If you have been working in an office for more than one month, then you’ll know how important PDFs are. This file format has cemented its place in modern offices thanks to its ease of use and its compatibility with Mac and Windows based computers. It was created by John Warnock and his team at Adobe as a way to reduce paper consumption, and boy has it worked! Nowadays everyone has a PDF reader available on their computer and their phones.
Given its widespread use, it’s easy to understand why so many people are looking for ways to fax a PDF online. Despite the fact that you could simply email these files, there are times when fax is the only option to communicate with another company or office. Thanks to online fax, you can forget about setting up a fax machine and instead, do it all from your computer. In this article you’ll learn about the methods you can use, and which one is best for your case.
Learning how to fax a PDF file is incredibly easy and affordable. Modern offices are benefiting from switching to online fax because you don’t need to print a PDF and then run it through a fax machine. In addition, some online fax services let you to receive fax as PDF through a virtual line, so you can read it on your computer or device’s screen.
PDF to Fax: Your Alternatives
As stated, the PDF format is the most popular in today’s world and logically, it is the most commonly faxed. But.. how do you actually fax a PDF document? Can you convert your fax to PDF and vice-versa? Can it be done for free? Let’s answer to all these questions.
We have three main alternatives to send PDFs from your computer. You can:
- Use an online fax service
- Use a special fax software (found in newer fax machine models)
- Using a fax machine connected to your device
- If none of the above is an option you can still print the PDF and fax it the old fashioned way
Right off the bat, the first way is without a doubt the easiest one (as it doesn’t even require a fax machine), but let’s give the rest a chance and see what each method brings to the table.
How to Fax a PDF from Email
There is one more thing working to reduce the overall paper waste. Its called email faxing. A few years back, the only way you could send a pdf is to print it and send it over the fax machine, but now the good old traditional way has been replaced by a more modern concept – online faxing.
Basically, all you have to do here is sign up for an online fax provider. They will give you the opportunity to link your Gmail account and be able to send PDFs (among other type of files) directly from it just by entering the fax number of your recipient followed by the provider’s domain. So, it goes like this – Fax Number@Provider’sDomain.com.
It’s a pretty straightforward process. If you need to fax someone immediately, we’d recommend using a service like RingCentral Fax or eFax. They have a trial period and everything gets automatically set up for you in less than a few minutes. After that, you can just go ahead and send a fax from your email client just as you’d send a regular email. The PDF document goes as an attachment to your emails.
How to Fax PDFs Using Fax Software
All Windows software versions have built-in fax programs, unlike Mac OS X. On Windows 7,8, and 10 you can use the “Fax and Scan” application which is pre-installed on your computer. It basically turns your PC into a fax machine.
There are a few extra things that you’d need to finalize the process, though. Those are a fax modem (either on your computer or an external one) and an active landline. The latter is important as you can’t really use the internet connection of the computer with the fax software. That is perhaps the biggest downside of this method. VoIP lines are out of the equation as well, as fax data won’t go well through them.
When faxing, you will realize that Windows’ “Fax and Scan” is so close to Outlook that you basically wouldn’t require any guidance if you’re used to the mail client. The only major difference is that you can fill the information for the cover pages. Once you send it, the computer will gather up the information and transform it into a fax, which will then be sent through the landline to your recipient’s machine or online directory.
This method is in some ways similar to our next one:
Fax Your PDF Through a Proxy Fax Machine
Basically, what you’ll be doing here is just attach the fax machine (or multi-purpose printer) to your PC and it will start acting as a proxy fax machine. You will still need a landline but in this case, you won’t need a modem.
Different fax machines connect to your computer through various ways – some with USB, others with Bluetooth. Some might even connect to your PC over a shared internet connection (shared WiFi, for example).
You can also use your phone in some instances, connecting it to a fax machine wirelessly like that.
Once your computer is connected, simple open the fax program and load the PDF document you want to send and send it as a fax. Another method is to go through the print menu at a Word document for example (Ctrl + P). If your fax machine is connected properly, you will be able to select it from the drop-down menu on the printing screen.
