How to Send or Receive a fax from a Windows 7 PC

Windows 7 FaxThere are three primary ways to fax with Windows 7.

The first is with an online fax service, which operates as a virtual fax machine located accessed through the internet.

The second is through a connected fax machine or multifunction printer (print / scan / copy / fax) that allows for faxing from the computer through the multifunction device attached to a land-line phone line.

The third is through Windows 7’s bundled software “Windows Fax and Scan,” which turns your computer into a direct replacement of a hardcopy fax machine.

Table of Contents

Online Fax Services Compatible with Windows 7

An online fax service is a dedicated fax number that is hosted by a service provider.

Compared with Windows Fax and Scan (or a fax machine), an online fax service offers the ability to fax directly from the internet without a dedicated 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 much 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 7 and other operating systems, see our page on Online Faxing.

Fax through a connected fax or multifunction (copy / print / scan / fax) printer

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 are able to 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 7 computer through a connected fax or printer with fax, you’ll need the following:

  • A computer running Windows 7
  • 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 / mutlifunction 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 mutlifunction 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 until the computer is reconnected – the challenge with this approach is that if the power is lost, any stored faxes (that have already been acknowledged as received) may be lost as well.

Fax from Windows 7 with Windows Fax and Scan

Windows 7 contains software already includes the ability to fax from your computer.

The program is called “Windows Fax and Scan” and it’s packaged with the Windows 7 operating system.

System Requirements

To send (or receive) a fax from a Windows 7 Computer using Windows Fax and Scan you’ll need the following:

  • A computer running Windows 7
  • 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 to fax with. 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

It’s important to be aware that to use Windows Fax and Scan to turn your computer 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.

Video Demonstration of How to Configure Windows Fax and Scan

Sending a Fax in Windows Fax and Scan

To use the Windows 7 Fax, you need to use the “Windows Fax and Scan” program.

  1. Click on the START button, select All Programs, and select “Windows Fax and Scan”
  2. 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.
  3. Create your fax, and then click send to send it to the receiving fax machine.

Video Tutorial on How to Send Faxes in Windows Fax and Scan

Automatically Receive a Fax in Windows Fax and Scan

In order to receive a fax from a Windows 7 Computer, you first need to set up the service in Windows Fax and Scan.

To set up the fax service:

  1. Click the “Start” button, type “Fax” in the search box, then choose “Windows Fax and Scan”
  2. At the bottom of the left pane, choose “Fax”
  3. Select “Tools” and then select “Fax Settings”.
  4. Select the “General” tab, then ensure the “Allow device to receive fax calls” button is checked under “Send / Receive Options”
  5. Select “Automatically Answer after ___ Rings”, set the number of rings you want the phone to ring before the fax service answers, then select “Ok”

Video Tutorial on How to Automatically Receive Faxes in Windows 7

Manually Receive a Fax in Windows Fax and Scan

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.

  1. 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”
  2. Click the Fax option at the bottom left pane
  3. From the toolbar, select “Receive a Fax Now”. This will allow the computer to receive the fax when the phone rings.

Video Tutorial on How to Manually Receive Faxes in Windows 7

Sources and Additional Resources on Windows 7 Faxing:

Other Resources on Computer and Online Faxing: