There are three ways to fax with a Windows 10 PC:
- 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.
Option 1 – online fax services compatible with Windows 10
An online fax service is a dedicated fax number that is hosted by a service provider.
Compared with fax software (or a fax machine), an online fax service offers the ability to fax directly from the Internet without a dedicated landline phone line in your house, as well as the ability to access or manage fax communications from anywhere you can access the internet.
Interfaces are very similar to a web-based email account (with the exception that you have the ability to send and receive faxes), and features such as faxing through email, the web, and integration with popular programs such as the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.) are available.
Online fax services can also be combined with other devices – for example faxing to and from another computer, a tablet, or a smartphone through the same account.
For full details on online fax services compatible with Windows 10 and other operating systems, see our page on Online Faxing.
Option 2 – fax through a connected fax
Many connected fax and multifunction printer have the option to fax through the machine from the computer.
While specific options depend on the fax machine’s manufacturer (and the software they offer), many units can send and receive faxes directly to the computer through the fax machine. Instead of having to print a document and then fax it (or receive a document over the fax then scan it), connecting a fax machine this way will let you send and receive faxes from the computer.
What you’ll need
To send an receive a fax from a Windows 10 computer through a connected fax or printer with fax, you’ll need the following:
- A computer running Windows 10
- A fax machine or multifunction (print / copy / scan / fax) printer that can fax from the computer
- An active land-line phone line to connect the fax / multifunction printer to. The phone line should not be a VoIP phone connection as VoIP signals usually scramble a fax signal – for more details on faxing with VoIP, see our page on “why does my fax machine not work on my VoIP phone line?“
- A document to send
Things to be aware of
- You will still need to connect the fax or multifunction printer to an active land-line phone line for this to work
- A fax or multifunction printer with “wireless” (such as wifi or Bluetooth) does not allow you to send and receive faxes without a phone line. The “wireless” portion of the fax/printer is only for communication between the computer and the printer – not between the fax/printer and the phone system. A “wireless” fax/printer cannot connect wirelessly to the internet to be able to send and receive faxes.
- When setting the system up, double check to see what happens with received faxes when the computer is not active. Some models will store a received fax in the fax/printer’s memory. The challenge with this approach is a power interruption will erase any stored faxes (that the fax machine has already marked as acknowledged).
Option 3 – using fax software
Windows 10 contains software already includes the ability to fax from your computer. The program is called “Windows Fax and Scan.”
To send (or receive) a fax from a Windows 10 Computer using Windows Fax and Scan you’ll need the following:
- A computer running Windows 10
- Modem or Fax Board on the computer (the majority of computers that have a telephone line connection have this ability)
- A land-line phone line. The phone line should not be a VoIP phone connection as VoIP signals usually scramble a fax signal – for more details on faxing with VoIP, see our page on “why does my fax machine not work on my VoIP phone line?“
- A document to send
When using Windows Fax and Scan as a fax machine, the computer needs to always be on and connected to the phone line to receive a fax.
As well, the computer will not be able to use your internet connection to send and receive faxes – only the phone connection.
Configuring Windows Fax and Scan
Windows Fax and Scan is quick to configure.
1) Start the program through the start menu
2) Click on “Tools” then “Fax Accounts”
3) Select “Add” to have your fax modem installed
4) Choose between Automatic or Manual Answering of the phone line
5) Go to “Tools” and “Fax Settings” to configure additional options, including changing the automatic or manual reception, changing the number of rings before automatic pick up, configure TSID and CSID information, and automatically save or print a fax the moment it arrives.
Sending a Fax in Windows Fax and Scan
To use the Windows 10 Fax, you need to use the “Windows Fax and Scan” program.
- Click on the START button, select All Programs, and select “Windows Fax and Scan”
- On the toolbar that appears in the program, select “New Fax” – if this is the first time that a fax is being sent, you’ll be directed to the new fax wizard. This will allow you to set all the required settings to send a fax.
- Create your fax, and then click send to send it to the receiving fax machine.
In order to receive a fax from a Windows 10 Computer, you first need to set up the service in Windows Fax and Scan.
To set up the fax service:
- Click the “Start” button, type “Fax” in the search box, then choose “Windows Fax and Scan”
- At the bottom of the left pane, choose “Fax”
- Select “Tools” and then select “Fax Settings”.
- Select the “General” tab, then ensure the “Allow device to receive fax calls” button is checked under “Send / Receive Options”
- Select “Automatically Answer after ___ Rings”, set the number of rings you want the phone to ring before the fax service answers, then select “Ok”
If you want to have the manual option to answer with the fax service when the phone rings, you need to first have the Windows Fax and Scan program running.
- Activate Windows Fax and Scan by clicking on the “start” button, searching for “Fax” in the search box, and then select “Windows Fax and Scan”
- Click the Fax option at the bottom left pane
- From the toolbar, select “Receive a Fax Now”. This will allow the computer to receive the fax when the phone rings.