribute.
tion. FIG. 1 is a schematic ?ow diagram showing how
One type of attribute that can be indicated by a mark 35 a ?rst form specifying partial operations can be used to
in a ?eld is a “request” for an operation, in which case
automatically produce a second form specifying a com
priate marks in the ?eld would indicate the attribute. A
?eld “indicates” an attribute when one or more marks in
presence of the mark indicates an action by a user in
tended to cause performance of the operation. For ex
ample, the ?eld could include a check box for the mark
bined operation. FIG. 2 is a ?ow chart showing general
acts in automatically producing a form as in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a schematic block diagram showing a software
and could also include information identifying the oper 40 product that can be accessed by a system to automati
ation. An operation is performed “in response” to a ?eld
cally produce forms as in FIG. 2. FIGS. 4A-4D are
when the ?eld is for indicating a request for the opera
schematic diagrams of a series of fax control forms
tion and a mark in the ?eld indicating a request causes
automatically produced by the techniques of FIGS.
the operation to be performed.
1-3.
Form 10 in FIG. 1 includes three partial operation
Presence of a mark in a ?eld could also indicate an 45
action by a user intended to indicate an operation with
out indicating a request for the operation. For example,
a mark could indicate an operation of signalling a digit
of a telephone number, where signalling the digit is one
?elds, each for indicating a respective partial operation.
Field 12 is for indicating partial operation A, ?eld l4
partial operation B, and ?eld 16 partial operation C. As
shown, a user has inserted check marks in ?elds 12 and
of a sequence of operations that together perform the 50 16 to indicate a sequence that includes partial operations
operation of obtaining a connection to a fax machine.
A and C. In response to form 10, form 20 is automati
cally produced. Like form 10, form 20 illustratively
includes partial operation ?elds 22, 24, and 26 respec
tively for indicating partial operations A, B, and C. But
in the ?eld are suf?cient to identify the operations that 55. form 20 also includes complete operation ?eld 28 for
constitute signalling the telephone number.
indicating the complete operation constituted by the
The mark could be an instance of the digit itself or
could be a mark in a check box that indicates the digit.
A ?eld “indicates a telephone number” when the marks
An image “shows” a page, such as a page of a form or
a sheet, when the image is an image of the page. An
image set “shows” a page when the image set includes
one or more images that, separately or in combination,
show the page. Data “de?ne” a page when the data
de?ne an image set that shows the page.
Data de?ne an image that shows a “?eld that has been
marked” or a “?eld that is marked” or a “?eld being
sequence of partial operations A and C. As a result, a
user can more ef?ciently request the complete opera
tion.
The act in box 40 in FIG. 2 receives data de?ning an
image showing a ?rst form in which partial operation
?elds are marked to indicate a sequence of partial opera
tions, like form 10 in FIG. 1. The act in box 42 uses the
data de?ning the ?rst form to automatically create a
marked” when the data de?ne an image of the ?eld that 65 second form that includes a complete operation ?eld for
includes features that would be interpreted as one or
more marks in the ?eld if the de?ned image were inter
preted according to a de?nition of a form that includes
indicating the complete operation constituted by the
sequence of partial operations. The act in box 44 then
provides data de?ning the second form as output.
5,282,052
7
,
As indicated by the dashed line leading to the act in
box 46, the user may then optionally mark the second
form so that the complete operation ?eld is marked to
indicate the complete operation. If so, the act in box 48
than one recipient were checked, ?elds 160 and 162
could be completed to request a new group.
responds by performing the sequence of partial opera
tions that constitutes the complete operation.
When the completed form 140 is received, form 170
in FIG. 4C is automatically created. Fields 172, 174, and
FIG. 3 shows'software product 60, an article of man
176 have the same respective functions as ?elds 122,
125, and 126 in FIG. 4A, but have been left blank. Field
180 has the same respective function as ?eld 150 in FIG.
ufacture that can be used in a system that includes com
413, with ?eld 182 containing the image from ?eld 124,
ponents like those shown in FIG. 3. Software product
and ?eld 184 has‘ been added, allowing the user to re
60 includes data storage medium 62 that can be accessed
by storage medium access device 64. Data storage me
quest the previous fax recipient with a single mark, ?eld
186 containing an image obtained from ?eld 144 in FIG.
4B. Fields 190 and 192 have the same respective func
as a set of one or more ?oppy disks, an optical medium
tion as ?elds 160 and 162 in FIG. 4B, but ?elds 180, 184,
such as a set of one or more CD-ROMs, or any other
and 190 have been checked to indicate that a new group
appropriate medium for storing data.
15 should be formed, and ?eld 192 has been ?lled in with a
Data storage medium 62 stores data that storage me
name for the new group.
dium access device 64 can provide to processor 66.
