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How to Fax a PDF to a Fax Machine

Author: Richard Haase  Updated November 9, 2023

Online faxing has changed the way we share documents securely. Nowadays faxing a PDF is as easy as composing an email or filling out a form on a website or mobile app. 

Back in the day, you had to print and scan the PDF, but with online technology we can get rid of those two steps and take advantage of automatic conversion technology, which converts your PDF to a fax image, capable of being received on any legacy fax machine.

There are three ways you can fax a PDF, let's take a look at them.

how to fax a pdf

1. Fax a PDF Via Email

This is our preferred method to fax a PDF because it's easy and fast.  When you sign up with an online fax service, you are able to send faxes using nothing but your email.  This works as a common email, but there is one difference: the file you attach will be converted to a fax format. And all online fax services provide 100% compatibility with the PDF file format.

To fax a PDF via email follow these steps:

  1. Create an account with an online fax service of your choice.
  2. Compose a new email message.
  3. On the TO field enter the number followed by @provider.com (the actual domain name will be given to you on an email). For example in the case of eFax, a sample number would look like this: 4445556667@efaxsend.com
  4. Enter the cover message on the MESSAGE field or on the BODY field.  This page will precede the contents of your PDF.
  5. Attach a PDF document from your computer.
  6. Click on Send

Your PDF will arrive as a fax file, which means that is compatible with all computers and legacy fax machines out there. Once the transmission has been completed, you'll get an email with the confirmation.

Luckily, good online fax services like eFax, let you create a free trial account in a couple of minutes to send your file securely. You can use this account to test how this method works, free of charge.

2. Use a PDF-to-Fax Mobile App (iOS, Android)

Using a mobile fax app is a great solution if you need to fax a PDF on the go, or if you don't have access to your computer.  These apps basically put the power of a virtual fax machine in your hands.  Some of these apps work alongside an online fax service subscription, while others are stand-alone solutions where you need to pay per fax or per page.

Follow these steps to fax a PDF using a mobile fax app:

  1. Sign up with an online fax service that has an app (RingCentral, MyFax, eFax, for example)
  2. Download the app for Android or iOS
  3. Tap on "Send Fax"
  4. Upload the PDF file from your phone using the mobile app's prompt.
  5. Fill in the details of your fax, including the recipient's number. Make sure the information is correct.
  6. Tap on Send.

Like in the previous method, you'll receive a confirmation once your PDF file has been converted to fax and sent.

If you fax PDFs regularly, we recommend a subscription-based app.  Why? Because apps developed by online fax services tend to be more reliable and end up being more cost-effective than just paying per fax.

3. Use a Free Fax Website

If you want to fax a PDF from your computer without spending money, you can use a website that allows you to send faxes for free. These sites allow you to send up to two pages per day, and most of them support sending PDF files.  

But... well, we wouldn't recommend faxing a PDF online with these services if faxing is an important part of your business. Not only are you limited in the number of pages you can send, but each of your faxes may or may not come with a cover page of advertising.

On the other hand, if you never send faxes and need to send them now, they are a pretty good alternative. And it saves you from having to find the nearest office supply store.

If you plan on faxing on a regular basis, you will be better off with an online fax service, as these "free" sites will charge you a set amount per page, which can quickly become more expensive than a service that allows you to send 300 pages per month.

If you want to get started without spending any money, a better alternative is to sign up for a free trial with an online fax service that allows you to not only send PDFs as faxes, but also receive faxes for a full month.

Final Words

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to faxing PDFs online. Email faxing allows you to manage faxes in the same way as email, using your online fax dashboard gives you access to additional features, and faxing through a free website allows you to fax a page or two for free for non-business purposes.

Before choosing a service, make sure they include PDF files in their list of compatible formats; they all have this information on their website.  If you're trying a free site, make sure it's secure and offers transmission encryption, especially if you're sharing sensitive information.  We recommend trying a paid online fax plan, they start at a very low monthly cost and you don't have to worry about maximum page limits or security measures.Are you ready to get started?


Can I send PDF to fax for free?

Yes. There are tow ways of doing so.  The first one is through a free trial with an online fax service, these test drive accounts can send and receive faxes over the course of 7-30 days, depending on the service.  The other way is through a free fax website as the ones mentioned above.  

Do I need to convert PDF files before faxing them?

You don't need to, because the fax servers used by the service of your choice can "grab" digital files and translate them to a fax signal using Fax Over IP technology.  If the receiver is using a fax machine, he/she won't notice a the slightest difference.  

Are there other types of file I can fax online?

Although the PDF format is preferred to send and receive faxes, services can convert dozens of file types, among them BMP, DOC, XLS, TXT, JPG.  The process is the same, you just attach the file and then relax while the service converts and send it.