A new tool that lets plotters behave like fax machines accepting documents may help solve an issue hampering design collaboration.

The Remote Printing for AEC service from Hewlett Packard lets subscribers mount a super plotter driver on their desktop capable of correctly driving any model HP plotter, in any location, as long as it has access to the Internet and the owner has e-mail. The e-mail alerts recipients when documents are available and sends them to a Web address. A key feature, however, is that the receiver can only view a thumbnail and accept or decline the plot. The output parameters are controlled by the sender.

"We guarantee that what you intend to send is exactly what gets printed on the other end," says Matt Gilliland, a marketer who has been involved with development of the new tool.

Gilliland claims the approach answers a worry of architects and engineers that transmitted files could be plotted with incorrect layers, line weights or even at the wrong scale.