When the completed form 170 is received, form 220
dium 62 could, for example, be a magnetic medium such
Processor 66 is connected for receiving data de?ning
images from image input circuitry 70. The data could be
obtained from facsimile (fax) machine 72; from scanner
in FIG. 4D. is automatically created. Fields 222, 224,
226, 230, 232, 234, 236, 240, and 242 have the same
20 respective functions as ?elds 172, 174, 176, 182, 184,
74; from editor 76, which could be a forms editor or
186, 190, and 192 in FIG. 4C. Fields 244 and 246 have
other interactive image editor controlled by user input
been added, so that the user can request the new group
of recipients with a single mark in ?eld 244, with ?eld
246 containing an image obtained from ?eld 192 in FIG.
could be a local area network or other network capable 254C
of transmitting data de?ning an image.
Each of the forms shown in FIGS. 4A-4D can be
Processor 66 is also connected for providing data
followed by a document to be transmitted to the indi
de?ning images to image output circuitry 80. The data
cated recipient or recipients. In each case, the user only
could in turn be provided to fax machine 82, to printer
needs to check a few boxes with a pencil and, if appro
84, to display 86, or to network 88.
30 priate, write in a name or other mnemonic identi?er in
In addition to data storage medium 62, software prod
order to program the speed dial operation. The pro
uct 60 includes data stored by storage medium 62. The
grammed information could be stored for access by
stored data include data indicating image receiving
multiple fax machines, any of which could then respond
instructions 90, which can be executed to perform the
to each form.
devices such as a keyboard and mouse or a pen- or
stylus-based input device; or from network 78, which
acts in boxes 40 and 46 in FIG. 2. The stored data also 35
include data indicating response instructions, which can
be executed both to automatically create and transmit a
form as in boxes 42 and 44 in FIG. 2 and also to perform
a complete operation by performing a sequence of par
tial operations, as in box 48.
,
FIGS. 4A-4D show images of forms resulting from
over?ow or a recipient could be deleted to make room
for a new recipient based on frequency or recency of
transmission or some other criterion.
an application of the invention to a fax machine. Some
current fax machines have speed dialing buttons. A user
can program a speed dialing button by providing a
phone number to be associated with the button. After 45
the button is programmed, activation of the button
causes the fax machine to dial the associated number
and transmit. Use of speed dialing buttons is limited,
The simple technique illustrated in FIGS. 4A-4D
could be extended in various ways. For example, as
each new recipient is added to the form, the list of recip
ients could be ordered based on frequency of transmis
sion or some other criterion. Similarly, when the form
becomes full, a second form could be created with the
C. Implementation
The general features described above could be imple
mented in numerous ways on various machines. A cur
rent implementation runs on an IBM PC compatible
however, because a large number of steps are necessary
machine (a “PC”) with at least an 80386 microproces
to program a button and because the programming,
sor. The PC is equipped with a “fax card,” meaning a
once completed, is limited to a single machine. The , combination of a board and software that enables the
technique illustrated in FIGS. 4A-4D provides a func- . PC to transmit and receive facsimile images in a stan
tion similar to speed dialing that can be programmed
through a small number of steps and that can be used on
multiple fax machines.
}
In form 120 in FIG. 4A, ?eld 122 is marked to indi
cate that a new fax recipient is being programmed. Field
124 is ?lled in with a name for the new fax recipient.
Numerical grid 126 is ?lled in to indicate the new fax
recipient's telephone number.
When the completed form 120 is received, form 140
in FIG. 4B is automatically created. Fields 142, 144, and
146 have the same respective functions as ?elds 122,
124, and 126 in FIG. 4A and have been ?lled in to re
dard format, such as CCITT Group 3. The fax card
could, for example, be SatisFAXtion'I'M from Intel
55 Corporation; The Complete Communicator TM or The
Complete Fax'rM from The Complete PC, Inc.; or
proFAX'TM from Charter Electronics Industries Pte.
Ltd. Because the current implementation is closely
linked to a fax card, it is referred to herein as a “fax
server.”
1. General Fax Server Software Features
FIG. 5 shows general software components of the
current implementation. FIG. 6 illustrates the organiza
tion of a batch that is set up in response to a request
quest programming of another new fax recipient. In 65 from a user.
addition, ?eld 150 allows a user to request the previous
FIG. 5 shows general software components and some
fax recipient with a single mark, and ?eld 152 contains
of the communication paths between components. Fax
an image obtained from ?eld 124 in FIG. 4A. If more
server software 300 includes instructions executed by a
5,282,052
processor that is executing DOS instructions 302. In the
current implementation, the processor is also executing
at least the 3.0 version of Microsoft ®WindowsTM,
10
In the current implementation, database instructions
320 include the instructions of db_Vista TM , a commer
cial database product from Raima Corporation. Infor
shown as windows instructions 304.
mation database 322 and job database 324 are both im
The communication path between fax server soft
ware 300 and the fax card goes through two DOS resi
dent components, fax card terminate and stay resident
instructions 306 and fax server terminate and stay resi
plemented using db_Vista.
dent instructions (TSR) 310.
