What is an Email Fax?

Last Update: August 9th, 2021

Email fax is a system that allows users to either send or receive a fax through email (sometimes the system can both send and receive, sometimes a system can only send or only receive).

Email faxing is a feature that is available in some internet fax systems. All email fax systems are a type of internet fax. However, not all internet fax systems work through email (some only operate through a web interface or their software).

Three ways to email fax

  1. An online fax service – most online fax services have a feature of being able to send and receive faxes through email. This service can be set up by signing up for the service.
  2. A fax server – used in enterprise-level applications, a fax server can be configured to give employees access to fax through email. Fax servers are set up through an organization’s IT department.
  3. A fax machine enabled with fax to email (and/or email to fax) – some fax machines (often business level machines) can send and receive faxes through email.

Difference between email fax and…

Online fax – An email fax is a feature available in an online fax service or system.

While most online fax services have email fax as a feature, not all of them do. As well, depending on the fax system, some may have only an option to send or receive.

Internet fax – An email fax is a feature available in an internet fax system.

Most email fax systems are a type of internet fax system, but not all internet fax systems have email fax as a feature.

Internet fax encompasses a wide variety of terms – from online fax services to enterprise level fax servers to fax machines that operate through the T.38 fax over internet standard.

The only types of email fax that would not be an internet fax would be a fax machine that forwards a fax through to email – the transmission to the fax machine is a regular fax transmission, then the fax turns that transmission into a PDF or TIFF document to attach to an email.

Web fax – A web fax is a feature available in some internet fax and most online fax systems.

While web access and email fax are separate features the are available inside of internet and online fax systems, they are normally standard features.

VoIP fax – VoIP fax can mean a fax machine trying to use a VoIP phone line (almost impossible) or fax over IP (FoIP), a system that uses the internet to transition a fax call.

eFax – eFax is a brand of online fax service. It is sometimes used as a term for an online fax service, however, the term is trademarked.

eFax, as well as most online fax services, have email faxing as a feature.

PC fax / Mac Fax – The terms “PC fax” and “Mac fax” are typically used when a PC or Mac computer has fax software installed on them as well as a fax modem.

This software and hardware turn the computer into a replacement for a desktop fax machine – in this situation, an active phone line is still needed to send and receive faxes.