As of September 2021, Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout has reached 12 million homes and businesses nationwide. The rollout has boosted productivity and efficiency in many workplaces.
But it’s also introduced a problem for businesses that rely on fax machines. The rollout disconnected many of Australia’s ISDN and PSTN phone lines — which analog fax machines need to transmit faxes. Now, businesses need to fax via the digital network with an NBN-compatible tool.
If you’ve never used one of these tools, they may seem scary. We can help. This guide will teach you how to use software to receive a fax on your computer.
Digital Document Sharing Options
As the NBN rollout disconnected analog fax lines, you need to use a technology that connects to the internet to send and receive faxes. Here are four such digital document sharing options:
#1. Online Fax
Online faxing services do everything your fax machine does and more. When you send a fax with online faxing, your faxing service encrypts it with Transport Layer Security (TLS) and transports it through Tier-3 secure servers.
You can use online fax to fax domestically and internationally, as well as to:
- Fax multiple recipients simultaneously
- Fax video clips, images, live files and more
- Sign documents electronically
- Send and receive multiple faxes simultaneously without getting the dreaded busy signal
- Convert your fax files into other formats
Faxes sent with online faxing are stored in cloud-based storage (though you can print and file them like regular documents if you want).
Though there are many online fax services on the market, most services allow you to scale your faxing plan to your needs — so online faxing is suited to people who need to transmit faxes once, twice or every day.
Email is an excellent option for people who want to transmit documents quickly and for free. However, it’s not for everyone.
If you need to send or receive a fax containing sensitive, financial or healthcare-centred information, email may open you up to cybersecurity risks. Email is vulnerable to ransomware, malware and account hacking, so you can’t guarantee documents sent via email are safe from prying eyes.
Additionally, email is only suited to small documents. As most providers limit you to 20 MB of attachments per email, many files are simply too large.
#3. An Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
An Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is a tool that links your organisation to other partnered organisations. EDIs allow you to share documents freely via the internet.
EDIs are great options for organisations that share documents regularly, but some barriers make EDI’s hard to use.
Both parties (the document sender and receiver) must have EDI software or EDI translator software for EDIs to work. You must also configure your systems to accept documents from each other — so EDI won’t work for once-off faxing.
Additionally, EDIs can only transmit documents that meet ANSI, ebXML, TRADACOMS or EDIFACT standards. EDIs use set standards because they process documents automatically and need to decipher the document’s contents.
#4. An Internet-Connected Fax Machine
If you really want to fax through your fax machine, it is possible. But you’ll need a telephone adapter.
A telephone adapter gives your machine an IP address and brings it onto the digital network. This allows your machine to send and receive faxes online instead of through phone lines.
If your fax machine is an integral part of your workplace, faxing through an internet-connected fax machine may work for you. But it’s not the perfect solution for everyone.
Some machines are too old or not capable of faxing online. Setting up a telephone adapter is also tricky, and maintaining a fax machine costs an average of $1,259.76 annually. That’s $1,044.21 more than a premium online faxing plan.
Additionally, bringing your fax machine online can take weeks. You will need to buy a telephone adapter, install it, port your fax number to a SIP or VoIP service and configure the machine before you can send or receive faxes with it.
Fax Software Options for PC
Nearly 73% of computer users worldwide use a Windows operating system. If that’s you, you can use three primary types of software for digital faxing. We’ll cover those in detail in this section.
Option #1. Windows Fax and Scan
Windows Fax and Scan is an in-built faxing tool included in Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, 11 and Vista.
Windows Fax and Scan is not a complete online faxing system. Instead, it integrates with your offline faxing service to help you send faxes using your PC. You need a fax number and a fax connection to use it.
How To Set Up Windows Fax And Scan
- Connect your fax or phone line to your PC or modem
- Type “Windows Fax and Scan” into the Windows toolbar and select the software
- Complete the setup wizard to configure the program
How To Send A Fax Using Windows Fax And Scan
- Open Windows Fax and Scan
- Select “new fax”
- Add a recipient in the “to” bar
- Attach your documents by clicking “insert” and “file attachment”
- Press “send”
How To Receive A Fax Using Windows Fax And Scan
You can open your faxes through the “inbox” and “incoming” folders.
