Even though we live in the digital age, and everyone prefers to communicate via text message or email, there are still many people and organizations that use fax regularly. And what better way than sending fax by computer?
Digital fax is fast, safe, and saves you a lot of money. But not all methods to send fax by computer are the same. Currently there are three of them:
- Use an online fax service
- Use fax software
- Use a computer-compatible fax machine
Send Fax with an Online Fax Service
This is currently the best method for sending computer fax. It’s simple, fast, and you can use it within a few minutes if you wish, because there are no complicated setups or advanced requirements.
Online fax services allow you to send a fax as if it were an email, you can read more about them in our tutorials. Just compose a message and attach the file you want to send. The service will first convert it to a format that can be read by a fax machine, and then send it. In the same way, faxes will automatically arrive to your inbox, thanks to a very important item: a digital fax number (provided for free with your account).
You can use any type of email to fax online, from free ones such as Gmail (more about it on How to Send Fax from Gmail in 5 Steps), Outlook, Hotmail, to those with custom domains. The most important thing is to have enough space to store faxes coming your way.
You can also send fax from the service’s website. Each of them has a members area where you can find a simple form to send faxes. Just enter the necessary information, choose the file and send it.
We say that this is the best method because services give you everything you need to send and receive faxes without leaving your computer, and they also include interesting features that help you speed up communications, such as fax scheduling, broadcasting, mobile apps and more.
This is the typical way to send a fax with an online service:
- Create a new email
- Enter the recipient number in the TO field, followed by @ yourservice.com
- Attach the file to fax
- Press Send
After completing the process, a confirmation message will be sent to your email.
Send Fax with Fax Software
There are different programs that allow you to send fax from a computer. In fact if you use Windows as an operating system, you already have one at your fingertips, the “Windows Fax and Scan” included in your installation disk.
Instead of using your Internet connection, these programs use a common analog connection. That is why they require you to have an internal or external fax modem, a device that is able to connect your computer to a physical fax line.
Some fax programs are designed to be used with a fax server. These servers basically allow you to have the same advantages as a fax service. Of course, this solution is very expensive and requires an IT team in charge, so it is only recommended for large companies with heavy faxing volumes.
How to send a fax using software:
- Install the program.
- Configure your fax modem in the Settings.
- Select “New Fax”
- In the case of Windows Fax and Scan, follow the steps in the wizard.
- Press Send
To send a fax we have to make sure that the line is free and there are no interruptions, since the analog line is capable of one transmission at a time.
Send Fax with a Fax Machine
The last alternative is to send the fax through a fax machine, or rather a multi-function printer with an Ethernet port. This is a method that comes closest to traditional faxing, with the difference that – depending on your machine – you can send files using the “Print To” option.
Some brands, such as Brother, have features to send faxes directly from the machine through an online fax service. Although it sounds interesting, this type of feature never works as it should, or only works with a specific service, so you will lose your freedom of choice.
Companies like Nextiva or FaxLogic have tried to solve this problem through a fax adapter, a device that connects to your fax machine or all-in-one printer and allows you to connect to the office network. However, this requires an additional expenditure and is no better than using an online fax service.
Which Alternative is the Best?
Having tried all these methods to send computer fax, we have concluded that sending fax through Gmail is the best one. It’s because sending and receiving faxes this way is similar to sending a common email, and what better email provider than Gmail? With its many features and ways to organize faxes, keeping your faxes at hand and easy to find is actually very easy.
Of course, you can try other email addresses such as Outlook and Yahoo! and it will work just fine. If you are interested in learning more about services that let you fax by email (and offer free accounts), I invite you to head over to our homepage and read our reviews.