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 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.)
Send Fax From Computer

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...

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Most recent comments on "Send a Fax From Your Computer"

Posted by:

20 Mar 2012

hi bob,
you know by now i never use upper case unless shouting. ;)

i have sent faxes from my computer when necessary in the past...i used something that if memory serves was built into winxp, tho as i recall, i DID have to use the install disc to add it.

the only problem is finding a scanner generally ...but if doing stuff straight from your computer, it works pretty well!


Posted by:

20 Mar 2012

most laptops do not have a fax modem anymore

Posted by:

20 Mar 2012

I use faxzero exclusively (well once, I had someone else send a fax for my cuz my computer was down). I fax regularly 1 page every month, which means that buying a fax machine would be stupid.

I've never had a problem with faxzero, and I think I read about here first.

Posted by:

20 Mar 2012

Perhaps more importantly, absent a fax/modem and desktop permanently active, how does one RECEIVE an incoming fax without a stand alone fax machine?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I mention that in the article. See

Posted by:

21 Mar 2012

Hi Bob. For years I used my computer as a fax (along with my scanner) for banking and other matters.

When I got my new 'puter went out and purchased a new fax modem as one from my old one wouldn't work.

Then I got pissed at AT&T and switched to Comcast digital voice, which, as I'm sure you know, is VoIP (the guy from Comcast told me my fax would still work - HA!). The Windows 7 fax does not work with VoIP. So, my new $70 modem was a waste of money.

I've used FaxZero once and it worked well, I'm just not real happy having my banking info (like acct nos) out there where strangers can read.

I know there's some kind of work around for VoIP, but since I'm not a techi my head was spinning reading all the stuff on how to do it.

Aha! That's what's needed. A simple explanation and step by step instructions from Ask Bob on how to set it up so you can use your computer for faxing with VoIP.

Posted by:

28 Apr 2012

~Interesting about Win 7 Fax...

I just want everyone to know that Comcast Digital voice acts just as a normal house phone line would (actually better)
I have CDV, and I'm using XP Professional with third party software called MightyFax with a US Robotics PCI modem/fax and even tho its an old combo, it works flawlessly

Posted by:

Jeffrey Pierce
18 Nov 2012

I have desktop computer with a fax modem and my phone line is cable (VOIP) at 14,400 mps.
I am trying to set up my computer to do broadcast
faxing and need to know what I need to do to make my faxes go through to reciprient flawlessly.
Is it better to buy a fax software for voip or is it better to buy a fax software that will work with my modem?
I would appreciate an answer as quickly as possible so I can start faxing.

Posted by:

earl judds
06 Jan 2014

Good advice. I have been looking into computers and this will help. Thanks for sharing.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Send a Fax From Your Computer (Posted: 20 Mar 2012)
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