How to cancel a fax

Last Update: August 9th, 2021

A fax can cancel if you act quickly. There is no way to cancel a fax after it sends.

If you successfully stop the fax, the other fax machine will mark the transmission as “not complete.” The receiving fax machine will print and data that transmits.

With most fax machines, the number of pages that have been printed or scanned is not necessarily an indication of how many pages have transmitted between fax machines. The fax transmission may have already been marked “received” even if not all pages have printed.

How to stop a fax on a fax machine

Here are some ways to quickly cancel a fax using a fax machine:

  1. There is a “cancel” or “stop” button on a fax machine. The button is typically red and often has the shape of an ‘X’ on it. When you press the cancel button, the transmission will stop sending.
  2. If there is a phone handset, you can pick it up and put it down. This method may not work with a phone handset attached to the “EXT” port if the fax machine disables this port when the fax is in use.
  3. Pressing (or pressing and holding) the “hook” or “hook/flash” button may interrupt the line.
  4. Unplug the telephone line that connects the fax machine to the phone jack.
  5. Power off or unplug the fax machine.

If you want to stop a fax that you are receiving, these methods will work as well.

How to stop a fax with fax software

Here are some ways to quickly cancel a fax using fax software:

  1. Most fax software opens a dialog box when a fax is sending. There should be an option for “cancel” or “stop” somewhere on that dialog box.
  2. If there is a phone handset connected via the “EXT” port, you can pick it up and put it down. This method may not work if the fax modem disables the “EXT” port when the fax is in use.
  3. Unplug the telephone line that connects the computer to the phone jack.
  4. Power off or turn off the computer.

How to stop a fax with an online fax

Log into the web application provided by the fax service. There should be a listing of all faxes in progress, and the option to cancel the fax.

If you are using email to fax with a program such as Gmail that can cancel a very recently sent email, you may be able to use their “cancel email” feature to cancel the email to the fax service.

How to unsubscribe from faxes & stop junk faxes

Any marketing faxes you receive should include information on how to unsubscribe from the service. Here are some other options:

  • In many places, there is a “do not call list” such as in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. As well, many countries also have legislation in place to prevent junk fax activity.
  • Your phone provider may have a “call block” option to block specific fax numbers. There is usually an additional charge for this service.
  • Your fax service provider may have a feature to block specific fax numbers from sending to you.

How to cancel a fax service

All fax services list a method to cancel the service. Some will let you cancel their service online; others will require you to phone the service to cancel.

When canceling, there are a few things to consider:

  1. What will happen with your fax number? Are you porting it out to a different fax service or fax line? Can you port your fax number from the service?
  2. Are you contractually obligated to stay with the service for longer? When you signed up for your fax service, you may have signed up for an annual subscription.
  3. What are the terms of cancellation? The contract you signed with the fax service may require a 30 day (or longer) cancellation notice.

As is always good practice, keep records of your conversations and contracts when communicating with a fax service.

Sources and more resources

Brother SupportCancel a fax in progress, Cancel a fax job waiting in my Brother machine’s memory, and Cancel a receiving (incoming) fax – three “how to” support guides from Brother on how to cancel a fax that may already be in progress.

RicohCancel a fax sending (SP C220S/C221SF/C222SF) – instructions from Ricoh on how to cancel a fax that is sending.

LexmarkCanceling a fax job – instructions from Lexmark on how to cancel a fax job on one of their fax machines.