Knowing how to use a fax machine is an important professional skill that helps facilitate timely communication. While it may seem like an outdated technology, fax machines are still widely used to send and receive important business documents.
Fortunately, setting up and using fax machines is straightforward and easy to do. Moreover, there are a variety of modern online faxing alternatives that make sending and receiving faxes easier and more convenient than ever.
Let’s take a closer look at how to set up a fax machine, how to use a fax machine, and how online faxing platforms may be a more practical alternative.
Table of Contents
How Does a Fax Machine Work?
All fax machines perform the same basic tasks — they scan a document, then transfer the data to another fax machine that decodes the data and prints out the document.
Modern fax machines typically have the same main three components: a scanner, a printer, and a phone line or modem.
When you feed the fax machine a document, the scanner converts the document into a digital signal that is sent through the phone line.
The receiving fax machine takes this signal, decodes it to recreate the original document, then prints the document.
How to Use a Fax Machine
Sending and receiving documents with a fax machine is fairly easy, but if you’ve never had to use one before, it can be a little confusing.
Here’s how to set up and use your fax machine to quickly send and receive important documents.
How to Set Up a Fax Machine
First, you need to make sure your fax machine is set up and ready to go.
Follow these steps to do so:
- Plug the fax machine into a power source
- Connect the phone line
- Load toner or ink
- Make sure the fax machine has paper
- Turn the fax machine on
To check the phone line connection, pick up the fax machine’s phone and check for a dial tone. If you hear a dial tone, you should be good to go. If your fax machine doesn’t have a phone, connect an external phone to check for a dial tone.
Once everything is set up, you can run a test to make sure your fax machine is ready to send and receive documents. Simply call the fax number, and if the fax machine picks up, you’re ready to get started.
How to Send a Fax
Follow these steps to send a fax:
- Enter the document you want to fax into the document feeder. If you have multiple documents, put them in the order that you want them to be sent
- Dial the fax number for the receiving fax machine
- Select Fax or Send to send the fax
- After sending the fax, you should receive a confirmation page
- Remove your documents
How to Receive a Fax
Receiving a fax is simple and only requires you to make sure your fax machine is prepared to receive and print documents.
Here’s how to do so:
- Make sure your fax machine is set up and operable
- Ensure the fax machine has enough ink/toner and paper
- The fax machine phone will ring. Don’t pick it up — the fax machine will automatically receive and print the document(s)
While the sender should receive a confirmation from their fax machine that the fax was successfully transmitted, it’s always a good idea to contact them personally to confirm receipt.
Online Fax Services
Faxing is still a prominent aspect of business communication, but traditional fax machines are quickly becoming outdated as online faxing solutions become more widespread.
Online platforms like eFax make it easy to send, receive, and sign documents from any device with an internet connection — users don’t have to worry about set up, maintenance, toner, paper, or other costs.
Features & Benefits
If you’re looking for a more efficient alternative to fax machines, eFax offers a more cost-effective, time-efficient, and accessible faxing solution.
Standard fax machines require setup fees, regular maintenance, and if your fax machine breaks down, you might be stuck without a way to send time-sensitive materials. Moreover, if you’re regularly out of the office, eFax is compatible with mobile devices, so you’ll always be able to send, sign, and receive faxes from anywhere with an internet connection.
Online fax services offer several other great benefits that can’t be matched by standard fax machines, including:
- Affordability: No more costs related to fax machine maintenance or materials.
- Portability: eFax is available on desktop and mobile platforms, so you can fax from anywhere.
- Accessibility: You don’t need a fax machine or phone line to use eFax — only an internet-enabled device.
- Storage: eFax offers secure lifetime fax storage and is compatible with popular cloud storage platforms.
- File Sharing: Share files that are too large to send via email.
eFax users also receive local and toll-free fax numbers and get access to a variety of other great features and benefits.
Fax machines are a staple of business communication and offer a great way to send and receive important documents; however, they simply cannot match the convenience and intuitiveness offered by modern online faxing platforms.
How to Fax with eFax
When you sign up with eFax, you can take advantage of several different faxing methods, including eFax online and eFax Messenger, a desktop fax app.
Here’s how to send a fax using eFax online:
- Sign in to eFax
- Click Send Faxes
- Type in the recipient’s Name and Company or select a recipient from your contacts
- Go to Select Fax-To Country and choose your recipient’s location
- Enter your recipient’s Fax Number if you didn’t choose someone from your contacts
- Select Include Cover Page and enter a subject and body
- Click Browse to select the documents you want to attach
- Select OK
- Go to Select Quality List and choose a resolution for your fax
- Select Send Faxes
After downloading the eFax Messenger app, follow these steps to print a document to Messenger:
- Open a document that you want to fax
- In the File menu, select Print
- Select eFax Messenger as the printer
- Click OK or Print. The file should now appear in the eFax Messenger window.
Then, follow these steps to send your fax:
- Type the recipient’s fax number in the To field or choose a contact from your Address Book
- Select Send Copy to Me if you want to receive a copy of the fax.
- Enter the Subject and an Attention name for the fax
- To add another page, click the Add New Page (+) button in the sidebar. There are three types of fax pages:
- Blank Page – Adds a blank page
- Cover Page – Adds a preformatted cover page
- Import File – Adds an image or PDF file
- To add other types of files, click Attach file and select the file to upload
- Click Send Fax
Do you fax face up or down?
Different fax machines have different standards for feeding documents into the machine.
To find out how to feed documents into your fax machine, look for a logo that looks like a piece of paper with the corner folded. If the logo has lines on the front of the paper, then you should feed the documents in face-up. If the logo is blank, put them in face-down.
What information is needed to send a fax?
You only need a couple of things to send a fax: your fax documents and the recipient’s fax number. You can also use a fax cover sheet if you’d like to add details such as who the fax is for and what it’s about.
Make sure to include any extensions or international dialing codes when entering the fax number to ensure it is sent to the intended recipient.
Can I fax a document from my computer?
Yes, but not with a traditional fax machine. To fax a document from your computer, you can use an online platform like eFax to send, receive, and sign documents.
Can I fax to real fax machines if I use an online fax service?
Yes, your fax will be sent to the intended recipient, whether they have a fax machine or use an online fax provider. They will receive your fax just like any other fax.
Online faxing is a modern, convenient alternative to traditional fax machines. While fax machines are still relatively prominent, they are quickly being phased out by modern faxing solutions.
To see for yourself why eFax is the premier alternative to using a fax machine, sign up today!
James Lintzer - Consensus
James Lintzer develops marketing communications strategies and programs for a variety of Consensus cloud brands, with a focus on eFax. As a business and technology enthusiast, he provides valuable insight and experience across Consensus’ North American SMB services. James is also an avid paintballer and collects non-fungible tokens in his spare time.