A couple of weeks ago we began allowing users to send faxes in monochrome as opposed to the default halftone option. The difference between monochrome and halftone can be very useful in certain cases and many of our users welcomed the option. Still, a few users didn't understand if they should switch from the halftone default, and what difference, if any, it would make. Below I’ll explain the difference and go through the pros and cons of each.
Because (most) fax machines only print in black and white, colors get lost in the fax printing. To compensate, a fax machine might shade an area in gray that previously was colored. So, a blue area on the original document would fax and print in gray (made up of black and white dotting).
This process is called halftoning and until now that's been the default at Phaxio.
As opposed to halftone, sending in monochrome forces the machine to send without any graying. If you’re sending text, monochrome might make your lettering clearer. If you’re sending a thin-lined signature, monochrome might help it “pop” more.
However, if your document has colors, logos or images, they may be lost when the grayed areas are removed, or worse the logo might be turnedblack. (see below)
Below is a test document. At the top of the document is gray box with the words “Banquet Request Form,” and at the bottom the line “This shows up on halftone but not on monochrome.”
It’s important to note that the writing in the top box is white on a colored background, and the writing on the bottom is black on a gray background.
If we send this document using halftone, you can see where the fax machine tried to replicate the grays and create a feathering effect where the lines aren't completely black. Additionally, the box at the bottom shows up with black writing on a grayed background.
Now let’s compare that “halftoned” document to one sent using monochrome. The first thing you notice is the lack of gray. As I mentioned above, with monochrome everything is either black or white, no graying and no feathering. While the “Banquet Order Form,” line does show up at the top of this page, the box at the bottom of the page is converted to black and therefore doesn't show any writing.