For years, documents have been sent by special curriers, by employees traveling across the country, or through the U.S. Post Office. With the information boom of the 90’s, how important documents, financial statements to family newsletters, are sent has mirrored the developmental curve of online technology.
At one point, sending a paper facsimile through the phone lines seemed like a futuristic way of combining elements across space and time. Now with the Internet and a proliferation of computers, paperless fax options are making what was once cutting edge, seem like a quaint old-fashioned way of conducting business.
Online Fax Services
old fax machine (Photo credit: mod as hell)
Online fax services provide you with an inexpensive, easy way, to electronically send and receive documents. Without any extra hardware or additional phone lines, you will be able to send an online fax almost immediately. Whether you use an online form, or wish to send an email as a fax, an online service will transmit your documents through phone lines. They will also wait through busy signals and other interruptions, until it successfully sends the document. When a fax comes in, the service will forward the document to you in the form of a graphic file, which you can read, store or print accordingly. Sending an online fax is easier with an online fax service, because of the mentioned reasons.
Most services charge a nominal fee, between $5 to $20 a month, depending on the amount of faxes you will need to send and receive. But the fee includes a dedicated fax number. Some online fax services integrate with programs you use in the office, which triggers the operation of popular business programs like MS Word, Excel or PowerPoint. These services quite often keep copies of the faxes online for your perusal up to a year. It gives you the option to review them from any computer, with an Internet connection.
An additional convenience is that, most current landlines employed as fax lines can be transferred to your online fax service. It lets you continue to use the fax number associated with your business, though generally there is a fee involved for this service. Even in those instances where you are unable to have your fax line transferred to the online fax service, you can forward the number to the fax service. This unique service automatically redirects all your messages to your online fax service.
Finally, documents you receive electronically through this service come as either Tagged Image File Format files, or as Adobe PDF files, both of which can be stored and printed as necessary.
The option to send and receive documents electronically may also be already available in your computer’s hardware. What this means is that a “desktop fax client”, software you can put on your computer, will turn your desktop into a fax machine using your modem. To know if this option is available to you, it is necessary to check your operating system and ensure that your modem allows it.