Tech Tip: Using to fax for free

Posted By on November 11, 2008

scanr logoWhile stuck on the phone for part of the weekend trying to revive an email server for a client, a friend who was helping me asked if I still subscribed to EFAX or JFAX in order to receive and send faxes from my computer. My answer was ‘no’ since it was hard to justify another monthly subscription (now $16.95 (USD) a month) considering I have a fax machine at the office and one at home … AND because there are a other free options that can fill in the gaps. “Tell me how you do it,” he inquired. So here’s what I do, although if a reader has a better solution let me know.

faxesI parted ways with my $72/yr “pay for” EFAX number a few years back, which offered a dedicated number for both receiving and sending faxes with an Internet connected computer. I struggled to find a quick and free way to send faxes after give up this “plus service,” but I continued to keep both my free EFAX account and JFAX/J2 numbers accounts (for receiving faxes to a computer only — no sending.) I currently use a private 800 number on one of the JFAX accounts that permits both Internet based voicemail and receiving faxes on the same line, a nice feature that delivers both VM and Faxes to my email box. The advantage is to have a single number that I can publish and control which is easily switched if my EFAX/JFAX number is changed — but suffers from a per minute charge to my company’s 800 services. (also I’ve heard MyFax is less expensive but still not free — I haven’t used it)

So this works for receiving, but I can no longer use my account for sending a fax or document while away from my office.

Enter … a useful service by itself for things besides ‘free’ faxing — I posted back in June of 2007 on this company. Nevertheless, offers a way to turn images into a fax than can be sent free, although its a couple step procedure — but its free. (limited to about 100 faxes although I don’t send all that many)

confirmationHere’s a quick rundown on how to work with for faxing.

  1. Sign up for free account and confirm your email addresses that you intend to use.
  2. Use a digital camera or high quality cellphone to take photo of item to be faxed (magnifier or glasses on cellphone helps with this). Email the “in focus” photo to from the address you are registered with OR log onto the website and upload the photo. Scanr processes the image and converts it into a file that can be faxed from their site. I have found that cellphone docs are many times rejected as “poor” images, so you may have to work out the ‘macro’ lens trick. Another option that I use when needing to fax documents already on the computer is to “print to PDF” then “Save as” a JPG image. The multiple page PDF document will then be “imaged” one page per JPG file. Go to the website and use the upload tool to send the multiple page document which will be processed into “fax-able” pages. (1100 x 800 pixel or larger size)
  3. FAX from Scanr.comAfter the images are processed (about a minute) an thumbnail of your first page will show up under the “my scans” link and when selected a larger version will be displayed. If it looks fine, select the “fax” tab and enter the fax number where you want to send the document. There is also an option to type in a short note.

If all goes well, the fax should arrive within seconds of sending. In several tests with my own fax machine, there has never been more than a 30 second lag and a confirmation email is also sent to the email address on file.

This option has also worked well if I need a hard copy of something while traveling … just send to the local fax machine in a clients office or hotel. Give it a try next time you need to send a fax.

screen shot

SHORT-CUT TIP: To send a fax using e-mail after you have registered,  just send photos of your document to and include the fax number in the subject or body of the message (+1 XXX XX-XXXX format works).


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  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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