For most fax cards, fax card terminate and stay resi
dent instructions 306 can be installed when the fax card
is installed. For each of these fax cards, fax server soft
ware 300 includes a respective TSR 310 that can be
loaded when the user installs fax server software 300 in
Information database 322 includes two lists, a list of
distribution lists and a list of categories of documents
and forms. Each list appears as a top level container
within the user interface provided by windows instruc
tions 304, and the user can set up new distribution lists
and categories through the user interface. Each distri
bution list includes information about a set of recipients,
including data identifying recipients and telephone
numbers of their fax machines; one distribution list,
response to a signal from the user indicating the type of 15 named “All Recipients,” includes all of the recipients.
fax card.
Each category of documents and forms includes a set of
Some fax cards, such as proFax, have a separate
items, each of which is either a document or a form. For
driver for programming. In these cases, the fax card is
each document, the category includes a pointer to the
installed and TSR 310 is loaded during installation of
name of the DOS ?le in which data de?ning the docu
20
fax server software 300.
ment is stored. For each form, the category includes a
Fax card terminate and stay resident instructions 306
pointer to the name of the DOS ?le in which the de?ni
and TSR 310 communicate to receive and send facsim
tion or description of the form is stored.
ile transmissions.
Job database 324, on the other hand, acts as an auto
When‘ a facsimile transmission is received, the fax
matic scheduler for processing a series of images. Job
card automatically stores the received data in a direc
database 324 therefore includes data indicating any
tory in the DOS ?ling system. When TSR 310 next polls
pending batches, jobs, actions, and pages, as described
fax card terminate and stay resident instructions 306,
more fully below.
.
TSR 310 receives data indicating that a received trans
As can be understood from FIG. 5, fax server appli
mission _is in a ?le in the directory. In response, TSR 310
cation instructions 312 can receive requests from a user
assigns an event number to the ?le and creates an event
?le. The event ?le includes the event number and other
information, such as the DOS ?le name of the received
structions 304, based on a display and a user input de
?le and the telephone number of the sending fax ma
chine (or an empty identi?er if a telephone number is
not available).
When fax server application instructions 312 next poll
TSR 310, TSR responds with the event number of the
next unprocessed event ?le. Fax server application in
structions 312 can then handle the received transmission
as described below.
Similarly, before fax server application instructions
312 signal TSR 310 to send a facsimile transmission,
through the user interface provided by windows in
vice such as a keyboard and mouse. In the current im
plementation, these requests are received as a data
structure indicating contents of a form. Fax server ap
plication instructions 312 can also receive user requests
on forms in facsimile transmissions received by the fax
card. Fax server application instructions 312 can re
spond to a request from either user interface by setting
up a batch in job database 324.
FIG. 6 shows batch 350, which includes a series of in
jobs, each of which includes data de?ning one or more
images. The images are illustratively pages, such as
they create an event ?le with the next available event
pages of a facsimile transmission. Job 0 includes n pages,
number. This event ?le can include the event number, 45 with pages 352 and 354 being the ?rst and last respec
the telephone number of the destination, a temporary
?le number identifying a temporary ?le containing data
tively. Job 1 includes p pages, with the ?rst, page 360,
de?ning a form and with pages 362 and 364 being the
to be transmitted, and such other information as a user
name for a header on transmitted pages, and so forth.
second and last respectively. Similarly, the following
jobs each begin with a form, as illustrated by the last
In response to the event ?le, TSR 310 provides data 50 job, with q pages beginning with page 370 defming a
to fax card terminate and stay resident instructions 306
form and with pages 372 and 374 being the second and
indicating the destination. TSR 310 can temporarily
last respectively.
save the items to be sent in a directory in the DOS ?ling
FIG. 6 illustrates several general features in the oper
system. Then fax card terminate and stay resident in
ation of job database 324 in the current implementation:
structions 306 can put a request on a queue of requests
A batch includes one or more jobs. Each job includes
to the fax card. Subsequently, in response to status
one or more pages. The ?rst job in a batch may not
checks from fax server application instructions 312,
TSR 310 can request data from fax card terminate and
stay resident instructions 306 indicating whether the
items have been successfully sent.
Fax server application instructions 312 perform the
central functions of fax server software 300. In addition
to the above, fax server application instructions 312 also
call image processing instructions 314 to perform image
begin with a form, but every job after the ?rst begins
with a form which may be followed by a set of pages.
