Despite being considered a relic of the last century, faxing is still around and used by thousands of people on a daily basis to send and receive documents in a fast, reliable and safe way.
As a matter of fact, many users still rely on traditional fax machines, whether that be an analog machine or one that connects through to the internet.
However, there is one problem that all fax machines suffer from. Unlike email, which can be accessed from any computer and smart device, fax has to be physically fetched from the machine itself, requiring you to be near the hardware 24/7 for it to be effective – a situation that is, let’s face it, completely unrealistic. Thankfully, this can be easily averted by automatically forwarding the fax to an email address.
Setting up Fax Forwarding to Email
Before we go into more details about how fax forwarding to email works let’s make one thing perfectly clear: traditional fax machines simply cannot forward fax messages to email addresses. This means that in order to enjoy this special feature you will need either a business-grade IP fax machine – in other words a fax machine that connects to the internet – or a multifunction (all-in-one) printer with fax feature.
And if that’s not enough, the device has to also be configured in a similar fashion to a desktop email client like Microsoft Office Outlook, though it only requires the outgoing SMTP server information alongside the email address and password belonging to the relevant account.
However, once the equipment is set up – whether via the device’s control panel, the provided installation CD-ROM or a specific web interface where the fax machine’s settings can be accessed – and the recipient email address is saved to the device’s memory then it’s just a case of sitting back and enjoying the simplicity of having faxes automatically forwarded to your email address.
One thing all fax machines capable of forwarding to email addresses have in common is the ability to print out received faxes before forwarding them. Although this feature can be completely switched off – saving the expense spent on paper and ink cartridges – the option to have the fax machine print out the facsimile or store it in its memory is a great backup plan, whether the transmission was successful or not.
Speaking of transmission, there is a built-in safety feature in each of these devices. Should there be any problem during transmission, then the fax machine will automatically print the message out, preventing it from being lost for good.
Aside from this option, there is one other thing worth mentioning: forwarding rules. Unfortunately this is only available for selected devices – for instance, certain Canon multi-function fax machines – which is quite sad considering that it is actually a pretty clever feature that lets you forward faxes to different email addresses based on various criteria, such as the sender’s fax number.
Fax Forwarding With Online Faxing Services
The option to send all incoming faxes to your email address is a great way of never missing an important message, and thanks to online faxing services it isn’t required to possess a special IP faxing machine.
One of the biggest advantages of online faxing – aside from the automatic conversion of fax messages to PDF format – is that forwarding to email happens automatically, as the most basic requirement for having an online fax service account is a valid email address that can be associated with the virtual fax number. Putting aside this convenient feature, there is also the option to do everything manually by accessing the online faxing manager – the virtual interface through which faxes and sent and received – and then simply reading the messages there or forwarding them to your email address right away.
However, having a subscription with an online faxing service can go as far as to eliminate the need for email forwarding altogether, as most of these cloud solutions provide mobile applications for free, too. Not only can your faxes be accessed the same way as with the desktop account, but these apps are also capable of alerting you of incoming fax messages via push notifications.