Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

How to Send a Fax From Your PC

Yes, faxes are still a thing.

Sending a fax is less and less common, but as it turns out, it's also very easy.
The image should feature a modern computer or laptop with the screen showing the FaxZero interface, symbolizing online fax services. Include elements like a scanned document and a smartphone, representing ways to digitize paper documents for faxing. The background should be tech-oriented, with subtle fax-related symbols, making the image informative and visually appealing for viewers interested in fax solutions without additional hardware.
(Image: DALL-E 3)
Question: I have Windows. Would I be able to send and receive faxes, and if so how do I do it? Would I need new hardware?

I find myself dealing with this on an occasional basis. There are some industries — mainly healthcare and legal — that still use faxes as a primary means of doing business. Seems like old, outdated technology to me, but apparently, I’m not going to change some entrenched institution’s mind.

You don’t need new hardware. In fact, you don’t need a Windows PC — any computer and web browser will do.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!


Sending a FAX from your PC

An online service such as FaxZero will send faxes from your PC without a fax machine. It’s free but includes branding on the cover page; a small fee allows customization. It requires only a web browser and an internet connection. For paper documents, scanning or smartphone apps create images for faxing.


I’ve long since dumped any concept of an actual fax machine — truly old and outdated technology these days — and have switched entirely to online services.

To send a fax, I use FAXZero. As the “Zero” implies, you can even send your faxes for free. The fax’s cover page includes some FAXZero branding and advertising; for a very small charge, you can remove that and use your own cover page or use no cover page at all.

The beauty is that all you need is a web browser and internet connection. Just visit the FAXZero website and upload your document to send.

As simple as that.

Dealing with paper

That, of course, implies you have your document in digital form. Nowadays, that’s typically the case. You can upload your saved document directly, or save it as a PDF and upload that, and you’re good to go.

But what if you only have a paper document?

There are two solutions these days, and I’ve used both.

Scanner: As you might expect, being as paper-free as I can be, I have a scanner1 that comes in quite handy for this purpose. Simply scan the document, save it as a PDF, and you’re good to go.

Smartphone: This is relatively new but amazingly convenient. Not only are most smartphone cameras of sufficient quality, but there are a number of apps that not only take the photo, but identify the document, trim the edges, and correct the distortion resulting from not taking the photo at exactly the right angle. Some will also let you save multi-image/multi-page documents in PDF form for easy upload.

Depending on the capabilities of your scanner or smartphone, you may need to assemble several individual images into a single document to be faxed. I find it most convenient to do this in a word processor like Microsoft Word. Just paste the images in, make sure they’re sized to take up as much of the page as possible (with minimal margins), and save to PDF.

A word about signatures

The single biggest reason we might need to fall back to actual paper is if the recipient insists on a physical signature. Some will allow you to just type your name; some will not.

Some won’t notice if you have an image of your signature that you copy/paste into the document.2

Some, however, will insist on the real, old-fashioned thing. So, we dutifully print the document, sign it, and then scan the result back in. Seems wasteful, but it is what it is.

A word about receiving a fax

While there are services out there that will assign you a phone number on which you can receive a fax, that’s outside the scope of this article.

As average computer users, we’re better served by asking the sender to send a PDF or other document via email. If a sender is incapable of doing something other than sending an actual fax in this day and age, I’d seriously question their technical chops.

Do this

If you must send a fax (I’d explore other options first), then a service like FAXZero is the way to go. There’s just no need for you to invest in additional hardware or additional confusing software.

I don’t send this newsletter via fax, so subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

Podcast audio


Footnotes & References

1: Full disclosure: I have three: sheet-feed, flatbed, and slide/film.

2: Ask me how I know. Smile

12 comments on “How to Send a Fax From Your PC”

  1. I’ve been using Fax Zero for over 10 years, mostly related to issues with my wife’s health and health insurance.

    I think the reason these places like fax is more protection against viruses.

  2. I have an all-in-one printer/scanner/fax device, although I’ve never used its fax capabilities. On the few occasions when I needed to send/receive a fax, I’ve used Fax-ZERO (as does Leo). It’s faster and easier than setting up my all-in-one’s fax functionality, and I don’t use fax communication often enough to justify the cost of having a separate fax number (which would be needed for my all-in-one).

    Ernie (Oldster)

  3. My concern about using any services online, especially fax services is they have access to our intimate personal (hippa) information. No gurantee they won’t spy on it and sell it or who knows what else.

  4. I keep an old laptop with a built-in RJ-45 telephone jack that I just plug into any landline jack when required. Older versions of Windows used to have a PRINT TO FAX option

  5. Go on Leo, tell us how you know some won’t notice if you have an image of your signature that you copy/paste into the document?

  6. Very useful information, Leo Notenboom. I would suggest adding as an alternative to FaxZero. GotFreeFax allows users to send free faxes online and is more mobile-friendly. Additionally, it does not add branding to your fax cover page. You can also receive faxes with its free shared fax number.


Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.