Each job thus includes one of the following: a single
blank sheet; a number of non-form pages, also referred
to as a document; a single form; a single form followed
by a document.
The basic scheduling operation is a cycling operation
that, on each cycle, selects an action to be performed
processing operations and database instructions 320 to 65 from those currently existing in job database 324. The
manage data in information database 322 and job data
current implementation has a number of different types
base 324. A user can interact with fax server application
instructions 312 through windows instructions 304.
of actions, many of which may be used to handle a
received facsimile transmission. An action of a given
11
5,282,052
type may be “created,” meaning that an instance of the
type is set up in job database 324.
12
ate on data defining the image of the form to obtain
identifying data identifying the form. Form identifying
a An action in job database 324 includes various items
information could be encoded and included in the image
in the manner described in copending coassigned U.S.
function and data that can be used in scheduling perfor 5 patent application Ser. No. 07/560,514, now continued
mance or execution of the action’s function. The sched
as application Ser. No. 07/931,554, entitled “Self-clock
uling data includes the action’s state, whether ready or
ing Glyph Shape Coes,” incorporated herein by refer- _
done; the earliest time to start performing the action’s
ence.
function; a priority to ensure that a retrieve function
The Job Set action is also created by the Batch action,
will be completed before a send function; and, option
as described above. The Job Set action has a readyproc
ally, a special function called a readyproc to determine
that determines that it is ready when there are no pages
whether the action is ready for performance of its func
in the batch whose type remains unknown, meaning
tion.
that all Page actions for the batch have been completed.
The Input action is a default action whose function is
In accordance with FIG. 5, a job is created in job data
performed when no other action is ready, based on a 15 base 324 for each job in the batch. Each job is also
readyproc that checks whether other actions are ready.
added to an activity log that lists all jobs, transactions,
Therefore, job database 324 always includes an Input
and transmissions. If a job includes only a single blank
action. The Input action’s function polls TSR 310 to
sheet, the Job Set action converts an initial form called
of information including data indicating the action’s
obtain data indicating whether or not a facsimile trans
the “Starter Form,” to the fax card format and creates
mission has been received. If so, the function obtains an 20 a Retrieve action to transmit the converted Starter
event file for the newly received images, sets up a new
Form, as discussed in greater detail below. If a- job
batch in job database 324, and creates a Batch action.
begins with a form, a Form action is created for the job.
The Batch action is created by an Input action, as
described above. The Batch action’s function calls a
The Form action is created by the Job Set action, as
described above. The Form action uses the data identi
converter procedure that is appropriate for the fax card 25 fying the form from the page entry, as stored by the
Page action, to access the form’s definition from infor
mation database 322. The Form action then uses the
form’s definition to construct calls to image processing
being used, as indicated by the user at the time fax
server software 300 is installed; the converter proce
dures convert a received file from the fax card's format
to a DOS file in fax server format; the DOS ?le name
instructions 314.
can be based on an integer identifier to facilitate com 30
munication between windows instructions 304 and TSR
310. Conversion can be performed by calls to modules
that can be independently modi?ed and extended. Con
version techniques are described in copending coas
'
A call to image processing instructions 314 can in
clude data indicating a segment of the form’s image,
such as a rectangle, or a position within the form's im
age, such as a corner of a check box. Each call can also
include data indicating an operation to be performed;
signed U.S. patent application Ser. No. 07/856,000,
35 examples include an operation that determines whether
entitled “A System and Method for Storing Received
a segment has been marked and an operation that clips
a segment that has been marked and returns its contents
in the form of an array such as a bitmap.
The Form action uses the form’s definition and the
Facsimile Image Data in Computer Memory,” incorpo
rated herein by reference.
The Batch action’s function also creates, for each
page in the received file, a page entry and a Page action 40 results returned by image processing instructions 314 to
to be performed on that page in job database 324; if only
create actions and other items within job database 324.
a single page is received, the function includes data in
For example, the form de?nition ‘can indicate that, if a
the page entry indicating a single page batch; the func
given check box is marked, a Store action should be
tion also creates a Job Set action. The function also
createdto store a document in response to a Store form;
creates a Cleanup action.
45 or that a Delete action should be created to delete a
The Page action is created by a Batch action, as de
document in response to a Delete form; or that a Pre
scribed above. Each Page action has a respective page
Send action should be created to prepare to provide a
entry for storing data relating to the respective page.
facsimile transmission in response to a Send form; or
If the page is a single page batch, the Page action’s
that a Pre-retrieve action should be created to prepare
function calls image processing instructions 314 to de 50 to provide a facsimile transmission to a destination indi
termine whether the page is blank. Techniqueslfor de
cated on the form or back to the fax machine that sent
tecting a blank page are described in copending coas
the form, typically in response to a Retrieve or List
signed U.S. patent application Ser. No. 07/855,375,
Contents form; and so forth.
entitled “Identi?caiton of a Blank Page in an Image
When the Form action must obtain a destination for a
Processing System,” incorporated herein by reference.
