The past decade of electronics has drastically changed the process of moving documents from one place to another. In the early years of this millennium, faxing was still considered the best way to send someone a report, picture, or invoice. The evolution of email has changed that, but even now, some companies request that you fax them a document rather than scanning and emailing it. Yet, fax machines are an unnecessary paperweight if if only used once or twice a year.
Thankfully, HelloFax has mended the problem. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to send faxes effortlessly from your computer using this affordable Web-based tool.
Assess the Situation
Before you sell your expensive fax machine, consider whether or not HelloFax will suit your needs. Signing up for an account is free, but you only get five faxes total. If you want more, it will cost $9.99+ per month. The base price allows you to send and receive up to 300 faxes with additional ones costing $.05 each. However, you can save money if you want to pay on a per-use basis. After the initial five, each fax will cost $.99 with a free account.
HelloFax’s premium accounts are available with a 30-day trial and all of them include the ability to email a fax, receive faxes from other people, and send faxes to multiple recipients. If you see yourself making use of these features, the subscription may be worth it. To be safe, look into your records to see how often you send and receive faxes—that is, if you’re planning to fully convert from a physical fax machine. But if you're just in a pinch and need to send a fax from some random place, you can't beat HelloFax even if you have to pay for it.
Sending Faxes with HelloFax
Getting started with HelloFax takes a few minutes, an Internet connection, and someone to send a test fax, to try it out before using it for mission-critical documents. First, you’ll have to create a free account on the service’s website. The service has a Getting Started page, but aside from the first step it’s just a way of getting you to spread the word about the service. So, instead, of using that, I’m going to jump into faxing your first document.
Step 1: Upload the Document
Head to the Send a fax page, click the Upload Files button, and select the file you’ll be sending. HelloFax supports “a wide range of files including doc, docx, pdf, ppsx, ppt, pptx, tif, jpg, jpeg, png, xls, xlsx, txt, and gif files,” so you shouldn’t have any trouble uploading your document.
An alternative to uploading your file is to connect your Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Evernote, or SkyDrive account and add one that’s already in one of those. You can also drag and drop your document on the HelloFax page Send a fax page rather than using the file selection window.
Step 2: Edit & Sign
After you upload your document, you may want to sign it or add the date. HelloFax gives you the option to do this if you click the blue Edit & Sign button to the right of the file once it’s been uploaded. In the editor, you’ll find Signature, Initials, Check mark, Date, and Text buttons that will all assist you in adding the appropriate items to your document.
If you forgot to sign it prior to uploading it, the Signature button allows you to draw, type, or photograph your signature. Type in signature is not the best option for maintaining an authentic signature because it uses a generic cursive font to write out your name, but it works if you’re in a hurry. Draw in signature doesn’t really work that well, even if you use a tablet on your trackpad. The best option is to take a picture of your signature and use it. Just make sure there’s a good bit of contrast prior to uploading the image—no reason to correcting it if you don’t have to.
Just like with the signature, if you forgot to add the date to your document, you can easily remedy this by clicking the Date button in the Edit & Sign toolbar and click where on the document you’d like it to be displayed. The drop-down menu beside the Text button will allow you to change the font size.
Step 3: Add Recipients and Send It Off
Now that your document is all ready to be sent, add a fax number or email address to the field below Enter a fax number. HelloFax will present an additional checkbox at the bottom of the page titled “Send high resolution & color version of fax”. When this box is checked, HelloFax sends an additional page with a download link and code for the recipient to view a high resolution color image version of the document on their computer.
You can also add a cover page to your document by clicking the + Cover page button below the recipients. When you’re finished, click the Send it now button. HelloFax will present you with a success page and email you if the fax was successfully sent. The service also stores your faxes in the Documents panel, should you ever need to access them again in the future.
Going Further with HelloFax
Sending faxes with your computer is quick and easy with HelloFax, but there’s more to the service than just sending documents—you can receive them too. Unfortunately, you have to pay for this feature since it requires that HelloFax gives you a fax number. Prices start at $9.99, and with the upgraded service you also get email to fax (send an email to a custom address and have it faxed to someone without even using the website) and support for multiple recipients.
Now, you know the basics of faxing from any computer with HelloFax, a free, easy-to-use tool—one you can even use to receive faxes if needed. Next time you need to send or receive a fax, be sure to give it a try. It's a lot better than going out and buying fax machine just because your bank wants a faxed document.
If you have any trouble using HelloFax, or have other favorite faxing services and tools you prefer, let us know in the comments below!