Windows Fax and Scan is a reasonably basic faxing service. It includes features like a scanner, address book, custom cover pages, dialling rules and custom text formatting.
Option #2. eFax Messenger
eFax Messenger is eFax’s Windows software. To install it, you need an eFax account, Windows 10 and a 64-bit (x64) processor.
How to Set Up eFax Messenger
- Click this link and select “Download eFax Messenger for Windows”
- Click “save” and select a location to save the file
- Navigate to this location and double click the file
- Complete the setup widget and log into your eFax account. eFax will give you access to your old faxes through the cloud automatically.
How To Send A Fax Via eFax Messenger
- Click “new fax”
- Type your recipient’s number into the “to” bar
- Select “attach” and add your fax files (you can send up to 10 files per fax)
- Click “send”
How To Receive A Using Via eFax Messenger
You can receive your faxes through the “inbox” tab. Received faxes come from “[email protected]” and have the subject line “Fax Received From (Sender).” You can also sign, print or share faxes within the eFax Messenger app.
eFax Messenger includes many features for smarter faxing, including:
- Tag and Search
- A fax preview option
- Print Driver (which allows you to convert any document into a fax-friendly file)
- An address book (you can transfer contacts from Microsoft Outlook into your address book)
- Large file transfer up to 3 GB
- Fax templates
- Multiple-recipient faxing
- Digital signatures
Option #3. Email Faxing
Alternatively, you can fax through email if you have signed up with a provider that offers email faxing (like eFax). Email faxing can be web-based or software-based.
How to Set Up Email Faxing
If you have signed up for eFax, eFax will automatically enable email faxing for the email address you signed up with.
How To Send A Fax Using Email Faxing
- Open your inbox
- Click “compose message”
- Type in the recipient’s fax number and add “@efaxsend.com” (or your provider’s fax address)
- Click “attach” and add your faxes
- Click “send”
How To Receive A Fax Using Email Faxing
You can find your received faxes in your email inbox.
Email faxing features depend on your faxing provider. You can see a complete list of eFax’s features here.
PC Faxing FAQs
Though faxing software is pretty straightforward once you know how to use it, getting started can be confusing. This section will answer the most frequently asked questions about faxing software.
Can You Send Customised Cover Pages With Your Fax?
Yes, most digital document sharing tools will let you send customised cover pages with your faxes. For example, to add a custom cover page in eFax Messenger or Windows Fax and Scan, double click the “cover page” box and add any information you want to include.
If you are using email faxing, you can add a cover letter by writing in the body of the email. eFax will turn this into a cover letter automatically.
What Does Online Faxing Cost?
Each online fax provider charges different fees, so let’s use eFax as an example. eFax offers monthly plans with a set number of faxes. If you go over your page allowance, eFax charges you $0.10 per page (provided your fax transmits in a minute or less like 90% of faxed pages).
eFax’s plans include:
- eFax Plus = which costs $14.13 a month and includes 300 faxes
- eFax Pro = which costs $14.21 a month and includes 400 faxes
- eFax Premium = which costs $17.96 a month and includes 600 faxes
eFax offers discounts if you pay for your plan annually and charges extra for international faxing. View eFax’s international rates here.
Can You Fax From Microsoft Word, Excel And PowerPoint?
eFax has a Microsoft Word integration app that allows you to fax documents through Word. You can send Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents through Windows Fax and Scan, but you need to send them through the program directly.
How Can I Get A Number To Send Faxes From The Computer?
You can get a fax number from two places: your online faxing provider or a SIP or VoIP provider. Many online fax providers (including eFax) offer a free fax number, and you can pay for any extra numbers you need.
If you already have a fax number and want to use it for online faxing, you can port your number to your online fax service provider.
Can You Fax From Your Web Browser?
You can fax from your web browser using email faxing, the eFax Portal or an online faxing tool hosted by another provider. You can access the eFax Portal from most web browsers.
eFax: Your Partner In Faxing
If you’re looking for faxing software, eFax Messenger is an excellent choice. eFax currently transmits over one billion faxes monthly for eleven million customers. eFax is trusted by top law firms, Fortune 500 companies and small businesses globally.