How to Send a PDF to a Fax Machine Online
You can fax a PDF online using 3 alternatives: through an email-to-fax service, a smartphone fax app or by using a website form to fax from a computer. These PDF-to-fax alternatives will allow you to convert .pdf files (among many others) into analog fax signals, which can be received by any traditional fax machine on the planet.
Option 1 - Using An Email to Fax Service
Thanks to online fax services, you can send a PDF via fax by composing a new email and attaching your file to it.
There are various online fax services that work with multiple of file formats, among them PDFs. This is hands-down the best way to fax online, because it's very easy to use and it's ready to be used.
Luckily, good fax services like eFax let you create a free account in a couple of minutes to send your file securely. You can use this account to test how this method works, free of charges.
All online fax services let you convert any PDF file to a fax, keeping compatibility with any fax machine in the market. And since you are using web-based technology to do it, you can fax a pdf from your Mac or PC computer the same way.
Sending PDF to fax through email
Let’s take a look at how to fax a from a desktop computer using your email:
- Compose a new email.
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Enter the cover message on the MESSAGE field or on the BODY field. This page will precede the contents of your PDF.
- Attach a .pdf file from your computer.
- Click on Send
Once the file has been sent, it will be converted into a fax signal in a few seconds and forwarded to its destination. Afterwards you'll receive a confirmation message.
Learn more on: How to Send Fax from Gmail Free
Option 2 - Sending Fax Through a Smartphone
If you are always on the go, you can fax a PDF directly from your phone by downloading a mobile fax app for iPhone or Android. Simply open the app, attach the PDF, and fill out the number before clicking on Send.
Types of Fax Apps
There are two types of apps to fax from your phone out there: those that come as part of an online fax service, and those where you need to pay for each fax you send.
The first option gives you more flexibility because if you are not on your phone, you can simply fax the PDF document from your desktop computer or with your email. But you need a monthly plan.
The second option is better suited for those of you who only want to send an occasional fax. Why? Because although paying per fax can end up being more expensive than paying for a monthly plan, it really doesn't matter when you are just faxing a couple of pages.
In any case, make sure the service and app you are using is compatible with PDF. Some apps only let you fax documents "scanned" with your phone's camera.
Option (Not Recommended) - Free Fax Websites
If you want to fax files from your computer without spending any money, you can use a website that lets you send fax free. These websites let you send up to two pages per day, and most of them support PDF to fax.
But… well we wouldn’t recommend sending fax online with these services if faxing is a serious part of your office. This is because with these services you are not only limited in terms of quantity, but each of your faxes may or may not arrive with a cover page with ads.
If, on the other hand, you never send a fax and need to send one right now, they are a pretty good alternative. And saves you from having to find the nearest office store.
If you are planning to fax regularly, you will be better off with an online fax service, since these “free” websites then charge you a certain amount per page, which can quickly become more costly than a service that lets you send 300 pages per month.
If you are looking to start without spending money, a better alternative is to sign up for a free trial with an online fax service, this way you will be able not only to send but also to receive faxes during a full month.
Can I Fax from a Computer Using Acrobat Reader?
If your service has an plugin, you can send a fax from Acrobat Reader by clicking on File> Print and selecting your service from the printer on the list.
This should direct you to a new window where you need to enter all the fax details like number, cover page, etc. Once finished, you just Send it, after about a minute expect to receive a confirmation message in the associated email account.
Receiving Fax to PDF
If you use an online fax service, you can also receive fax to Gmail converted to PDFs. That's because they provide you with an online fax number o link to your preferred email address.
Your number will redirect incoming fax transmission to fast fax servers, where they will be converted into a digital file, in this case a PDF. Once converted, the resulting file is attached to an email message with all the details of the transmission. After it has arrived to your email, you can read it or download it as you wish. Learn more about receiving fax online.
Benefits of Receiving Faxes as PDF Attachments
Introduced more than two decades ago, the PDF file format has stood the test of time as one of the most used file types in the World. You can find it everywhere online, and search engines like Google have even started ranking these files in their pages.
It’s also the preferred format for delivering fax to Gmail. And this is no coincidence, there are many advantages you can enjoy by using documents in the PDF format. And that’s what we’ll explore on this article.
1. They Can Be Read Anywhere
These days, every device an operating system has a way of opening Adobe PDF Files. In a Mac this can be done using Preview, in a PC you have the Adobe Reader already installed with Windows, even browsers are able to show PDFs with the official plugin.
Any fax you receive will also be readable on a smartphone or a tablet, using your Internet browser or with the built-in preview software for iPhones/PDF reader app on Android.
2. It is A (Secure) File Format Accepted By Businesses
The PDF is a format that has not only been embraced by the general public, millions of companies use it on a daily basis to collaborate in an easy affordable way.
And that’s because PDF’s are not only easy to manage, but also because there are different options that can add levels of security for your documents, including passwords and watermarks.
3. It can show text and images
Before the PDF arrived, there was no easy way of integrating text and images on a digital file. You had to work with software like Word, but opening these files required that all people had a certain paid program.
The display of PDF contents is consistent across al devices, no matter which app, software or operated system they’re viewed on. The best of all is that these files aren’t heavy, compared to similar formats. Even high-quality files can be compressed into a file size that is easy to send as fax. Remember that most fax services have a max limit of 20MB for fax conversion.
4. It’s Easy to Add a Signature to Faxes
There are certain situations when we need to receive a fax and then send it back. Luckily, when using a PDF, adding a signature is a piece of cake. Besides the different apps and web tools developed to digitize your signature, many services let you add it with just a few clicks (or taps if you are using your cell phone to receive faxes!).
First you need to scan or sign directly with a tablet pen, and then turn you signature into a digital image with transparent background. This image is then added to documents where you see fit.
5. The format remains consistent
If you have worked with other document editing programs, you may have noticed that they depend heavily on the version of file you are using. Sometimes you open a document from a previous version, and it doesn’t look like it’s supposed to.
With a PDF you can forget about this problem, because the way it works has been maintained by Adobe. You can open a PDF that has been lying on your computer for 10 years, and will look exactly as originally designed to look. New version of the Adobe Reader improve the way we can handle these document but not the PDF itself.
6. It’s here to stay
The format was created as a way to definitely say goodbye to paper consumption in offices around the World. These days it is so widespread that you can rest assured it will remain relevant for decades to come, after all it has already stood the test of time in these days when a new technology pops up every two days!
Having your faxes stored as PDFs not only gives you plenty of benefits right now, but they will also be accessible in the future, you won’t need to convert them to another file ever again.
What About the Downsides?
Of course, no file format is perfect and the PDF is no exception. For example, creating a PDF is not as easy as it may seem. The Adobe Reader is just that, a reader. You need specialized software and probably a designer to make your own high quality PDFs.
Readability on small devices can be limited because the contents are not reflowable, you just zoom in to the parts you want to read.
Finally, converting PDFs to other file formats can be a rocky experience, there are a lot of options that you need how to use to get an optimal result. Other times you need a specialized program or service to convert a PDF to a specific type of file.
Luckily when you fax a PDF online we don’t need to deal with these problems. There’s no need of creating PDFs from scratch, they just arrive to your inbox. In addition every document you send as fax is converted to PDF automatically by your fax service (and viceversa), ensuring that the display is the same as the original document.
In this article you’ve learned how to convert PDFs to fax online without having to depend on a fax machine or an office supply store. As you can see, you don’t even need a fax number if you don’t want to receive faxes or if you are just looking to fax occasionally. With online solutions you can reduce the time and money you spend faxing, online faxing is simple, and you can get started within minutes. Check out out guide at Google Online Fax to learn more about Internet faxing.