How to Switch from Fax Machine to Email Fax
There was a time when a fax machine was one of the most precious items in an office, back in those days these machines were the only method we could use to communicate quickly, without having to depend on slow courier services just to deliver a document. Those times have long gone; with the advances in digital technology and the Internet, many businesses decided to ditch the fax machine in favor of email, but other companies still needed to fax.
Email fax came to the rescue, combining the best of both worlds: the quickness of email and the convenience and security of faxing. It let you fax from Gmail, Hotmail or any other email service of your choice. Over the years, Internet fax has proved to be the most reliable way of faxing, letting you save time and money at the same time. However, not all businesses have made the jump to digital faxing. Perhaps due to lack of information, but don’t worry we’re here to help you.
If you are still using a fax machine, you are not alone. There are still a significant number of companies that still use this dated technology. Thankfully, switching to email fax is incredibly easy, as you will see, anyone can do it! Read on to learn how to start with online fax using an email fax service!
Table of Contents
STEP 1: Getting Your Number
The first thing you’ll need to start faxing online is a virtual fax number. Here, you have two main options: you can either keep using your current fax number, or you can pick a new one. The main advantage of keeping your current fax number is that you won’t have to update all your contacts about your new fax number. The second option is also attractive because fax services like eFax or RingCentral let you pick between a local or a toll-free number at the moment of creating your account.
If you want to keep using your current fax number, you can easily do it through a “fax porting” process, which changes your physical line to a digital one, allowing you to receive fax by email. This process takes a couple of days to complete, and in the meantime, the service will give you a temporary fax number. Usually, a fax service doesn’t charge for this service, you just hand them your current fax number, and they take care of the rest.
To pick a type of number, you just sign up for a service of your choice and during the signup process choose the number you like. With most services, you can select by city or by extension. There are more prefixes than 800 that you can use for a toll-free number. Choosing the right type of fax number is very important, especially for a company, so make sure you pick the right one.
Most services have numbers available for USA and Canada. If you are looking for numbers in other countries, it is a good idea to check for local services, but you can also use a fax service with an international presence, like eFax or MyFax.
STEP 2: Linking your Email to the Fax Number
During signup, you will also be asked to enter the email address you want the faxes to be delivered to. Just enter your preferred email. As you will have guessed, here we love to fax from Gmail thanks to the cool Google apps, but you can use any email, even proprietary ones like @yourdomain.com
In any case, it’s always a good idea to have an email to be used exclusively for faxing. You know how inboxes can be (yes, full of spammy messages and notifications), so keep it clean and free of additional messages, so the next time you are looking for a fax, you can find it quickly.
Step 3: Start Faxing!
If you’ve already picked your fax number and have linked it to an email address, you are ready to start faxing! Follow the instructions provided by your fax service to send your first fax, or follow our easy tutorial, which shows you how to send your first fax in just a few steps. It is as easy as sending a common email with a just a few points to keep in mind; we cover all of that in our article.
You will also be enabled to receive faxes via email. These faxes will arrive as an attachment to the email message, which by itself will contain the details of the fax and a cover letter if needed. Faxes will be converted to a PDF file, so make sure you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed. To receive faxes you don’t have to lift a finger, the receiving process takes place automatically; you just need to check your email inbox or turn on mobile notifications in your web fax dashboard.
STEP 4: But Don’t Forget About the Nifty Features
There’s more than just basic faxing capabilities available when you use an online fax service. With this new tool in your hands, you will enjoy features that will go beyond what the fax machine has to offer. Among them you’ll find:
- Apps to fax from your cell phone. The biggest fax services offer apps that you can download through your phone’s app store, so you can finally fax without a fax machine at hand!
- Fax scheduling, a great feature to avoid missing faxes in the future.
- Electronic signing, authenticate your faxes with just two steps.
- Integration with cloud storage services, so you can “pull” documents from your account to fax them.
It’s these features and more what make email faxing an advanced tool capable of saving hours of your time. I would recommend you take the time to try them, and follow all the tutorials with the service of your choice.
So, that’s it! Switching to email fax is as easy as signing up with an email fax service. If you are still unsure as to which service to choose, remember that you can read fax service reviews and find one that best meets your needs. It’s time to say good bye the old fax machine!