Can I receive a fax on my computer?

I finally gave up my land line (and fax machine) a few months ago, because I was only using it for faxing and then only a couple of times a year.

Well, this is one of those times when a colleague will need to fax me a paper document tomorrow. Yeah, she could scan it and convert it to a PDF and email it to me, but I’m wondering if there’s some way to send a paper fax to a computer?

Since most fax machines want a phone number, that’s where I’m getting stuck. What would she use for a phone number when she loads the document in her fax machine?

A Windows (undated) help page says:

Googling around, some sites say yes you can send and receive, some say no (as above) you need a fax modem.

there are sites that allow fax to email, they give you a phone number to give out as your fax number.

I used to use smartfax, but there are many others, such as IIRC fax4free.

Most computers used to come with fax modems that plugged into your own home phone line. With the right fax software (and I think some basic fax software used to come as part of Windows, and maybe still does) you could use this to receive and , with a scanner, send faxes.

These days, with most people getting online via broadband, modems are no longer standard equipment, although you can still buy them, and some computers might still come with one. If your computer is old enough it will have one.

Otherwise, as kanicbird says, you (or rather, I think, the person who is sending to you) can use a fax to email service. Here are a couple of sites that offer it:

Or just get them to send you the scan in an email.

Some all-in-one printers include a telephone input and have a built-in fax modem to receive (as well as send) faxes. But since you’ve dropped your landline, that’s not viable.

Your best bet may be a fax-to-email service after all. I don’t know if any will let you receive faxes without paying them.

Failing that, you may need to ask them to do a scan and attach to an email.

I used to use myfax back in the day, until I had no use for it (in that nobody needs to fax me anymore). They give you a phone number and you give it to your client and they can fax you just like you fax any other phone number. You’ll get an email when the fax comes through and a link to a PDF (at least I think that was the file format) of the fax.

Scan it as a jpg and send it as an email attachment. You can then print the jpg if necessary.

From my OP:

I guess scanning it and emailing it is going to be the way to go. If the fax-to-computer service scans it anyway and emails it… might as well skip that step.

That’s going to be the way to go that’s not going to cost you any money. But, if necessary, if you need a service that just takes a fax from an old fashioned fax machine where your client dials a phone number, feeds in the paper, and gets it to you, the person with the computer who doesn’t have a fax machine, it is possible from the services mentioned above.

The scan and email option works only if your friend has a scanner, rather than just a fax machine. A fax machine cannot necessarily be readily configured to produce an emailable file.

I think you will find most (or at least some) of the fax to email services offer a free trial, so if this is just a one off, that need not cost anything.

eFax Free will allow you to receive (but not send) faxes free:

There are several services that allow you to send faxes free. I have used:

I vaguely remember having to convert whatever I got via eFax to a .pdf in order to fill out and sign a form. Sending, format is not generally a problem.

People also use smartphone apps to take a picture of the document and email it. Many of the apps auto-correct for lens distortion and color so the end result looks more or less like a scanned document. It won’t be as good as an actual scanned document, but it’s usually better than old-school fax quality.

I use efax and faxzero as mentioned above, for receive and send. They work pretty well, but then I probably send 5 faxes a year and probably receive one fax every three years. Faxzero lets you use PDF or image files (JPG, etc.), as well as Word docs. Maximum of three pages per fax, max of a few faxes per day. I’ve also used their paid fax service to send an extremely long contract.

But if you’re faxing more than once a day, I’d find another solution.

With eFax, someone dials your fax number (the company gives you a dedicated number) and you get an email with the fax as an attachment. You then have to open it up in their proprietary eFax application. (I usually promptly print it out and do a Save As PDF on my Mac.)

If I were sending or receiving faxes more than once a day, I would have kept my land line. My colleague has access to a scanner and fax machine. She’ll be making handwritten corrections to a document, so probably just scanning it and emailing it to me as a pdf is the best thing.

It’s good to know about these fax services, however. From time to time (maybe 3X per year) I get something by snail mail (usually from our gummint) that I have to sign and snail mail back to the source. They give me the option to fax, but emailing is **NOT **an option. So it would be nice to sign the thing, scan it and save as a PDF, and fax it to its destination from my computer. (Since I no longer have a land line/fax machine-- did I mention that?)

It does seem odd that there is no fax emulator for smartphones.

The realization was that if the reception was so bad email couldn’t get through,
fax wouldn’t get through either.

At one time cellphones can be used as fax/modems, not sure about smartphones, obviously you can tether and use it as a ‘broadband’ modem, but that’s really not the same as the dialup kind.

The CamScanner app works well for capturing images of documents and sending as faxes or email attachments through your smartphone. I use it with an android. I don’t know if there’s an iphone version. I was skeptical about the quality of image you would get from it, but it’s super clear. Surprising for an app, really.

Oh, and no tethering required. It’s just an app like any other app. I’ve never tried to receive a fax with it, so I don’t know if CamScanner can receive.

For receiving I use the free version of efax. I just tell it to print and use pdf995 (which is also free) as the printer to save it directly onto my computer.