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Faxing- Almost obsolete in 2016

There are a couple of ways to send and receive a fax. Many printers today are All In One that iclude Fax as an option. All you need is a phone line plugged into the printer. Using you computer, you can fax in one of two ways. In either case, you need a scanner to copy the paper into your computer.

Method 1. Use an on line fax service. Some offer a limited amount of free faxing. if you only do it occasionally, this is the way to go. Many offer a free fax number for receiving faxes if you do not want to use you own phone number.

Method 2. Using your own fax machine or All In One Printer. Connect your phone line to the device and follow the instructions to set it up. Positives: Easy to use. Negative: lots of wated paper from ads.

Method 3: Windows fax works the same as fax machine in your house. It accesses the local phone line and dials a number or answers the phone as requested. Positives: No wasted paper. You choose what to print if anything. Negatives: You must have a working modem installed. I actually had to go and buy one! You must then connect your phone line to the computer. If you are new to computing, you may not remember the old dial up days. Today (2016) you can get a USB modem that just plugs in. No need to open the case. These are available at places like Amazon & Walmart for under $20.

You cannot be using the phone line for other purposes when you try to fax as you will get a busy signal.

All this having been said, the best way to set up Windows to fax is to have a second line dedicated to faxing. You can use one line, but it creates extra problems just as trying to use a fax machine on one line at home if you have tried that. BTW, I refer here to using it at home, but it works at work too if you have access to a dedicated outside line. We have a small business that receives a lot of faxes. We have dedicated line just for the fax and we get a lot of advertising junk as well as a lot of Phishing (scanning for fax number to broadcast junk)

Also be assured you cannot get a virus from receiving a fax.

So lets cover how Windows fax works. After you have it set up as noted below this is what happens. You can set the program to answer automatically (best if you have a dedicated second line) or as noted below, you can set it to answer manually (best for one line).

If you set the options to send and receive, then when the phone rings, one of two things happens. For auto answer, the computer answers the phone and accepts the call. If you also DO NOT CHOOSE TO HAVE THE FAX PRINTED, it is stored in the computer for you to decide if you want to print it. This is where you save money printing all the junk faxes. We get a lot of them.

If you have selected manual answering, the phone rings in the computer and asks if you want to answer it. Obviously the computer must be on and you must be close enough to select "Answer".

That's why I like the dedicated second line. I leave my computer on all the time. It receives faxes 24/7 with no response on my part. When I check the machine in the morning, I review the faxes and delete the junk and do not waste paper printing them as a fax machine will do. And fax paper ain't cheap!

Now if you don't have the ability to have a second line, then you should do this: If you know a fax is being sent, just ask them to call twice. Call once to tell you a fax is coming and then let the computer answer it the second time. Many of you have done this with a fax machine. The one advantage of a real machine is many of them can distinguish between a voice call & a fax call. Unfortunately windows does not. Maybe some of the 3rd party programs can, but I don't know.

Now for sending faxes. Actually this a little easier with a dedicated machine. You just put the paper in and dial the number, hit send and walk away. Not quite so easy with Windows. There are 2 kinds of faxes. One you create in the computer (usually in Word) and the other is a paper you want to copy and send.

First the paper you create in the computer is easier. You select "Print" and on the printer selection drop list and select "Fax" as the printer. You may also see another fax choice if you have a multi-function printer installed. Use the one that says "Fax", not HP fax or Brother Fax, etc.

Selecting this option will open the fax wizard. You then have to enter the required information or select from the phone book if you are using Windows programs (Outlook, WAB). After you complete the wizard, it will open your phone line and listen for a dial tone. If it hears the tone, it will dial the number and if successfully connected, send the fax and hang up when done. If it does not complete successfully, it will try again in a few minutes and keep repeating until it succeeds. (It gives up after a while)

Now if you have a paper that you want to send, you must first get it in the computer. To do this, you need a scanner. Many of us have multi- function printers these days with built in scanners. Actually if you have one with fax capability, set it to send but not receive. Be sure you have a phone line plugged into the printer. If you have a scanner, but without fax ability, then scan the document into Windows. Then choose Print and in the print selection, choose Fax and proceed as above.

You may also select to scan the document into word and fax from there.

In Windows 7, 8 and 10 you have a program called Windows Fax and Scan. I use it for scanning but not for fax anymore. If you want to use it for faxing, Open the app (you may have to search for it). The click on New Fax and follow the wizard to set it up.


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