Here's How to Send a Fax From Your Computer

Category: Fax

Sending a fax from your computer is a convenient, money-saving way to communicate with people who insist on paper documents. Skip the trip to the office store -- there are several ways to send a fax right from your computer, even if you don't have a fax machine. Here's how you can start faxing from your PC, Mac or mobile device...

No Fax Machine? No Problem!

Even though we live in a digital age, there are still plenty of faxes whizzing back and forth over the wires. If you deal with lawyers, banks, accountants, or almost any office that deals with lots of paperwork, you will occasionally need to send a quick fax.

But what if you don't have a fax machine? You can drive over to the nearest copy shop or office supply store and pay them to send your fax, but that's no fun. Fortunately, you can send a fax right from your computer or smartphone - no fax machine required!

The first and best option in most cases is to try one of the many free fax servers to be found on the Web. FaxZero is one these free fax services. Just enter your name, email address, and optionally your company or fax number. Add the fax number and name of the intended recipient. Upload a file in PDF, DOC, or DOCX (Word 2007 and higher) format, or type a short message in a Web form box to be faxed. You can fax up to three pages (plus cover page) five times a day for free. If you have hardcopy pages that need to be faxed, you'll need to scan them into PDF format first. (See Digital Scanners To The Rescue if you don't have a scanner.)

Send Fax From Computer

Faxzero and most other free fax services have subscription-based plans for higher volume customers. Faxzero charges $1.99 for priority delivery of faxes up to 25 pages. See my list in Free Internet Faxing for more options. If you're often on the receiving end of faxes, my article Get Your Free Inbound Fax Number will show you how to funnel all that paper into your email inbox instead.

If you use an iPhone or iPad there are apps you can use to send a fax from your mobile device. Look in the Apple's App Store for PC-FAX (offers one free page per day) on Google Play for Android devices.

Desktop Faxing Solutions

Let's start with the Fax and Scan utility built into Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8 and 10. To start Fax and Scan, click Start, type WFS, and press Enter. If Fax and Scan is not installed on your system, click Start, Control Panel, Programs, Turn Windows Features On Or Off, then Print And Document Services. Check the box next to Windows Fax and Scan and click OK to install Windows Fax and Scan services. Note that Fax and Scan is only available on the Business and Ultimate editions of Vista, not Vista Home Edition. If you're still running Windows XP, see How to enable and configure the fax service in Windows XP. All modern versions of Mac OS have fax sending capability built in.

You can send a fax using a standard fax modem, if your computer has one. Just plug your phone line into the telephone jack on the back of your computer, and you should be good to go. Windows Fax and Scan lets you compose a text-only fax on the fly, or you can send any file, such as a Word document, a spreadsheet, a photo, or a scanned page to a remote fax machine. Cover pages are also easy to create with this program. On a Mac, open the document, click File/Print, click the PDF button, then choose "Fax PDF" from the pop-up menu.

Modern Macs and PCs may not have an internal modem, because the age of dial-up Internet is largely over. If your computer lacks a fax modem, you may already own an "all-in-one" printer/fax/scanner that will do the job.

Third-party fax software for Windows is preferred by some users, and some of these programs offer features that Windows Fax and Scan lacks. Electrasoft offers a shareware program that can print incoming faxes, forward them to your email inbox, or use your cellular phone to send a fax. A bit of Googling with reveal that there are plenty of free and low-cost fax programs with different features to suit every taste.

Enterprises which send lots of faxes each month can benefit from an in-house fax server. Such a server is a network-connected computer equipped with special telephony cards into which multiple phone lines can be plugged. Software handles receipt and queuing of digital fax documents from users on the network, and the transmission of faxes through multiple phone lines. A fax server can also store sent faxes, allowing users to quickly find, view, and print copies of what they sent.

Why not just buy a cheap fax machine? The short answer to that question is that they're not really so cheap when you factor in all the costs. See my article Seven Reasons to Trash Your Fax Machine and join my crusade to stamp out fax machines in our lifetime! :-)

Have you ever sent a fax from your computer? Tell us about it, or post your own comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Here's How to Send a Fax From Your Computer"

Posted by:

Lisa H
28 May 2019

I remember my days of working in an office in the 90’s and up till 2001. Fast forward to now, and I wonder how many companies even still use a fax machine? Net Zero I have used in the past, probably many years ago. Though given there are many who remain in *old school mode*, these online services are no doubt a wonder. We still have a multi printer-fax-copier from 2011, which we bought when my husband became (at that time) self employed. We still use it, but only for making copies.


Posted by:

James
28 May 2019

My brother MFC-J870DW inkjet printer handle the few faxes I send during a year with ease.


Posted by:

Renaud Olgiati
28 May 2019

And if our computer lacks a fax modem, a USB fax modem can be had for about $20, and takes a lot less room than a fax machine.

I have used for years a Trendnet TFM-561U and have had no problem using it under Windows or Linux, no drivers needed. When not in use, unplug and keep in a drawer.


Posted by:

chris
29 May 2019

Good info. Thanks.


Posted by:

Ernie
30 May 2019

The principal advantage of FAX machines over PC- or mobile-based emailing/messaging has been content security (ignoring, of course, the problem of someone other than the intended recipient picking up and reading the hard-copy fax). Just wondering, are faxes sent via software equally secure? Or are they susceptible to being intercepted & read like email (apart from using 3rd-party VPNs, encryption, etc)?


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