How to email a fax | Fax Authority

last updated: August 9, 2021

There are two ways to send an email to a fax machine: through an online fax service or an enterprise-grade fax server.

However, there are other ways to send faxes from a computer using a connected fax machine or fax software (a direct replacement for a fax machine); these approaches do not have the advantage of being able to be administered via email and also require a landline phone.


  • There is no “out of the box” way for an email program to send a fax. An online fax service, fax server, or connected fax machine is required to enable email to fax and fax to email.
  • You can send and receive a fax with email using an online fax service, including email services such as gmail, hotmail, and outlook.
  • you can send and receive a fax using a connected fax machine or multifunction printer as a relay. most only have the ability to receive a fax and forward it to email, while sending is done through the print driver.
  • enterprise & corporate-grade fax servers can add “email-to-fax” and “fax-to-email” capability to an organization.
  • alternatives include fax software and finding a local establishment to send and receive faxes

on this page

  • how fax to email (and email to fax) works
  • how to send and receive a fax to email (or email to fax) with a service online fax machine
  • use a connected fax machine to send and receive a fax with email
  • alternatives
  • sources and more resources

how fax to email (and email to fax) works

There are two ways to connect fax and email. the first is with a fax server (an online fax service is a type of fax server), the second is with a connected fax machine with email capability.

An online fax service is a type of fax server. the main difference between the two is that fax servers are managed directly (usually found in business and corporate environments) while online fax is available as a service.

A connected fax machine is a fax machine controlled by a computer or smartphone. many connected fax machines can send a fax from the print driver and some can relay the fax to an email each time a fax is received.

how to send and receive a fax to email (or email to fax) with an online fax service or fax server

email to fax (and fax to email) is a standard feature with most online fax services.

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send an email to fax

Steps vary by service provider. A typical approach to sending an email to a fax with an online fax service is:

Step 1: Prepare a new email. Open a new email as you normally would.

Step 2: Enter the “to” fax number in an email address. To send the email to a fax, send it to an email address that is the fax number @ for example, if the fax number to send is +1 (212) 555-5555 and the online fax service is nextiva, the email to send is [email protected]

Step 3: Enter the subject and body of the email. The subject and body of the email will become the relevant parts of the fax cover page. the subject line will be the subject line of the email, the body of the email will be the body of the cover page. information about the sender is automatically inserted into the cover page from the service settings.

Step 4: Attach the documents to the fax. More than one document can be attached, and file formats such as word and pdf are universally supported.

Step 5: Send the email. The email travels to the fax service. the fax service will convert the information in the email to a fax and call the fax number.

Step 6: Wait for confirmation (or failed message). The fax service sends a confirmation page email showing that the fax was sent successfully or not.

receiving a fax to email

The steps vary with each provider. this is a typical approach to receiving a fax to an email address:

Step 1: The fax service waits for the fax line to ring. The fax service is always on regardless of whether your computer, smartphone, or email client is active.

Step 2: The fax service answers the ringing fax line. The sending fax machine transmits the fax information to the fax service.

Step 3: The fax service stores the fax. A web browser, software program, or application can access the faxes.

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Step 4: The fax service emails a copy of the fax to designated email addresses (some fax services allow more than one recipient email address). the mail arrives with a copy of the fax in pdf format.


The system can work with all types of devices, including computers (windows, mac and linux) and smartphones/tablets (iphone, android, blackberry and windows phone). it can work anywhere where email can be accessed and a pdf document can be displayed.

all types of email addresses are supported. an online email to fax service can work with:

  • webmail email addresses such as gmail, hotmail, yahoo! mail and outlook 365 webmail.
  • verizon, at&t, time warner, comcast, centurylink, and any internet service provider’s email.
  • any email client such as outlook, thunderbird, and mac mail.


The limitations of faxing to email with an online fax service or fax server come primarily from the storage size allowed by the email provider. most email providers allow more than enough space; however, faxed documents take up much more storage space on your computer than an equivalent document typed directly into an email.

With a fax server, there may be a limitation set by administrators as to what type of email you can send and receive a fax. however, these limitations are specific to the organization and not to the server software.

use a connected fax machine to send and receive a fax with email

Most connected fax machines have the ability to “print” to send a fax through the print driver. some connected fax machines (or fax-capable MFPs) can forward a fax to email.

A connected fax machine will still need a landline phone, just like a regular fax machine.

“print” to the fax driver

connected fax machines can send a fax by “printing” it.

Details vary by fax machine. it is typical to have the ability to load the print driver (go to print file, select more options). within the print driver there is an option to send the document to a fax number.

Other fax machines have software that performs the functions to send the fax. Within the software, there is an option to create a simple fax and send it as a fax.

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forward fax to email

Some connected fax machines can forward (or relay) a received fax to an email address. when a fax is received, an email is sent to a designated email address with a pdf copy of the fax attached.

alternatives: send a fax with a computer or use a local store

The simplest alternative to an online fax service with email faxing or a connected fax machine is fax software or finding a local place to send a fax.

Most versions of windows include “fax and scan window”, a program that acts as a direct replacement for a fax machine. a fax modem on the computer and a landline telephone are required. this program acts as an email client, however, it is for sending and receiving faxes.

sources and more resources

  • Fax Authority: Email Fax (Glossary): Our glossary entry defining what email fax is and how it works.
  • Fax Authority: Guide to the online fax: our guide to online fax systems. email to fax and fax to email is just a small part of online faxing.
  • fax authority – online fax services – our comparison of online fax services. page includes side-by-side comparison.
  • wikipedia – internet fax – wikipedia entry on internet fax, a general term for sending and receiving faxes over the internet.
  • wikihow – how to email to fax: 6 steps – a basic explanation of how to send an email to a fax machine.
  • mozilla thunderbird support forum – can i send an email to a fax number? – a discussion on the mozilla support forum about using an email to fax system.
  • bro – how do I set up fax to email forwarding? – brother support forum answer on setting up fax forwarding on an mfc -8220.
  • google patents – patent no us 6424426 b1 system and method of fax to email communication and from email to fax – a patent showing the operation of a fax-to-email and email-to-fax system from the year 2000. granted to matthew k. henry de mongonet.
  • google patents: us patent number us 6614551 b1 e-mail capable fax machine and methods of using it: a patent showing the operation of a mail capable fax machine electronic. Awarded to Gregory A. take a look at intel corporation.

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