No matter how many tech writers predicted the death of the fax machine, it’s still very much here with us in 2020.
Surprising to some, businesses and governments fax more now than ever. There was a 9% growth in all sectors from 2016-2017 and expected growth of 25% from 2017-2020.
As a business owner, you are probably well aware of this already. But what you might not know is how to make a fax fit into a more and more digital office landscape.
Online faxing is the solution to your problems, making the office staple feel much less like an out of place dinosaur, and more like the useful business tool it can be.
Skip right to any of these sections:
- How to Send a Fax (3 Steps)
- Other Ways to Send a Fax: By Email / Document Printing
- 3 Steps to Receive a Fax
- How to Receive Faxes to Your Machine and Email Inbox
- What Document Types Does Online Faxing Support?
- What Do Online Fax Services Cost?
- Get Online Faxing for Email Today
What Is Online Fax or vFax?
Online faxing, also known as, eFax, vFax or virtual faxing, is when you send or receive a fax through the internet on a computer, rather than by using a typical fax machine.
It does not use the standard telephone connection. So you don’t need a machine, a dedicated fax number, and a phone line. You only need to have a computer, an internet connection, and an online service.
That also means you don’t have to print out documents, just scan and send them.
How Does it Work?
Fax machines are not directly connected to the internet. So to transfer data to one via the internet, you need to transfer and translate the data from the internet protocol, to a telephonic transmission.
That might sound complicated, but only if you try to start from scratch. Instead, the easiest way to send and receive faxes online is to sign up for an internet fax service like Nextiva vFax.
It will provide you with a virtual fax number. This number can be used to receive standard faxes from traditional machines. The service handles all the complicated parts like sending and translating data.
It will have an online dashboard that you can access to check your inbox, as well as send faxes.
How to Send a Fax (3 Steps)
There is a growing bid to go digital, and 34% of companies have already completed their transition.
And who can blame them? The average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 pieces of paper per year.
And that’s not the whole office.
It’s a single worker.
If you have a 50 person office, that’s not only 500,000 pieces of paper going to waste, but imagine trying to file, organize, and stay on top of all that data.
That’s a job for another 50 people.
Taking your faxing online is a significant first step to dealing with issues like these.
With one step, you avoid printing before sending, and you can use data-based archives to prevent logistical problems with faxing.
1) Choose and Sign Up For a Service
Like we explained in how online faxing works, the only convenient way to fax documents online is to use an online service.
There are many alternatives out there, but we feel confident in recommending Nextiva vFAX for most serious business faxing purposes.
We are one of the few U.S. based providers, and as a modern cloud-based communications company, we’ve decided to take things to the next level.
You can send and receive electronic faxes from anywhere, on a computer, or even a mobile device. Our system uses 256-bit SSL encryption to keep your sensitive business information secure.
You can even choose a toll-free number, or transfer the number from your machine to digital.
*If you are just a student and you want to send a short document, and you don’t care about security or third-party branded logos on the documents, you could use a free service like fax zero.
2) Log In to the Service Portal on Your Computer
After signing up, access the dashboard of your service through your browser.
With Nextiva vFAX, you can also log in for a responsive user experience form any device.
3) Create A New Fax and Send It
Sending a document online isn’t that complicated.
In our dashboard, choose the “send a fax” option, to open a new window.
Then you fill out the recipient info, like the recipient’s fax number (remember the area code), schedule, the subject, and your information as the sender. You can also set a cover page at this stage.
Then you move on to the attachments.
This step is where you attach the relevant documents that you want to fax. PDF files are accepted, as well as DOCX files and excel worksheets.
We have a whole section at the end of this post that covers the document types our online fax service supports.
Once you have included the files that you want, you can move on to the preview stage.
Once it’s all checked out, move on to the send screen.
Before you send, you can choose which type of fax it is, and put it in a specific folder for archiving purposes.
You can also CC the message to the emails of relevant staff members who won’t receive the fax itself.
Other Ways to Send a Fax: By Email / Document Printing
If you choose Nextiva, you will also be able to send faxes from your email provider of choice.
First, you need to set the email address you want to use for this as the vFAX account’s primary email.
Then you can create a new email addressed to “FAXNUMBER@nextivafax.com”.
For example: firstname.lastname@example.org
The text of the email will be added in the notes section of the cover page, and the email subject will become the fax subject.
You can also do the same thing from any Android or iOS email app where you can access the same account.
With vFAX, there is a final way that you can send electronic documents.
You can print out text files or spreadsheets when they are done.
To do this, you first have to install the vFAX printer client, which you can download here.
After you have installed the client, a new printer should be available on your computer.
Validate and login into your vFAX account.
Now all you need to do is choose the printer labeled “Nextiva vFAX” when you want to send a document.
