Fax machines have been around since the 19th century and eventually advanced enough to send documents through a phone line. When a document is faxed, the scanned document travels through the phone line to arrive at another fax machine that decodes, decompresses, and reassembles the data into the scanned lines of the document. Hardly anyone owns a fax machine anymore but there are still times in which you need to send a fax. If you need to send a fax and don't have a fax machine, you can fax via email, online services, an app, or the old-fashioned method: finding a business with a fax machine like a mail store or library.
How Online Faxing Works
From faxing applications to sending copies of important documents, there are plenty of ways to fax documents without using a fax machine at home. The most common method is online faxing. Traditional fax machines have been largely replaced by online fax services and email. These online options work by assigning you a fax number when you sign up for service. You can send a fax with this number or even send a fax via email. You will need to scan and upload the document and the service will translate it in a way that a fax machine can receive. An alternative is using an app instead of an online service. Fax apps are convenient because they allow you to take a picture of your documents with your phone's camera, much like scanning the document. The document will be automatically prepared for scanning with options to crop the image.
This technology works just like a traditional fax and even allows you to receive faxes via email or a smartphone. There is no difference between a fax that's sent online and a fax sent with a regular fax machine.
Faxing Via Email
It's also possible to fax documents via email using a mobile device or your computer. You can even receive faxes by email. This requires using an online fax service. In most cases, you will create an email message like normal and enter the destination fax number followed by the fax service's domain such as 15558889999@FAXSERVICE.com. The documents you want to fax can be attached to the email in a variety of supported file types like Text, PDF, and Word documents. After sending the email, the fax service will convert the attachments into a fax format and fax them to the number you specified.
Questions and Answers
Do you still have questions about faxing documents without a fax machine? Here are some common questions with information that can help you send your first fax via an app, email, or online service.
Q: Do you need to pay anything to send a fax?
A: There are many services that allow you to send faxes for free although there is usually a limit such as 10 free faxes per month or 2 free faxes per day. In these cases, there is a cost for additional pages that may be around $0.10 per page. You can also choose a monthly subscription with unlimited faxes.
Q: How do I prepare a document for an online fax?
A: A fax transmits information through a phone line by converting a document into data that's uncompressed and decoded by the receiving fax machine. Depending on the service, you may be able to upload a DOCX file from MS Word or a PDF file stored on your computer and the service will automatically prepare it for faxing. You can also use a portable scanner to prepare a paper file for digital faxing. If you use a fax app, the app will allow you to take a photo of the document, much like a scan.
Q: What other services do online fax services offer?
A: In addition to allowing you to transmit or receive faxes, online fax services may offer other office services. For example, some provide a free dedicated fax number that remains yours. Others offer onsite storage of the faxes you have sent and received for your records or even voicemail service.
Q: Can you receive faxes without a fax machine and phone line?
A: Yes. One method is using an app and, typically, paying for a dedicated phone number if you need to receive more than the occasional fax or want a permanent fax number. You can also receive faxes to your email address through an online fax service.