The only way to fax with AOL is with an online fax service (a virtual fax machine accessed through the internet).
Popular alternatives are a connected fax machine, fax software or printing the document and faxing it using a traditional fax machine.
There is no way to directly use AOL’s system as a fax machine. Attempting to use a fax machine while connected to AOL will likely make both the fax machine not work and AOL disconnect.
Most AOL dial-up users will have a landline and fax modem, which is required to use fax software on a computer.
An online fax service is a virtual fax machine that is hosted with a service provider.
Compared with fax software (or a fax machine), an online fax service offers the ability to fax directly from the Internet without a dedicated landline phone line in your house. It can also help you manage fax communications from anywhere you can access the internet.
The service provides the fax number (or lets you port your own in), and users can send and receive faxes through email, a web interface, smartphone app, or computer program.
No phone line is needed, only an internet connection.
Compared with fax software (or a fax machine), an online fax service offers the ability to fax directly from the Internet without a dedicated landline phone line in your house, as well as the ability to access or manage fax communications from anywhere you can access the internet.
Most fax services can fax through AOL as an email. To send a fax, an email is composed with the main body of the email becoming the cover page, and the attached file converted over to the main part of the fax. When receiving, the fax arrives directly to AOL email as a received email with the received fax attached as a PDF.
What you’ll need
- An internet connection (it doesn’t have to always be on)
- A subscription to a fax service (the fax number and software are included)
- An AOL email account (any email account will do)
- A document to send
Things to be aware of
- If subscribing outside of the United States, service coverage may vary. At last count, there were more than 60 countries with online fax service availability.
- A monthly charge is normal. Costs start around US$5-10/month including a few hundred pages per month. In contrast, a landline phone line just for a fax machine typically costs US$25/month.
For full details on online fax services compatible with AOL and other email accounts, see our page on Online Faxing.
Some models of fax machines (or multifunction printers with a fax option) can send faxes from a print driver or computer program.
A connected fax machine will not directly work with AOL email. It only provides a similar interface to AOL email. Using a connected fax machine, you can “print” a fax in very much the same way you would send an email.
The fax machine will need to be connected to a land-line phone line. From there, you can fax from the computer (connected through a cable or with some models over WiFi or Bluetooth) through the fax machine.
What you’ll need
- A computer (or device that is compatible with your connected fax machine)
- A fax machine (or multifunction print/scan/copy/fax device) that can fax from the computer
- An active land-line phone line to connect the fax / multifunction printer to. The phone line should not be a VoIP phone connection as VoIP signals usually scramble a fax signal – for more details on faxing with VoIP, see our page on “why does my fax machine not work on my VoIP phone line?“
- A document to send
Things to be aware of
- You will still need to connect the fax or multifunction printer to an active land-line phone line for this to work
- A fax or multifunction printer with “wireless” (such as wifi or Bluetooth) does not allow you to send and receive faxes without a phone line. The “wireless” portion of the fax/printer is only for communication between the computer and the printer – not between the fax/printer and the phone system. A “wireless” fax/printer cannot connect wirelessly to the internet to be able to send and receive faxes.
- Some models will only send while connected and cannot receive while connected. With these models, the fax will usually print the document.
- When setting the system up, double check to see what happens with received faxes when the computer is not active. Some models will store received faxes in the fax/printer’s memory. The challenge with this approach is a power interruption will erase any stored faxes (that the fax machine has already marked as acknowledged).
In most cases, faxing can be done through the print driver. In some cases, there is special software for the fax function that is different from the print function.
Each connected fax machine or multifunction printer with fax has different instructions.
Fax software turns your computer into a replacement for a fax machine. While there is no direct integration with AOL, it will be able to send many of the same documents AOL can send.
What you’ll need:
- Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8, or 10) or Linux computer (there is no fax modem available for Apple computers)
- A Fax modem (either internal or external)
- Land-line phone line (a VoIP phone line will not work)
- Fax software (Windows and Linux both have free offerings)
Windows comes with Windows Fax and Scan pre-installed since Windows Vista (Windows XP came installed with Fax Console). Linux has some different software packages (including enterprise-level fax servers).
With a Windows computer, faxing is done by opening the program, composing a fax, attaching the Office document, and sending it (it works very much like an email program). While Windows Fax and Scan does not automatically update contacts from AOL, they can be imported.
With a Linux computers, faxing is done very much the same way as Windows computers. However, AOL email is not directly compatible with the platform.
If none of the above methods work, sometimes the easiest way to fax a Google document is to simply print it then scan it through a nearby fax machine. We keep a list of places to send a fax that might be available nearby.
There are none that we are aware of.
Yes, but only from an AOL email account using an online fax service.
There is no way to send a fax directly from an AOL account or using the AOL service.
Yes, you can receive a fax to an AOL email account using an online fax service.
Some connected fax machines are enabled with a fax-to-email feature (this feature is typically found on corporate-level devices).
There is no way to use AOL’s dial-up service to receive a fax. Computers equipped with a fax modem can also use fax software and the landline phone line to act as a fax machine.
If the fax machine has fax-to-email or the ability to forward a fax to email enabled, it can forward a fax to any email account (including AOL email).
Most online fax services are compatible with any email address, including AOL email addresses.
With an online fax, using AOL is about as simple as any other system.
Most email systems (including Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo mail) have a way of printing directly from the email, which AOL does not have. Those with printing can use the print driver to send a fax via a connected fax machine.
Fax Authority – How to send a fax from a computer, or email and where can I find a place to send a fax? – our pages with instructions on different methods of faxing (or how to find a store that will send faxes on your behalf).