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How do I send and receive faxes using email?

Question: I need to send faxes but I don't have a fax machine. Is there a way for me to send and receive faxes using email?

Answer: Yes, you can send and receive faxes without owning a fax machine, just by using software that converts your email program into a fax service. It's called email faxing, and here's how it works:

You install software on your computer that links your email account with your fax number through an email faxing service. When you want to send a fax, you instead send an email and the service converts it to a fax message and delivers it immediately. Simply attach the document you'd like to fax to an email. Input the number of the fax machine to which you'd like to send the fax, and the software handles the rest. You can also send your faxes to multiple recipients online, so you don't have to repeat the procedure again and again (with a new cover letter each time).

Receiving faxes is just as easy. Give your customers and clients your fax number, and you'll receive each incoming fax in your attached email account. You'll also be able to store your faxes online. This gives you the flexibility to look at your faxes from your desk, print them out when you need them, and store them for future use with ease.

Here are a few services that provide the software you need to start sending faxes with email:

RingCentral:

With RingCentral you can receive faxes in your Outlook inbox and fax any document from
within any Windows application. Your subscription includes a local or toll-free phone number, free fax software, and 300 free fax pages per month.

RingCentral was voted "Best for Toll-Free Numbers" by Inc. Magazine (2006) and their service is free to try for a month.

RapidFax:

RapidFax has a very similar set of benefits, with 200 free sending pages a month and 100 free receiving pages a month. They give you a free toll-free phone number, and their service is free to try for 30 days.

eFax:

eFax has been around for a long time and is one of the most well-known email faxing services available. They're not the cheapest either, but they're targetting small to medium businesses and offer a very full set of features and customer support.

eFax Plus costs $16.95 (USD) a month, with a one-time $10.00 (USD) fee to activate your number. You get 130 pages of incoming faxes and 30 pages of outgoing faxes free each month.1 After that, incoming faxes cost $0.15 (USD) a page and outgoing faxes cost $0.10 (USD) a page to numbers in the U.S.

You can get your faxes anywhere with eFax. You'll get a number tied to your email, not a machine. You can send and receive faxes as email attachments with eFax, along with these other benefits:

  • Get Mobile Send/Receive faxes by email
  • Stay Local or Go Global Get a local or toll-free number
  • Ensure Privacy Fax at your desk, not a machine
  • Save Money No hardware, software or phone line

Find out why over 10,000,000 people are happily using eFax to fax by email: Free eFax trial

Earth Class Mail:

Earth Class Mail provides a similar service to email faxing, but it converts your postal mail to email. You can view scanned images of your sealed envelopes online, and with a few mouse clicks have your mail securely scanned into a PDF document, recycled, shredded or mailed to you or someone else.

You can stop wasting time driving to a PO Box just to pick up your mail – just view it online, 24/7. And you'll finally be able to stop bugging friends, family and neighbors to collect your mail when you’re out of town.

Choosing email faxing over conventional faxing has a number of benefits, not the least of which is the ability to handle all your faxing needs without having to buy an additional piece of office equipment. Fax machines are affordable, but if they break down or don't function properly you're going to have to buy a new one, and possibly miss important documents or even orders. Email faxing allows you to use your computer for all faxing tasks without the added expense, and say good bye to busy signals or waiting to send and receive.

I have used RingCentral for the past year or so for their toll free #, auto attendant, etc. It's good to read about their fax functionality here because I am currently using efax and it's (still, after all these years) buggy. Thanks for the tip, I'll check it out.

Glad to hear RingCentral is working well for you.

Anyone else have experiences with eFax? I haven't used them myself, but they seem very reputable and are well known. I mean, with 10 million users they must be doing a lot of things right!

Ricky,

I saw on your blog about the email fax software. I already have a fax # set up on my business card so would the 800 # they provide interfere with it?

Also, are there any good options for software you buy one time instead of a monthly fee?

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