How to Fax a PDF Online Using Your Computer or Phone
Do you want to send a PDF to a fax machine, but don't know how to do it? Don't worry, we've got you covered.
Faxing a PDF may seem like a daunting task, as it requires transforming a digital file into a format compatible with traditional fax machines. But with the right tools and knowledge at your disposal, you can effortlessly navigate this technological crossover and ensure that your important documents reach their intended recipients without a hitch.
You can fax a PDF from your computer using an online fax service, a smartphone fax app, or by using a website form. Let's take a look at how all this works.
1. Using an Online Fax Service
Faxing a PDF has become incredibly convenient and accessible through online fax services. By simply creating a new email and attaching your PDF file, you can send your documents seamlessly. With numerous online fax services available that support various file formats, including PDFs, choosing this method is undoubtedly the most efficient way to fax online.
Luckily, good 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.
All online fax services allow you to send PDFs and are compatible with any device on the market. And because they use web-based technology, you can use your Mac or PC for the job.
How to Send a PDF to Fax Via Email
Let’s take a look at how to transmit a PDF via fax from a desktop computer using your email:
- To fax a pdf, start by composing 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: email@example.com
- 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 is sent, it is converted into a fax signal in a few seconds and sent to its destination. You'll then receive a confirmation email.
2. Using a Mobile Fax App
If you are always on the go, faxing PDFs directly from your mobile phone by downloading a mobile fax app for your iPhone or Android phone is the best option. Simply open the app, attach your file, enter the number and click send.
Types of Fax Apps
There are two types of apps out there: those that come as part of a service, and those where you need to pay for each page you send.
The first option gives you more flexibility because if you are not on your phone, you can simply fax your document from your desktop computer or with your email. However, you will need a monthly plan.
The second option is better for those of you who only need to send an occasional fax. And why is that? Because although paying per page can end up being more expensive than paying for a monthly plan, it really doesn't matter if you're only faxing a few pages.
Either way, make sure the service and application you use is compatible with your file. Some applications only allow you to send documents that have been "scanned" with your phone's camera.
3. Using a Free Website (Not Recommended)
If you want to send PDFs via fax from your computer without spending money, you can use a website that lets you send faxes for free. These sites allow you to send up to two pages per day, and most of them support PDF to fax.
But... well, we wouldn't recommend sending faxes online with these services if faxes are an important part of your business. Not only are you limited in the amount 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 a fax and need to send one now, they are a pretty good alternative. And it saves you from having to find the nearest office supply store.
If you plan to send faxes regularly, you will be better off with an online fax service, as these "free" sites then 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, which will allow you to not only send but also receive faxes for an entire month.
How To Receive Fax as 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 redirects incoming faxes to fast fax servers where they are converted to a digital file, in this case a PDF. Once the conversion is complete, the resulting file will be attached to an e-mail message containing all the details of the transmission. Once it arrives in your email, you can read it or download it at your convenience. Learn more about receiving faxes online.
Preparing Your PDF for Faxing
Although faxing a PDF from your computer can be a pretty simple task, it's important you take the time to prepare the doucment you want to send, and ensure the fax is sent clearly. Here are some steps to take to prepare your PDF before pressing the Send button of your online fax service or machine.
Make Sure your PDF Has Good Quality
A high-quality PDF file is a must for secure transmission. A document with low resolution and blurred text can be difficult to read, especially when it's received on a traditional fax machine. If your PDF was created from a scanned document, try scanning it again at a higher resolution to improve readability. If your PDF was created from a Word document, try increasing the font size.
Compress the PDF if Needed
Faxing a PDF attachment of large size may take a few extra minutes to upload, so if your fax service charges by the minute, this may result in additional charges. This isn't a problem with large and reliable online fax services, but it can still take several minutes if you have a slow upload speed. You can reduce the size of your PDF using Adobe Acrobat or an online PDF compressor. Don't go overboard with the settings or your file may end up being too low quality and difficult to read.
Convert PDF to an Image File if There is a Problem
If there is a problem (which is very rare) uploading the PDF, you can convert it to an image and still send it. Fax services work with several image file types, including common ones like JPG, TIFF, BPM, and GIF. You can use an online image converter with good quality settings. Once you have your image, simply upload it to your online fax message and follow the steps above.
