how to fax a PDF

Digital documents have become the preferred way to share information quickly in companies and business, and the most common format for this purpose is the PDF (Portable Document Format), a type of file compatible with all types of computers, such as PCs and Mac. But did you you know that you can fax a PDF with no fax machine whatsoever? Read on and you will learn all about it!

The Adobe PDF file format was developed by Adobe as a way to reduce the amount of paper consumption in offices. It is a type of digital document able to include images, text and even links and it doesn’t require any type of paid software (as a matter of fact most computers today come equipped with Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader). There are so many documents which are shared around the World on a daily basis that doesn’t require a physical paper that by switching to a digital format we are literally saving tons of paper!

Today, the PDF is one of the most popular document formats accepted by businesses, as well as individuals. It is used for different purposes, from publishing books to sharing important documents, with options such as encryption and password protection.

How to Fax a PDF

These days you can save even more paper by using email faxing. Thanks to this type of technology we can now fax a PDF straight from your hard drive or even cloud-based drive with just a few clicks. Companies that still rely on a fax machine have to print the PDF, scan it, and then send it through the machine, making you lose valuable minutes of your time.

When it comes to faxing online documents, we have a couple of methods worth checking out. Let’s take a look at them.

Method 1: Using Email Fax Services

Services have re-shaped the way we take care of faxes. Instead of using a fax machine to send a document, you use your email address. This has many advantages, as you can see in this guide to sending faxes from your Gmail account, and among them is the ability to fax digital files directly from a computer.

Sending a PDF through email fax is a very simple process once you get the hang of it. These services are not free, they are paid monthly, but you can always fax without charge if you sign up for a test drive account. If you decide to pay for a service, know that you can find them for as low as $5 a month, and they all include a free fax number. You can learn how to set up your email fax number here.

To send a fax, you just compose a new email message following your service’s instructions and attach the PDF file you want. Since we are using Gmail, this means clicking on the paperclip attachment button as shown below. Some services might also allow you to fax a PDF from your Google Drive account. You can do this by clicking on the Drive button next to the paperclip icon.

step 3 attach document


If you are going to send faxes on a regular basis, I strongly recommend you open an email fax service account. You can do it in just a couple of minutes and it will save you all the headaches that come with using a traditional machine.

What’s great about this alternative is that you can also receive faxes on your Gmail account as PDFs.  Whenever you receive a fax via your online fax number, it will be automatically converted to PDF and sent to Gmail.

Method 2: Using a Free Fax App

Besides fax services, there are pages which offer online apps to send faxes for free, among them popular pages such as HelloFax and FaxZero. These apps let you fax straight from a webpage, without having to download any type of software, and they include the option to attach a PDF as a fax. But here’s something to keep in mind: these pages only let you send a couple of pages per day and after that you will need to pay per fax. This situation -and the fact that some pages include ads as a cover page- is what makes these pages a good alternative for people who just want to send a fax on special occasions.


fax a pdf using faxzero

Faxzero Homepage Screen

These sites are usually easy to navigate. You just need to fill out the information asked on the page.  After you finish just press SEND and your document will be on its way.

Can I Email a PDF to a Fax Machine as an Attachment?

“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 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.

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 multifunction 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.
Digital documents have become the preferred way to share information quickly in companies and business, and the most common format for this purpose is the PDF (Portable Document Format), a type of file compatible with all types of computers, such as PCs and Mac. But did you you know...