If the page is not blank or if the batch has more than one
55
Retrieve action, it begins by using a destination indi
page, the function calls image processing instructions
cated on the form, such as a telephone number of a fax
machine. If none is indicated, the Form action uses the
314 to determine whether the page is a form or a data
telephone number in the current event file, indicating
(non-form) page. Data indicating whether the page is a
the fax machine from which the Retrieve action was
form or a data page is stored in the page entry; if the 60 requested. If none, the Form action leaves the destina
page is a form, data identifying the form is also obtained
tion blank.
‘
from the image and stored in the page entry.
I g
As discussed in greater detail below for certain cases,
If every form includes a distinctive registration mark
the form’s definition can indicate that a new form, a
such as a logo, image processing instructions 314 could
cover sheet, or another image should be automatically
?rst search for the logo and determine whether the page 65 created, in which case the Form action obtains data
is a form using the result of the search. Then, if each
de?ning the new form, cover sheet, or other image. If a
form includes machine readable identifying informa
new form is created, it is added to a special category
tion, the image processing instructions 314 could oper
called “All Forms.”
13
5,282,052
The Store action can be created by the Form action,
14
The Pre-Retrieve action can be created by the Form
action, as described above, in response to any request
as described above, in response to a Store form that
preccedes a set of one or more data pages. The Store
for a facsimile transmission other than a Send form.
action obtains a system identi?er, such as a ?le location
Like the Pre-Send action, the Pre-Retrieve action con
of the data pages, stores the system identi?er in any 5 verts the items to be transmitted to the appropriate
categories indicated in check boxes on the form and,
format for the fax card being used, and stores each
converted item in a respective DOS ?le. Then the Pre
Retrieve action creates a Retrieve action.
The Retrieve action can‘ be created by the Pre
even if no categories are indicated, stores the system
identi?er in a special category called “All Documents.”
The Store action can also associate data de?ning an
identifying image from the Store form with the system
identi?er in the manner described in copending, coas
signed US patent application Ser. No. 07/855,987,
entitled "Method and System for Labeling a Document
for Storage, Manipulation, and Retrieva,” incorpo
rated herein by reference.
15
The Delete action can be created by the Form action,
as described above, in response to a Delete form that
includes check boxes indicating a set of one or more
documents. The Delete action deletes entries in infor
mation database 322 for the indicated documents and 20
also deletes the ?les in which the pages of the docu
ments are stored.
The Pre-Send action can be created by the Form
action, as described above, in response to a Send form
that includes check boxes indicating a request to pro 25
vide a facsimile transmission to a set of one or more
Retrieve action as described above. The Retrieve action
obtains data indicating a transmission path as obtained
by the Form action, either from a return address section
on the form or from the data de?ning the received
transmission. If the Form action did not obtain a desti
nation, the Retrieve action fails. The Retrieve action
orders the DOS ?les containing items to be transmitted
to the destination into a single queue. The Retrieve
action submits a request to TSR 310 to send the DOS
?les in the queue to the destination. Like the Send ac
tion, the Retrieve action creates a Verify action.
The Verify action can be created by the Send action
or the Retrieve action, as described above. The Verify
action submits a request to TSR 310 for data indicating
the status of the facsimile transmission that resulted
from the Send action or Retrieve action that created the
Verify action. If the facsimile transmission has not yet
completed, the Verify action resets its start time so that
it will be performed again later. The fax card will redial
according to its con?guration, and if the fax card re
ports a failure, the Verify action reports the failure to
indicated recipients. The Pre-Send action converts the
items to be transmitted, such as forms, cover sheets, and
documents, from the fax server’s format to the appropri
ate format for the fax card being used, and stores each 30
converted item in a respective DOS ?le. Conversion
the activity log before completing.
techniques are described in copending coassigned US.
The Cleanup action can be created by the Batch
patent application Ser. No. 07/856,000, entitled “A
action as described above. The Cleanup action has a
System and Method for Storing Received Facsimile
readyproc that determines that it is ready to be per
Image Data in Computer Memory,” incorporated
35 formed only when all other actions associated with the
herein by reference. For each indicated recipient, the
Pre-Send action obtains data indicating a transmission
Batch action that created it are completed. The Cleanup
action deletes any temporary ?les created by the other
path, such as a fax machine’s telephone number.
