Most computers these days have the ability to function as a fax machine.
While we primarily use an online fax service when using a computer as a fax, some people still use their computer as a direct replacement for a fax machine that typically sits on a desk, whether you use Windows XP, Vista, or Mac OSX and Linux operating systems.
Can I Fax from a Computer Instead of a Fax Machine?
There are three ways to fax from a computer:
A Windows PC already has free fax software (Windows Fax and Scan) installed.
Linux computers have a variety of fax software available.
Mac computers have no fax software available. They can only fax via an online fax service or connected fax machine.
A connected fax machine
Many printers and photocopiers already have fax capability.
Commercial grade photocopiers and multifunction printers will have an optional fax kit that will enable fax.
An online fax service
Online fax service is a dedicated fax number hosted by a service provider.
In contrast to fax software (or fax machines), online fax services provide the ability to fax directly from the Internet without installing a dedicated landline in your house, as well as the ability to access or manage fax communications from anywhere you can access the Internet.
The online fax service can also be combined with other devices – for example, faxing back and forth from the same account to another computer, tablet or smartphone.
How to send fax from a computer
Send fax via email
There is no “out of the box” way an email program can send a fax. An online fax service, fax server, or connected fax machine is required to enable email to fax and fax to email.
- Step 1 – Prepare a new email.
- Step 2 – Fill in the recipient’s fax number.
- Step 3 – Enter the subject line and body of the email.
- Step 4 – attach the documents to the fax.
- Step 5 – send the email.
- Step 6 – wait for confirmation (or message failure).
Send fax from Google Docs
Some options (such as online fax or connected fax machine) will allow Google Docs to email directly to a fax number.
Some fax services have further integration with other Google Docs & Drive programs – with this integration, a menu is added to a Google Docs file that will send the fax directly from the file.
Click Add-ons on the ribbon, and you will find your fax services there.
Send fax from cloud
Some fax services have further integration with other programs – with this integration, a file can be faxed directly from your cloud, such as One Drive, Google Drive.
Fax software acts and feels very much like an email program (except you are sending to a fax number). With both Windows and Linux, the document would need to be downloaded from Google Drive (often as a PDF) then faxed through the software.