3 Steps to Receive a Fax
Receiving a document online that is sent from a fax machine is even easier than sending. There are two basic steps, signing up for an online fax service and number, and accessing the inbox from within the online dashboard.
1) Sign Up For a Digital Fax Number
The first step of receiving a document sent to a fax number online is signing up for a digital alternative.
If you have already signed up with a service to send a fax, you will most likely already have a number as well.
If you still haven’t you can take Nextiva vFAX for a 30-day free trial.
You will be able to receive up to 500 fax pages for free.
And best of all, you will get to keep your current number, so you won’t have to contact all your offices and business partners to change up their processes.
2) Sign in And Access Your Inbox
Provided you keep the same number, you can jump straight ahead to the actual receiving.
Just head over to the login portal.
Log in with the same information you signed up with.
Right from the dashboard overview, you can see the received faxes in the bottom right corner.
You can even download individual faxes by clicking the download icon next to the fax in the “view” part of the dashboard.
You can even choose the file type, compression and which pages you want.
This easy to access overview might be quick and easy, but constantly checking in on a different service might not be something you want to add to the plate of your employees.
3) Set Up Email Copies for Incoming Faxes
Email is one of the cornerstones of 2020 offices around the globe. Between 2014-2018, an average office worker would receive 90 and send 40 business emails per day.
Instead of adding a new inbox and flow of communication employees need to pay attention to, you can relay fax messages directly to email inboxes of key staff members.
This workflow will let them focus on just one inbox and will make their daily work lives easier.
Once you log in to your vFAX account, go to the Settings page inside the dashboard.
From the default Profile page, redirect to the Notifications page by clicking the link.
Once you’re there, you will be able to enter up to 5 email addresses.
Once you have set up these email notifications, you or your staff will receive them straight to their email inbox.
You can even set up SMS notifications for incoming faxes as well. These notifications help you stay on top of internal and external communication.
How to Receive Faxes to Your Machine and Email Inbox
Do you want to keep your trustworthy office machine, but also have a digital version of every incoming document? With the right tools, you can implement this solution in your office.
Sending faxes via the internet is easy, but receiving faxes to an existing fax machine online can be complicated.
Instead of scrapping the machine and getting a new virtual machine number that you have to send to all your customers and business partners, you can simply receive faxes sent to a machine directly to your email inbox using Nextiva’s fax to email solutions.
This device allows you to receive faxes straight to the office, as well as the cloud at the same time.
Once you complete the installation and set up, every fax you get will also arrive in your email inbox at the same time.
What Document Types Does Online Faxing Support?
Most online faxing services support typical Microsoft Word, text, printer and PDF files.
Nextiva vFAX also supports image files like TIFF, GIF and JPEG, and other Microsoft Office file types like PPT. So you can save time by taking a high-quality photo of a document and attaching it instead of having to scan it and turn it into a PDF file.
If using an email client, it is important that you attach the image files and don’t embed them. Otherwise, they will not be read properly and vFAX will be unable to send them.
Full list of supported document types:
- Microsoft Word DOC Files (DOC, DOCX), Excel Spreadsheets (XLS, XLSX), PowerPoint Presentations ( PPT, PPTX)
- Printer File Formats (PCL, EPS, PS)
- Other Text Files (TXT, RTF, XML)
- Adobe Acrobat Files (PDF)
- Image Files (TIFF)
- Image Files GIF, PNG, JPEG (They will only work if they are not embedded images.)
What Do Online Fax Services Cost?
When surveying our competitors, we found that many of them hide high fees and bad terms behind a free trial.
You can save up to 80% by switching to Nextiva vFAX from another provider.
After a 30-day free trial, Nextiva vFAX costs as little as $4.95 / month with 500 free pages.
- eFax costs $10.00 a month for up to 150 sent and 150 received faxes.
- Myfax.eu costs €13 a month for 100 sent and 200 received per month.
While our service only costs $4.95 a month for 500 pages sent or received in total.
That is a cost per page of $0.01 vs $0.033 for eFax and $0.046 for MyFax.
Switching from eFax would save you 66.6%, and from MyFax 78.3%
Not only that, because we have a 30-day free trial, the switching costs are 0.
Get Online Faxing for Email Today
If your business still uses a lot of fax in your business communication it’s important to integrate it with.
By going online, your employees will be able to send and receive faxes via email, making it easier for them to stay on top of important internal and external communications.
You can even connect your old fax machine with the internet through our hardware without having to change numbers.
Taking your faxing online has never been easier, or cheaper, than it is with Nextiva vFax today.
Gaetano DiNardi is the Director of Demand Generation at Nextiva and has a track record of success working with brands like Major League Baseball, Pipedrive, Sales Hacker and Outreach.io. Outside of marketing, Gaetano is an accomplished music producer and songwriter - he’s worked with major artists like Fat Joe, Shaggy and loves making music to stay turbocharged. To get in touch, follow him on LinkedIn.