If the recipient is a new recipient, the Send form
actions associated with the Batch action.
includes check boxes indicating the recipient’s transmis
Each cycle of the basic scheduling operation selects
40 an appropriate action to be performed next. For exam
sion path. If the Send form also includes a check box
ple, if the only actions that are ready are a Batch action
and its Cleanup action, the Batch action is selected and
requesting that the recipient be added to the recipient
index, the Pre-Send action adds data indicating the
recipient’s transmission path to indicated distribution
performed.
In addition to selecting an action to be performed
lists in information database 322 and, in any event, to a 45 next, each cycle of the basic scheduling operation
special distribution list called “All Recipients.” The
branches based on whether a user interface action is
Pre-Send action can also associate data de?ning an
waiting from the user interface provided by windows
identifying image from the Send form with the recipi
instructions 304. If so, a waiting user interface action is
performed.
ent’s transmission path in the manner described in co
pending, coassigned US. patent application Ser. No.
07/855,987, entitled “Method and System for Labeling
It would be straightforward to extend the current
implementation to handle forms that request more than
a Document for Storage, Manipulation, and Retrieval,”
one type of operation or to handle a special form indi
incorporated herein by reference.
cating a new recipient but not requesting a Send action.
If the recipient is indicated by a check box, the Pre
Similarly, it would be straightforward to extend the
Send action retrieves the recipient’s transmission path 55 current implementation so that all the facsimile trans
data from information database 322. Similarly, if all
missions to a single destination from a single batch
recipients in a distribution list are indicated by a check
would be combined into a single continuous transmis
50
box, the Pre-Send action retrieves each recipient’s
transmission path data.
sion rather than being transmitted independently.
2. Automatic Form Creation-New Recipient
In either case, the Pre-Send action creates a Send 60
action for each recipient.
The Send action can be created by the Pre-Send
action as described above. The Send action orders the
DOS ?les containing items to be transmitted to the
speci?ed recipient into a single queue. The Send action
submits a request to TSR 310 to send the DOS ?les in
the queue to the speci?ed recipient. The Send action
concludes by creating a Verify action.
FIGS. 7 and 8 show how the general fax server fea
tures described above can be used to implement the
invention. FIG. 7 illustrates schematically how a user
can obtain automatic creation of a form showing a new
65
recipient. FIG. 8 shows general acts performed by the
fax server in automatically creating the form.
Network 500 in FIG. 7 includes requester’s fax ma
chine 502, fax server 504, and recipient’s fax machine
506. Fax server 504 is running software like that de
15
5,282,052
16
scribed above in relation to FIGS. 5-6. As shown, the
thus indicate a fax number of another location or of a
requester uses fax machine 502 to transmit data de?ning
third party in ?eld 556.
'
images of forms 510 and 512 to fax server 504. Forms
Form 522 in FIG. 7 is an automatically created form
510 and 512 could be transmitted as ‘part of a single
that includes a Send section as speci?ed by the marked
batch or in separate batches. In response, fax server 504 5 boxes in form 512. Like the other forms shown in FIG.
transmits data de?ning an image of document A 520 to
7, form 522 includes a logo and machine readable form
recipient’s fax machine 506 and transmits data de?ning
identifying information, and can also include other ma
an image of form 522 to requester’s fax machine 502.
chine and human readable information. A user can mark
Form 510 in FIG. 7 is a form that includes it Send
the boxes in ?elds 560 and 562 to specify a requested
section for requesting facsimile transmission of docu
operation.
ments to recipients. Form 510, like the other forms
The user can mark the box in ?eld 560 to specify that
shown, includes logo 530 for use in registration and to
a facsimile transmission should be made to the recipient
determine that it is a form. Form 510 also includes ma
identi?ed in ?eld 534 in form 510. To assist the user in
chine readable form identifying information, illustra
interpreting form 522, ?eld 560 can also include a ver
tively in a distinct ?eld 532. The form identifying infor
sion of the image from ?eld 534, identifying the recipi
mation could be encoded in the manner described in
ent. In response to a mark in the box in ?eld 560, fax
copending coassigned U.S. patent application Ser. No.
07/560,514, now continued as application Ser. No.
07/931,554, entitled “Self-clocking Glyph Shape
Codes,” incorporated herein by reference. Each form
20
server 504 can retrieve the identi?ed recipient’s fax
number and use it to establish connection with recipi
ent’s fax machine 506.
created, based on a function of an identi?er of the soft
ware installation that creates the form. In addition to
The user can mark the box in ?eld 562 to specify a
document to be included in the fax transmission to the
recipient. In response to a mark in the box in ?eld 562,
fax server 504 can retrieve and transmit data de?ning an
shown has its own unique identifying information, and
. this information can be generated at the time the form is
the ?elds shown, each form can also have human read 25 image of the specified document from its DOS ?le, as
illustrated by document A 520, thus completing the
able name, data and time of creation, and other informa
requested operation.
tion.
