How to fax to an email address

Last Update: August 9th, 2021

There is no direct way to fax from a fax machine to an email address.How to fax to an email address

Faxing to an email address is something that can only be done if the receiving party has an online fax service or fax machine that can receive the incoming fax and convert it to an email.

Alternatively, some business level fax machines and multifunction printers (print / copy / scan / fax) have an option to scan directly to email and send the document as a PDF attachment. (It should be noted that there are situations where some users may prefer to send a fax instead of an email – this method should not be interpreted as a direct replacement for faxing).

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Why a fax can’t be sent directly to an email address

There is no way to directly fax to an email address with a standard fax machine.

Even with an online fax service or a fax machine that forwards faxes to an email address, the fax is transmitted to the fax number and the fax service or machine takes care of the action of converting the information to an email. As this depends on the receiving party’s technology, the person sending the fax has no control over whether the fax goes to email or not.

As faxes are sent back and forth within the phone network, for a fax to be converted to an email, a system on the receiving end needs to do the converting. As this can only be controlled by the person receiving the fax, it is impossible to control by the person sending the fax.

Method 1: Online fax services

An online fax service acts as a virtual fax machine – all the fax “infrastructure” such as the fax machine and phone line are taken care of by the service provider, and faxes arrive either to the user’s email address or can be accessed through a web interface or software program installed on the computer (specific features vary by service provider).

Sending a fax

A fax can be sent through email, a web interface, or the service provider’s software program. When sending a fax through an email, a mix of fax numbers and email addresses can be included in the “to” line of the email.

Receiving a fax

A fax can be received either to a specific email address, or accessed from a web interface (very much like a webmail interface) or software program.

Some services have features where a fax can be sent from a multifunction printer through the fax service.

Method 2: Fax machines that can forward a fax to email

Some fax machines and multifunction printers with fax (mostly business level equipment) have the option to receive a fax and directly forward it to an email address with the received fax attached as a PDF (with or without printing the fax depending on the setting selected).

These receive faxes exactly like a regular fax machine (the fax is received through the phone network and a confirmation page is sent) and convert the information over to an email and forwarded to a specific email address.

Sending a fax

Once the system is configured, a fax can be sent the traditional way (scanning through a document feeder).

Some connected fax machines have an option to use the fax machine’s print driver to directly fax from the computer.

Receiving a fax

When a fax is received, it can go directly to print or can be forwarded to a specific email address(es).

Some connected fax machines have the option to receive a fax and forward it to a specific email address (from a number of different ones) through the sender adding a 3 or 4 digit code to the transmission once the faxes have connected. From feedback from users, we’ve found that the general public has difficulty understanding the concept (as there is a delay between dialing the fax number and entering the code), however it can be useful for a business that frequently sends faxes between offices, and can pre-program specific codes into a speed dial or call preset).

Method 3: Scanning to email

While scan to email isn’t necessarily a direct replacement for sending a fax, it’s an option that some people prefer to use when sending a fax to an email address.

The specific process varies depending on the equipment used, however some fax machines and multifunction printers have the ability to either scan to an email address or include an email address in a fax sent to multiple people.

One common use for this even with regular users of fax is to keep a copy of a sent fax for archival purposes (it should be noted that recording a fax this way does not record the confirmation page being received, however some models can also forward confirmation pages).

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