You'd be forgiven for thinking fax communication was a thing of the past, but many businesses and government agencies still prefer to use it over email due to safety concerns. These days, you don't even need a fax machine or a phone line to send a fax - your computer can do it all with the help of some simple software.
How fax machines work
Traditionally, faxes are sent and received using two fax machines at either end of an active phone line. When a document is sent, the fax machine places a call to the receiver’s fax machine. At the other end this call is answered, and the document is transferred to the second fax machine via the phone line.
Preparing a document for faxing can be a hassle, with the sender having to first scan the document and then send it across. The receiver must rescan the document to turn it into a digital file before utilisation.
How to send a fax online
It is possible to connect a fax machine to the internet and send faxes via this medium, but setup can be expensive. You will need access to multiple resources, for example a gateway that can enable secure transmission of documents via the internet.
Instead, various online fax services can help shoulder some of this cost. Services such as CocoFax offer the option to fax from computer for free, or in return for a small charge depending on your frequency of use.
How to send and receive fax on your PC with CocoFax
Send fax on your computer
CocoFax allows you to send and receive fax on your PC with no hassle. The software does all the hard work for you, and you don’t need a fax machine or scanner - just a computer and an internet connection.
- Sign up for an online fax service
- Log into your account and click Send Fax
- Enter the fax number of the recipient in the To field in the format of country code+fax number
- Attach the document that needs to be faxed
- Click Send and your fax will be faxed to the recipient’s fax machine
You can also send a cover sheet, schedule communications, and take advantage of other valuable features provided by CocoFax.
Receive fax on your computer
Should you subscribe to an online fax service you can also receive your fax on your computer without needing a fax machine or a telephone line.
- Log into your online fax service account
- Check your inbox: all the received faxes sent to your fax number will appear here
Send fax by email
It's also possible to send fax messages directly within your email client.
- Register yourself with an online fax service
- Open your email service provider and compose a mail
- Attach the document you wish to fax
- Enter the recipient’s fax number and fax service name in the To field
- Click Send
Receive fax by email
In order to receive fax through your email client you will need your own fax number. This will typically be assigned to you by the online fax service provider.
- Sign up to an online fax service, then choose and subscribe to a pricing plan
- Receive your fax number
- Share this number with your contact who will be sending you a document via fax
Why send and receive fax via a computer?
Sending and receiving fax using an online service and your PC is much simpler and more convenient than fiddling around with fax machines and phone lines. There are other advantages, too:
- Saves time and money - you don’t need to waste paper or invest in a fax machine
- Organises documents - most online fax services provide you with cloud space for securely storing your documents
- Sending and receiving faxes from mobile devices - when you're not in front of your computer your phone or tablet will do the trick
- Signing documents online - most fax services allow you to digitally sign documents, thus streamlining your workflow
- Advanced encryption protocols