For simplicity of illustration, new form 522 includes
A user can write a name or other mnemonic identi?er
only one ?eld for selecting a recipient, ?eld 560, and
of a recipient in ?eld 534 in form 510. When a marked
version of form 510 is received, data de?ning the con 30 only one ?eld for selecting a document, field 562. In
tents of ?eld 534, such as a bitmap, can be stored in
general, an automatically produced form could include
information database 322 for subsequent use in perform
ing the requested Send action and in automatic form
request for automatic form creation exceeds the space
creation. Copending coassigned U.S. patent application
available, fax server 504 can create one or more addi
as many ?elds as will ?t within the space available. If a
Ser. No. 07/855,987 entitled “Method and System for 35 tional new forms for the overflow.
FIG. 8 illustrates acts performed by fax server 504 in
Labeling a Document for Storage, Manipulation, and
Retrieva ,” incorporated herein by reference, describes
ways of handling such bitmap images.
A user can mark boxes in ?elds 536, 538, and 540 in
form 510 to further specify the requested operation. The
box in ?eld 536 is marked to specify that the recipient
identi?ed in ?eld 534 should be added to the recipient
producing new form 522. Each act is an action of one of
the types described above.
The act in box 580 is a Form action that responds to
form 510 by modifying the recipient index in informa
tion database 322. As shown, the recipient index is mod
i?ed so that it can be used to retrieve the recipient’s
bitmap identi?er from ?eld 534 in form 510 and the
index in information database 322. The box in ?eld 538
recipient’s fax number from ?eld 540 in form 510. These
is marked to specify that Document A should be sent to
the recipient. Boxes in ?eld 540 are marked to specify 45 items can be accessible as described in copending coas
the recipient’s fax number.
signed U.S. patent application Ser. No. 07/855,987 enti
Form 512 in FIG. 7 is a form that includes a List
Contents section that can be used for requesting facsim
ile transmission of an automatically created form back
to the requester. List Contents sections are described in
tled "Method and System for Labeling a Document for
Storage, Manipulation, and Retrieval,” incorporated
herein by reference. As a result, a system identi?er is set
up that can be used to access one or both of the recipi
more detail in copending coassigned U.S. patent appli
ent’s bitmap identi?er and the recipient’s fax number.
cation Ser. No. 07/854,520, entitled “Using a Form‘ to
_ This system identi?er is included in the special category
Request Automatic Form Creation,” incorporated
herein by reference.
All Recipients in the recipient index.
The act in box 582 is another Form action that re
A user can mark boxes in ?elds 550, 552, 554, and 556 55 sponds to form 512 by automatically creating form 522
to specify the requested operation. The box in ?eld 550
with a Send section that includes a listing of the con
is marked to specify that the automatically created form
. should include a list of all recipients in information
database 322, which now includes the recipient identi
tied in ?eld 534 in form 510. The box in ?eld 552 is
marked to specify that the automatically created form
tents of the All Recipients category. This Form action
also creates a Pre-Retrieve action. ‘
The act in box 584 is the Pre-Retrieve action created
by the Form action in box 582. The Pre-Retrieve action
converts the automatically created form to the appro
priate format for the fax card being used. The Pre
should also include a list of all documents in information
database 322. The box in ?eld 554 is marked to specify
Retrieve action also creates a Retrieve action.
that the recipients and documents should be listed in a
The act in box 586 is the Retrieve action created by
Send section for requesting a send operation. Boxes in 65 the Pre-Retrieve action in box 584. The Retrieve action
?eld 556 are marked to specify the requester’s fax num
submits a request to TSR 310 to send the converted
ber or another number to which the automatically cre
form to the destination indicated in ?eld 556 of form
ated form should be transmitted. The requester could
512. The Retrieve action also creates a Verify action.
17
5,282,052
The act in box 588 is the Verify action created by the
Retrieve action in box 586. The Verify action veri?es
successful completion of facsimile transmission of the
converted form to the destination.
A form like form 522 in FIG. 7 could be created in
many ways. In the current implementation, each auto
matically created form has an upper segment with a
logo, a title, and machine readable form identifying
information. Below this portion, an automatically cre
18
tion indicates the type of each segment of the form, such
as Send, Retrieve, List, Delete, and Store. Each type of
form section has a respective set of segments, and the
form description also indicates the type, location, size,
and contents of each segment. Each segment can, in
turn, contain a set of smaller segments, and the form
description indicates for each smaller segment its type,
its location, its size, and its contents. The types of sec
ated form with a Send section can include a recipient
tions of a form and of their segments are also used to
determine how to retrieve and operate on the forms
listing segment, a write-in recipient segment, an options
contents.
segment, and a cover note segment. Alternatively, it
When a form is automatically created, it can be trans~
mitted to the requested fax number. The fax number
could be modi?ed if necessary as described in copend
could include a write-in recipient segment, a documents
segment, an options segment, and a cover note segment.
