Some slow-moving businesses and government agencies may not receive documents by email, forcing you to send a fax. If you are forced to send a fax, you can do this from a computer for free.
We have previously discussed how to sign documents electronically without printing and scanning them. With this process, you can digitally sign documents and send faxes to businesses – all on your computer and without the need to print.
How Fax Machines Work (and Why They Are Very Uncomfortable)
This is not as easy as it should be. All fax machines are connected to the old telephone line. When you use a standard fax machine, the fax machine places phone calls to the number you specify. The fax machine at the destination number answers and the document is sent by telephone call.
This process was created before the Internet and seems ancient at this time. To fax, someone can type a document, print it, and scan it to the fax machine that sends it over the telephone line. The person who receives the fax can then scan the document that was faxed and convert it back to a digital file. They come in full circles – documents are sent from one computer to another with a lot of additional work and lost picture quality.
Ideally, you can send documents via email or safer online methods. Many businesses consider sending a fax a safe method for transmitting documents, but it really isn’t – if someone peeks into a telephone line, they can easily intercept all documents sent by fax.
There is no way to connect to the fax machine directly through the Internet, because the fax machine is only connected to the telephone line. To fax online, we need a gateway that receives documents through the Internet and sends documents to the fax machine. That’s where the service below comes in. Give them the documents and they will do the annoying job of turning the fax machine and sending your documents over the telephone line.
You Can Fax Only With Your Computer, But …
You can skip the services below, of course. Microsoft Windows even includes a Fax and Scan application that allows you to send faxes. The problem is you need your computer connected to a telephone line – yes, this means you need a dial-up fax modem. You also need a landline telephone connection and you must tell people not to use the telephone when you send a fax, just like in the days of old dial-up Internet. Of course, if you send a lot of faxes, you can pay for special fax telephone lines – this might even be necessary if you receive a lot of faxes.
This is clearly not ideal. Of course, if you need to send several faxes, please buy a fax machine or modem and connect it to your home telephone. But you might not need to send and receive these faxes as often as possible – you might only need to send the fax occasionally every time you meet an organization that has stalled in the past.
Scan Documents or Use Existing Digital Files
The basic process is simple. First, you must scan the document you want to send a fax, the same as if you were to send the document via e-mail. if you don’t have a scanner lying around, you might want to try scanning with your smartphone. If the document has become a file on your computer, congratulations – you don’t need to scan anything.
With documents now in digital form, you can send them to a service that will do the fax job that is bothering you.
Send Fax Online, for Free
There are so many online fax services out there that it is difficult to make the right decision to choose which. The first thing to consider is what kind of user you are, how often they will send faxes, and what features you need.
If you are going to send sensitive faxes all the time, or you work for a company and you are trying to choose a service, RingCentral Fax, which is partly owned by Cisco and AT&T, might be the best choice for your needs, especially because they have many great security features and support for many users with separate fax lines.
It has all the features you can imagine, including integration with Outlook, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, and you can even get toll-free numbers. It also has many security features that will be useful for businesses or people who send secure information.
Of course, if you only want to send a few faxes, you can register for one of their cheap packages … and then cancel after a month or two.
If you need to send a fax occasionally, we recommend signing up for a free MyFax trial, which will allow you to send up to 100 pages, which is more pages per month than most people have to send faxes per year. If you need to send faxes often, you can upgrade to a regular packet.
Receive a Fax
If you need to receive faxes, you must register for paid services. This service needs to create a special telephone number for your fax line, and that requires a fee. RingCentral, MyFax, and many other services will do this if you pay.
Luckily, at least you can get a free trial – RingCentral offers 30 days of free fax reception, for example.
There are many fax services to use, and if you only need to send a fax occasionally, you can set it up for free, but if you want to receive faxes, you will eventually have to register for a trial account. . You can always cancel if you want.