how to fax a pdf directly from your computer

Switching to digital documents is an excellent way to increase productivity and reduce paper consumption at the office.  Of the many formats that currently exist, the Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format is perhaps the most ​popular.

Being a digital ​format that can include text and images in full color without ​taking up too much of your storage space, it's used for all kinds of purposes like creating books, magazines, contracts and legal documents.

​Normally, you just send and receive PDFs via email or instant messaging.  But what if you actually need to fax your PDF file?

Using a fax machine can seem like the obvious answer to the question, but as you can imagine this is a time-consuming process.  First you need to print the PDF and then you need to pass it through the fax machine.  And if you want to convert incoming fax to a digital file you need to scan it and use PDF creation software.

​Don't worry, online faxing is here to save the day.

Using Online Fax Technology to Send PDF to Fax

​By using a ​virtual fax ​technology, you can fax straight from your computer, using various types of files, including TXT, ​XLS, DOC and of course, the PDF file format.

Sending a fax can be as easy as sending an email, and faxes that arrive through your virtual number are automatically converted into PDF and sent to your inbox.

​This way of faxing cuts the time it takes to send a fax, and you don't need at any point a physical version of your file.  Even if you need to sign an incoming PDF, you can do so with an electronic signature feature.

​There are ​two ways you can fax a PDF document using your computer:

  • Faxing by email
  • Faxing through a website

​Faxing a PDF Over Email

sending a pdf to a fax machine using an email fax service

​Currently, the easiest way to fax a PDF is by doing it through an email.

There are various online fax services that link an online fax number to your preferred email address, so you can send and receive faxes as digital files. ​eFax is a great alternative that lets you create a 30 day free account.

Sending a fax by email is very similar to s​ending an ordinary email, but the main difference is that you can attach a variety of file formats to the message which will be converted into fax images.  Th​e resulting format, a TIFF file, will then be transmitted securely to the recipient's fax machine.

How to Fax a PDF from Gmail

Sending a fax is a very simple process once you get the hang of it, just follow the steps detailed in our guide ​for faxing through Gmail:

Step 1: Create a new email message in Gmail.

Step 2: Enter the recipient's number on the TO field like this  This format will vary depending on the service you are using.

Step 3: Attach the PDF document you want to fax to the email. When you send faxes you can upload a variety of file types.

Step 4: If you want to send a cover sheet before your fax, enter the text on the subject field or the body of the message.

Step 5: Press the Send button.

With this method you can send a PDF with multiple pages and each one of them will be converted into a separate fax image.  You can also attach multiple PDFs to your email message, as long as you don't go over the maximum file size limit.

After you send a fax, you receive a confirmation email with more info about the transmission.

How to Receive Faxes as PDF

​A digital fax service will also let you receive online fax as PDF files, thanks your chosen online fax number​. The conversion process works the same, but now the fax image will be automatically converted into a PDF file.  ​Your ​ fax number will receive ​any fax automatically and send a copy to your inbox.

​To use an online fax service you need to pay for a monthly plan.  These days you can find services for as low as $5-6 dollars a month, but if this solution looks great for you, we recommend you use top companies in the market, like eFax, MyFax and RingCentral Fax. They are reliable and have a lot of fax number options.

​If you want to use this method to ​fax a ​PDF online for free, you can simply sign up with a free trial account. Most online fax providers let you open a test drive account that lets you send and receive fax for 30 days.  This includes your own fax number and hundreds of pages to send/receive during that month.  You can cancel it at anytime if you don't want to keep using it!

​Using a Free Fax Website (FaxZero, GotFreeFax, etc.)

faxzero lets you fax pdf for free

​If you've been searching for a way to fax online, you may have come across pages like FaxZero or GotFreeFax, which basically let you send a couple of pages for free. 

​These websites only let you send fax using a couple of file formats, but luckily the PDF is one them. It works the same as an online fax service: your PDF is converted into a fax image and then transmitted to a fax machine. Because they don't provide numbers, there's no way to receive fax as PDF with them.

Are These Pages Recommended to Fax Online?

