Send a Fax From Your Computer
Sending a fax from your computer is a convenient, money-saving way to communicate with people who cannot receive email, or insist on paper documents. There are several ways to send a fax 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 - 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 go to their home page and 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 at a time twice 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.)
Faxzero and most other free fax services have subscription-based plans for higher volume customers. See my list in Free Internet Faxing for more options. If you're often on the receiving end of faxes, my article Top Online Fax Services 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 App Store for PC-FAX (offers one free page per day) or iFax Pro (charges 99 cents for up to 5 pages). If you have an Android-powered smartphone or tablet, look in Google Play (formerly called Android Market) for iFax Pro.
Desktop Faxing Solutions
Let's start with the Fax and Scan utility built into Windows Vista and Windows 7. To start Fax and Scan, click Start, All Programs, and then click Windows Fax and Scan. 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, which most computers have. 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. Unfortunately, most newer Macs do not have an internal modem, so the online fax solution may be the only option.
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. Snappy Fax 2000 can filter out unwanted junk faxes. 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 Five Good 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...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 20 Mar 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Send a Fax From Your Computer (Posted: 20 Mar 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved