“Is it possible to send an email with an attached PDF to a fax machine? Can fax machines read these type of files?”

These are common question we receive at GmailFaxPro.com. The simple answer is no. You can’t directly email a PDF to a machine, at least not with some kind of conversion along the way. You see, fax machines don’t work with PDFs, instead they transmit TIFF images over a fax line.


There are tools that we can use to make this a reality and be able not only to send a PDF to a fax machine, but also receive faxes from them in the same format.

1. Online fax services. These services put at your disposal the technology you need to convert faxes into digital files and vice-versa. Your PDF travels through fax servers that convert your file into a TIFF file, compatible with all brands of fax machines out there.

If you want more information about this topic, you should check out our article on How to Fax a PDF, where we show you step-by-step how can this be done. There are also free pages that let you send a couple of PDFs to a fax machine, they usually send an advertisement with your documents but are a good option if your fax isn’t too formal.

2. Fax machines with online features. There are some machines and multifunctional printers that were created as a bridge between online fax and digital one, such as the HP Photosmart 7150 which includes a free eFax service with 40 pages per month (20 to send, 20 to receive). Besides HP, you should check out other reputable brands such as Xerox or Canon that develop these times of machines.

3. Use your own fax server. By using a fax server, you are able to convert documents from fax to digital files and the other way around without depending on external services. For this purpose you’ll need to use fax server software such as Rightfax or Zetafax.

This alternative is perhaps best for big companies that can handle an in-house tech team to set up the fax servers. If you own a small company or are simply faxing individually, then it’s best to let a service handle the servers for you and use one of the more affordable plans.

As you can see, with the right tools we can make the conversion from PDF to a fax machine and send documents straight from your computer.  Here are other posts that you might want to look into: