Are you considering switching to digital faxing? You should know that although email-to-fax is today’s most advanced way of faxing, it is not the only option you have at your disposal. There are other ways of faxing from a computer that you may or may not know about, and that can prove to be a good alternative in some instances.
What are your options?
You have three ways of faxing from a computer: using either an email fax service, a faxing application or a page/website that sends fax over the Internet. Which one to choose? It all depends on what you are looking for and what your business needs. Here we will take a look at these three alternatives and analyze their strengths and weaknesses.
Table of Contents
1. Email fax services.
Faxing through a service is the preferred way of faxing these days because it brings all the advantages of a modern fax solution, including the ability to take care of documents on the go, schedule faxes and access them from any computer. Since fax services have a monthly fee and a number of faxes you can send/receive during that period, they are perfect for those that handle a determined volume of faxing per month and are looking to cut down costs.
These services allow you to send faxes from Gmail by linking your fax number to an existing Gmail address. You send a fax in the same way you send an email with an attached file. The service will be in charge of turning your digital documents into TIFF images, compatible with all fax machines.
Services are also the best option for people who want to receive digital faxes. They give you an online fax number that redirects incoming documents to your email automatically, from where you can download them or print them as you wish. Check out this article for more on how to implement a digital fax number.
The only downside of fax services is that they have to be paid every month. That’s right; fax services work through a subscription that can be paid monthly or annually if you want to save some dollars. It’s worth every penny though, as you can turn your faxing in an entirely hands-free process. Nowadays you can find excellent services with basic faxing capabilities for as low as $5 per month.
2. Fax software
Fax software appeared before services, and for years it was used by people who wanted to fax from a computer. The use of software has declined a bit over the past few years, but it has not disappeared entirely. As a matter of fact, most people can find a program called “Windows Fax and Scan,” which is included in different versions of Microsoft’s Windows OS. You can send and receive faxes with a fax application, but you need a fax modem and a dedicated fax line that will be connected to your computer.
Although you can send and receive faxes with a fax application, be aware that you need a fax modem and a dedicated fax line that will be connected to your computer.
Today, software is a good alternative for big companies which need to have an in-house fax solution. They provide companies a great deal of flexibility, customization, and control. Examples of fax software are Essential Fax, Snappy Fax, GFI Fax, among others.
Extra Alternative: Free Fax Sites
You may have come across these sites when looking to send a fax online for free. They are pretty easy to use, you just have to fill all the necessary info, upload your file and your fax will be on its way. This third option is an alternative to fax services, but as you will see, it’s useful only for certain purposes.
Free fax sites allow us to fax a couple of documents for free. This includes websites like FaxZero, GotFreeFax.com, and even MyFax Free. These sites are great for people who only need to send faxes occasionally, given the low amount of faxes you can send per day, between 1 and 3 pages of fax. They work with the most common file types like PDF, TXT, XLS and DOC. Other file formats probably need some type of conversion before you send them as fax.
We should also keep in mind that these services only can send faxes, and don’t provide any way to receive them on your computer. To receive faxes you must have an online fax number, that’s the key ingredient that will turn fax documents into digital ones and unfortunately we don’t have it through this method.
The downside of these sites – besides that the fact that you can’t receive faxes – is that they usually accompany your documents with a cover page with ads. While many people don’t have a problem with this, it doesn’t look very professional to send these faxes between businesses. They also have paid options, but the price is higher than monthly-based fax services.
Fax Services vs Fax Software: Who Wins?
This versus is won by unanimous decision by fax services. They are simply the best way to fax right now. Perhaps software is a good option if you are in charge of a big company and want an in-house solution, through the use of fax servers, but that is not the situation in most cases.
Fax services also have a lot of advantages over applications. They are easy to get started with (you can create an account and start faxing in literally less than 5 minutes), and they provide a safe and reliable way to receive faxes by giving you a virtual number that will continue grabbing incoming faxes even if you are not at the office or in front of your computer. Now, with the addition of fax apps by the top rated fax companies there isn’t a fax you can take care of on the go.