These were the more “modern” ways of faxing a document with a pdf file format. Let’s take a few moments to honorably mention the old school way, which still works for PDFs, as a matter of fact.
Sending PDF to Fax The Old Way
If there is a fax machine near you, and you don’t see a 10-person line for it, chances are that this method will be as quick as the rest.
If you aren’t a fan of doing things online or through dedicated computer programs, this might be the perfect method for you. Just print out your PDF file and go ahead and put it into the fax machine, enter your recipient’s number and you’re done.
We must mention one tiny downside, though. You might experience a slight PDF quality degradation using this method. Printing the document and then copying it in the fax machine are two processes that will both slightly take some quality off of your final product. This means that anything that demands a high level of quality kind of requires the previous three methods.
Receiving Faxes as PDF Files
What many people forget to explain is that when using any of the computer methods for faxing (both online and when connecting to a fax machine) you will have the opportunity to reverse the whole process. This means that any fax that is sent to your number can go directly to your PC, where it will ultimately be transformed into a PDF. That means that you can check your incoming faxes from your email client, or on the dedicated applications pre-installed on your Windows.
Why You Should Receive Fax as PDF
When you receive faxes on Gmail, they arrive as digital documents that you can open in your computer, and the preferred format for this purpose is the Portable Document Format, known all around the World as simply the PDF.
Developed by Adobe, this file format has been adopted by millions of offices on the World and fax services prefer it over other file types given its versatility and the amount of benefits it offers for all types of users.
In this article you’ll learn what makes the PDF so special. Please, read on!
Readable on Any Device
PDFs are readable practically everywhere. It doesn’t matter what device, computer, operating system or web browser you are using. There’s always a way to read a PDF.
Besides the Adobe Acrobat, the official free PDF reader, there are plenty of alternatives both free and paid to read these types of files. Every web browser also come with Acrobat plugins that let you read PDFs right on your browser screen without having to download any file.
The Acrobat Reader is also available for mobile phones. Though, if you are using an iOS device you can simply import PDFs to Books.
The transmission of fax to PDF is already an encrypted and secure process, but you can add more security measures on your PDFs.
You can set a password to open the document or add a watermark to prevent other people copying the content.
If your a PDF needs to be signed, you can easily add a digital version of your signature using one of the may online web tools for the job. A digital signature can be easily added to any document without having to download additional software.
You Can Find It Everywhere
Everybody uses PDFs these days, to the point that businesses have adopted it a standard way of sharing documents digitally. If you have a PDF you can easily share it and rest assured the other person has a way of accessing it.
Doesn’t need to be Updated
If you saved a PDF file in your computer some years ago, I’m sure you’ll be able to read it on any PDF reader. Why? Because this is a file format that remain consistent despite the passing of time. Other types of files vary according to the software version you use it to create it/read it. Other programs even change the filename. If you have saved these documents you may have to update it to the newest versions, and chances are it won’t look the same.
If you want to avoid spending several hours just updating all your files, using PDFs is the way to go.
Helps the Environment
The goal of PDFs was to make offices paperless. Although there’s still more to be done, no one can deny these files have played an important role in reducing the amount of paper consumption in workplaces. We are living in critical times for the Earth as CO2 production keeps increasing all over the World. Do you know how much wood you need to produce a single box of paper? HINT: It’s a lot!
Receiving faxes as PDF will let you choose to print only what is needed. As an extra benefit it will help you save money too. Money that won’t be spent on a dedicated fax line, a fax machine and office supplies.
PDF formatted documents are perhaps the easiest files you can fax. You can do that through online faxing services, or through your computer when connecting it to a fax machine or a modem and a landline.
Even printing a PDF and then faxing it is still considered relatively easy if you got access to a fax machine nearby. The great thing about these methods is that you don’t even need a fax number to be able to send your documents. In case you want to receive faxes through the same channels, though, you’d need one.
The beauty of online fax providers is that they automatically give you a fax number (most commonly toll-free) so that you can receive your faxes at the same place you sent them from. This has helped businesses reduce their electricity bills, their paper costs and be more time-efficient, so no need to wait in order to make the next big step!