How many pages can be faxed at once?

LAST UPDATE: August 30th, 2018

There is no set limit to how many pages can send at one time in fax transmissions. Fax transmission standards do not have a theoretical length and size limit.

There may be, however, physical limits to the ability of the receiving fax machine, fax service, or fax software.

Summary

  • 50 pages of text can be a lot of pages for a fax.
  • 100 pages of text can be a lot of pages for a fax sent to a large company or busy office with the equipment to receive a fax that large
  • A fax that doesn’t successfully send the entire transmission will receive an error message.
  • Be sure to mark the number of pages in the fax on the cover sheet.
  • Graphics and pictures will decrease the number of pages that can be sent and increase transmission time.
  • If a fax with lots of pages stops with two pages to go, the entire fax will need to send again.

Page limits with fax machines

A fax machine is limited factors such as by ink, toner, paper, onboard memory, and equipment uptime.

Supplies (ink, toner, and paper) – a fax machine needs paper as well as ink or toner to operate. If they run out, the fax transmission will be interrupted until replenished.

Memory – Most modern fax machines have onboard memory. These days, memory is much less costly than it was in the glory days of fax machines. It is standard for even very basic fax machines to have upwards of 50 pages of memory.

Fax servers & fax software

Fax servers and fax software have technical constraints with memory and storage. They are not likely to be reached with a fax transmission.

The limits to a fax server transmission have more to do with physical file sizes and available memory. These limits are likely to be much higher than a conventional fax machine has. It is common for fax machines to have 64MB of memory. Fax servers and fax software typically operate with hardware capability in the gigabytes, many more times the capacity of regular fax machines.

Fax machines (or computers with fax software) on a VoIP phone line

Some fax machines (or computers with fax software) attempt to connect through a VoIP phone line. This type of connection (when it does work) is known to be very inconsistent for faxing.

Although faxing through a VoIP connection may work for some people, we are asked more about this problem than any other.

A fax machine on a VoIP connection may run a test page successfully, however, may experience transmission stops after only 3 or 4 pages, or when the fax includes pictures and diagrams.

What happens if too many pages are sent?

If too many pages are sent, then the full transmission would come back marked as “incomplete.”

The receiving fax machine will see an error, and will not be able to send a confirmation message to show that the entire fax was successfully received.

Best practices for sending faxes with many pages

Mark the number of pages on the cover page – It is standard practice to mark the number of pages in the transmission (including the cover page) on the cover page. Marking the number of pages helps the receiving fax user identify if they have received all pages.

Break up large faxes – 50 pages would be considered a lot of pages for a fax. If the receiving party is a corporate office (and therefore has a larger capacity fax machine), 100+ pages would be considered a lot of pages for a fax.

Consider alternatives – email is a good alternative for fax, however in some cases (for example legal transmissions that want the confirmation of successful transmission), registered mail may be an alternative if the message cannot be split up into smaller messages.

Sources and more resources

LexisNexisHow many pages in a Gigabyte? – the amount of data different file types take. Fax is often transmitted as an image, and at 15,477 pages per GB, it is expected that 15 pages of fax per MB of fax storage are possible. Fax sizes won’t be exactly the same as an image as there are a number of factors including compression, black and white of fax vs color images, and how individual fax machines store a document.

HP Support Forumswhat is the Maximum number of pages to scan and email on 5740 all in one – a forum discussion on the maximum number of pages that can be faxed at once.