In my opinion faxing is way outdated and it’s frustrating when a company or friend requires the use of such archaic paper-wasting technology. Unfortunately however, there are moments when a signature is required or the person you’re trying to reach just can’t or doesn’t choose to use email. In these situations you have a few options for sending them a fax without having to resort the use of a fax machine yourself. My favorite are online faxing services.
There are numerous websites that let you send messages or Word and PDF attachments to fax machines where they are in turn printed off. Some of these email to fax services are free and others incorporate advanced features that even let you receive faxes on a unique toll free telephone line which are then converted to email and sent to you real time! This is even possible with Google Voice but my favorite for simple free one-off faxes is faxZERO because you don’t even have to sign up.
- faxZERO – send two free internet faxes per day, they put an ad on the cover page but it is quick, easy, free, and you get a confirmation email once it’s done. For $1.99 per fax you can eliminate the cover page or include your own, both free and paid options allow you to type right into a text box or attach a document including .doc, .docx or .pdf, the site is secured and has been a member of the Better Business Bureau since 2007.
- VBuzzer – internet faxing, voice over IP, sms phone texting, chat and conference solutions. This more fully featured solution requires account setup and download of an app that works on PC, Mac, iPhone, Windows Mobile and other smart phones with pay as you go or monthly plans available.
- Send2Fax – send faxes online easily and benefit from a local or toll free number to receive faxes which are converted to email. Great customer service, in business since 1995, free 30 day trial and rates starting at just $8.95.
- Google Voice – I’ve heard you can send outbound faxes using Google Voice but have not tested it myself, it may be a feature coming soon. For more information visit this forum thread.
Before I discovered email to fax I had to drive down to Kinko’s, the library or UPS store to send a fax. Now, all I need is an internet connection and I don’t even have to print the documents I’m sending beforehand!
If a signature is required but you don’t have a printer and don’t want to screw around with actually signing a document, consider using Paint or Photoshop to capture your mark using the computer mouse. It isn’t perfect but if you import the image into Word or another program you can always use Gaussian blur to make it look less pixelated. I’ve done this several times and never been questioned. Be sure to delete any digital signatures you create when you’re finished so nobody can use it for fraud.