​As useful as they are, we'd only recommend faxing through these websites if you just need to send a casual fax, or if there's no sensitive information.  Here's why:

First, these services are free, so they don't guarantee your document has arrived safely to its destination.  Although some of them promise to send you a confirmation message, it's not uncommon to miss that message, or receive it hours after the fax has been sent.

Then you have the issue of cover page with ads or "branding".  We'll repeat, these services are useful ​and in some cases they may be your last resort to fax your PDF, but how serious does a fax look when you receive it after a page of ads?

Finally, ​you need to know that these services are free for a reason: to send more than 2-3 pages you'll need to pay a fee per additional page you send.  A single transmission can end up costing as much as a month of an online fax service​!

​Factors to Consider when Faxing a PDF Online

When faxing a PDF, there are ​some factors to consider to ensure the best possible transmission and legibility of the document. ​

​File Size: ​One of the most important considerations when faxing a PDF is file size. Fax machines have limits on the amount of data they can transmit, and exceeding these limits can result in incomplete or distorted faxed documents. Therefore, it is important to keep the PDF file size as small as possible without compromising the quality of the content. Several techniques can help reduce file size, including compressing the PDF, optimizing images, and minimizing unnecessary elements such as embedded fonts or multimedia.

​Image Resolution: ​When faxing a PDF that contains images, it's important to consider the image resolution. Fax machines typically operate at a lower resolution than modern scanning and printing technologies. As a result, high-resolution images may not be transmitted clearly and may appear blurry or pixelated on the receiving end. For optimal image quality, it is recommended that images be resampled to the fax machine's resolution, which is typically 200 dpi (dots per inch) or less. Resampling images to a lower resolution before faxing can help maintain clarity and readability.

​Scanning Quality:​ If you're faxing a copy of a physical document as a PDF, ​make sure it is 100% readable. The quality of the original document will affect the final faxed version. Get a good scanner with good optical resolution to capture all the fine details and sharp text. Aim for at least 300 dpi or higher for best results. Oh, and make sure your document is properly aligned, with no smudges or creases. A clean, well-scanned document will make your fax ​a breeze to read.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the most convenient way to send a PDF via fax?

A: Using an online fax service is the most convenient way to send a PDF via fax as it eliminates the need for a fax machine or a phone line.

Q: Do I need a fax machine to send a PDF via fax?

A: No, you can send a PDF via fax without a fax machine by using an online fax service or faxing from your computer.

Q: How do I send a PDF via fax using an online fax service?

A: To send a PDF via fax using an online fax service, you can simply sign up for a service such as MyFax or a free trial of an online fax provider, upload your PDF document, enter the recipient's fax number, and click send.

Q: Can I send and receive faxes online?

A: Yes, online fax providers offer the ability to send and receive faxes online without the need for a fax machine or a phone line.

Q: What is the process of faxing a PDF from my computer?

A: To fax a PDF from your computer, you can use an online fax service or a faxing software that allows you to send faxes over the internet. You will need to provide the recipient's fax number and cover sheet information.

Q: Can I use an existing fax number to send and receive faxes online?

A: Yes, many online fax providers will allow you to use an existing fax number to send and receive faxes online. You will need to check with your provider to see if this is possible.

Q: Do I need a phone line to use an online fax service?

A: No, online fax services use an internet connection to send and receive faxes, eliminating the need for a phone line.

Q: What is the best way to send a PDF via fax from my mobile device?

A: Many online fax providers offer a mobile app for easy faxing from your iOS or Android device. You can also send a PDF via fax from your mobile device by emailing it to a fax number or using an online fax service.

Q: What is an online fax provider?

A: An online fax provider is a service that allows you to send and receive faxes over the internet without the need for a fax machine or a phone line. They often offer features such as a toll-free fax number and the ability to fax documents via email.

Q: Can I fax a PDF without the need for toner?

A: Yes, when you send a PDF via an online fax service, it is not printed out, so there is no need for toner. The fax is sent via the internet and received electronically.

​Final Words

​Sending a fax with these websites is pretty straightforward.  There's a simple form that you need to fill out with all the details of your fax including your name, your number and the recipient's number. Then you just attach the PDF from your computer's hard drive.

Receiving fax as PDF is even easier with the help of your virtual fax ​number.

​Some services allow you to add cover page text.  Once everything's in place you just click on Send and follow the instructions on the website.