Why Use a PDF to Fax ONline?
Introduced more than two decades ago, the PDF file format has proven itself to be one of the most widely 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 sending faxes to Google Mail. And this is no coincidence, because there are many advantages to using documents in PDF format. Let's take a look at them.
1. They Can Be Read Anywhere
Today, every device and operating system has a way to open Adobe Acrobat files. On a Mac, you can use Preview; on a PC, you already have Adobe Reader installed with Windows; even browsers can view documents with the official plug-in.
Any fax you receive can be read on a smartphone or tablet. You can use your web browser or the built-in preview software for iPhones/PDF Reader app for Android. Some services have great fax apps you can use to read and even resend your incoming faxes.
2. It is A (Secure) File Format Accepted By Businesses
PDF is a format that has not only been embraced by the general public, but millions of businesses use it every day to collaborate in an easy and affordable way.
That's because PDFs are not only easy to manage, but there are also several options that can add levels of security to your documents, including passwords and watermarks. On top of that services provide security measures to keep things confidential when you send and receive fax.
3. It can show text and images
Before PDF, there was no easy way to include text and images in a digital file. You had to work with software like Word, but opening those files required that everyone have a specific, paid-for program.
PDF content is consistent across all devices, no matter what application, software, or operating system you're viewing it on. Best of all, these files aren't heavy compared to similar formats. Even high-quality files can be compressed to a file size that is easy to fax. Keep in mind that most fax services have a 20MB limit for fax conversion.
4. It’s Easy to Add a Signature to Faxes
There are certain situations where we need to receive a fax and then send it back. Fortunately, adding a signature to a PDF document is a breeze. In addition to the various apps and web tools designed to digitize your signature, many services let you add it with just a few clicks (or taps, if you use your mobile phone to receive faxes!).
First, you need to scan or sign directly with a tablet pen, then turn your signature into a digital image with a transparent background. This image will then be added to the documents in the places 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 the file you are using. Sometimes you open a document from an earlier version and it doesn't look like it should.
With a PDF, you can forget about this problem because the way it works has been preserved by Adobe. You can open a PDF that has been on your computer for 10 years and it will look exactly as it was originally intended. New versions of Adobe Reader improve the way we can handle these documents, but not the PDF itself.
6. It’s here to stay
The format was created to help eliminate paper used in offices worldwide. Today, it is so widespread that you can be sure 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 appears every two days!
Storing your faxes as PDFs not only gives you a lot of advantages now, but they'll also be accessible in the future, so you'll never have to convert them to another file again.
What About the Downsides?
Of course, no file format is perfect, and PDF is no exception. For example, creating a PDF is not as simple as it may seem. Adobe Reader is just that, a reader. You need specialized software and probably a designer to create your own high-quality PDFs.
Readability on small devices can be limited because the content is not reflowable; you just zoom in on the parts you want to read.
Finally, converting PDFs to other file formats can be a rocky experience, there are a lot of options you need to know how to use to get an optimal result. Other times, you need a specialized program or service to convert a PDF to a specific file type.
Fortunately, when you fax online, we don't have to deal with these problems. There's no need to create PDFs from scratch, they just arrive in your inbox. Plus, any document you fax is automatically converted to PDF by your fax service (and vice versa), so it looks exactly like the original document.
Q: Do I need to convert my file to fax and send?
A: You don't because with virtual faxing, all your files are automatically converted into a fax-compatible format, usually a TIFF file, ensuring that they are readable by the recipient's fax machine or computer.
Q: Can I fax a PDF from a Mac?
A: Yes. Online fax services use web-based technology, this means that you can fax no matter what type of computer or mobile device you are using. As long as you can access your email, or your service's web members area you are good to go. Mac computers are great for faxing as they are fast and simple to use.
Q: Can I fax from a computer using Acrobat Reader?
If your service has a plug-in, you can send a fax from within Acrobat Reader by clicking File> Print and selecting your service from the printer list. This should take you to a new window where you can enter all the fax details such as number, cover page, etc. Once you are done, just send it and after a minute or so you should receive a confirmation message in your email account.