There are three ways to fax with Dropbox.
- An online fax service (a virtual fax machine accessed through the internet).
- A fax machine (or multifunction printer/scanner/fax/copier) that connects to the computer and faxes through a landline phone line.
- With software (such as Windows 10’s included “fax and scan” program) which turns the computer into a direct replacement of a hardcopy fax machine.
An online fax service is a virtual fax machine that can send and receive faxes on your behalf. 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.
Most fax services can fax as an email – when sending, 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 Gmail as a received email with the received fax attached as a PDF.
Some fax services have further integration with Dropbox – with this integration, a file can be faxed directly from Dropbox.
Some models of fax machines (or multifunction printers with a fax option) can send faxes.
The fax machine and land-line phone line will need to be connected. From there, you can fax from the computer (connected through a cable or with some models over WiFi or Bluetooth) through the fax machine.
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. When special software is used, the document will need to be downloaded from Dropbox (usually as a PDF) then faxed through the fax machine’s software.
Many fax machines will let you select the file in Dropbox and print it. From the print driver, they will then let you choose the option to fax.
Fax software turns your computer into a replacement for a fax machine.
What you’ll need
- Windows (XP, Vista, 7, or 8) or Linux computer (there is no fax modem available for Apple computers)
- 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 ones that work with enterprise-level fax servers).
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 Dropbox (and sometimes converted to PDF) then faxed through the software.
If none of the above methods work, sometimes the easiest way to fax a Dropbox document is to print it then scan it through a nearby fax machine.
External Sources and Resources
- Windows 8 and 8.1
- Windows 7
- Windows Vista
- Windows XP
- Mac OS X
- Linux (Ubuntu, Mint, Chrome OS, and other Distributions)
- Fax Software
- Fax Modems
- Smartphone or Tablet
- How to email a fax
- How to fax a PDF
- How to fax from a VoIP phone (such as Vonage, Skype, Magic Jack, or Google Voice
- How to fax from Google (Gmail, Google Docs, and Drive)
- How to fax from Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, and more)
- How to fax to an email address
- How to email a fax