At the bottom of each automatically created form is a
ing coassigned U.S. patent application Ser. No.
segment with the user’s name and a date.
07/856,005, now issued as U.S. Pat. No. 5,241,589, enti
A recipient listing segment includes a set of ?elds like
?eld 560 in form 522, each including a box that can be
phone Dialing Rules,” incorporated herein by refer
checked to request transmission to a distribution list or
recipient and an identi?er of the distribution list or
recipient. These ?elds can be arranged in a number of
columns across an image. The check box in each ?eld
can be implemented for detection as described in co
pending coassigned U.S. patent application Ser. No.
tled “A System and Method for Implementing Tele
ence.
D. Applications
The invention could be applied in many other ways
other than in a system that performs facsimile transmis
sions. In general, the invention could be applied to any
07/855,984 entitled “Mark Sensing on a Form,” incor 25 system in which images of forms can be transmitted,
porated herein by reference.
such as a system that includes a scanner and a printer
A write-in recipient segment includes ?elds similar to
?elds in form 510. A ?eld with a rectangular outline like
which a sequence of partial operations to access a direc
The invention could be applied to document ?ling, in
?eld 534 permits a user to write a name or other identi
tory pathway could be combined into a single request
fying mnemonic of a new recipient. A ?eld like ?eld 536 30 ?eld on an automatically created form.
includes a box that can be checked to request that the
The invention could be applied to routing of docu
new recipient be added to the recipient index as de
scribed above. A ?eld like ?eld 540 includes boxes that
ments within an electronic mail system or other net
can be checked to indicate the new recipient’s fax num
send a document to a particular location could be com
ber, together with instructions and a small-scale exam
A document segment includes a set of ?elds like ?eld
562 in form 522, each including a box that can be
bined into a single request ?eld on an automatically
created form.
The invention could also be applied to image process
ing operations. For instance, a sequence of partial oper
checked to indicate a document and an identi?er of the
ations on a document could be combined into a single
ple.
document. These ?elds can be arranged in a number of
columns across an image and the check boxes can be
implemented for detection as described above.
An options segment similarly includes a set of ?elds,
work. For instance, a sequence of partial operations to
request ?eld on an automatically created form, includ
ing such operations as removing noise, deskewing, ex
tracting speci?ed types of regions, producing a copy of
the document, producing a cover sheet describing the
each including a box that can be checked to indicate an
document, and so forth.
optional operation. For example, a user can request a 45
The invention could also be applied to set up copier
copy of a transmitted document be sent to the user’s in
jobs in response to a form. For example, the ?rst time a
basket, that the transmission be done at a prespeci?ed
time such as a time when telephone rates are cheaper, or
user requests a complex copier job, the user would mark
a form to indicate a sequence of partial operations that
that a cover sheet showing all recipients be automati
make up the job, including, for example, whether the
cally created and transmitted.
50 copies should be on one or two sides, whether the cop
The cover note segment includes a ?eld with'a rect
ies should be stapled, and so forth. In response, the
angular outline, permitting a user to write a cover note
copier could produce a burst sheet for the job. This
for an automatically created cover sheet. Automatic
creation of a cover sheet including such a note is de
ing the sequence of partial operations. The burst sheet
scribed in copending coassigned U.S. patent application
55 can be a form that includes a check box for requesting
Ser. No. 07/855,388 entitled “Using an Image from a
Form in Automatic Creation of a Form or Sheet,” in
the same job set up or a ?eld for specifying a number of
copies to be made. The burst sheet can also include a
corporated herein by reference.
human-readable summary of the speci?ed partial opera
sheet can include machine-readable information indicat
In creating a form, fax server 504 also produces an
tions and an identi?er of the copied document, such as
identi?er of the form and creates a de?nition of the 60 a reduced version of an image of the ?rst page.
form. The identi?er of the form is used to produce
These other application of the invention could in
machine readable form identifying information and is
clude extensions of the implementations described
also included in a list of forms in information database
above.
322. A de?nition of each form is also stored such that
For example, in the above description, a sequence of
each form’s identi?er can be used to obtain its de?ni 65 partial operations is indicated by checking a sequence of
tion.
telephone numbers. Another way would be to write a
The form de?nitions could be implemented in many
sequence of numbers in which each number indicates an
ways. In the current implementation, the form de?ni
operation, such as by writing the digits of a telephone
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