Technology dictates the way one does business, and in this digital day and age, it's hard to imagine doing any kind of business without the use of a computer. Sending and Receiving fax messages via a computer can be done with ease, and there are several ways you can do this: by using one of the online fax services, by using a physically connected fax machine or a scanner/printer combo with appropriate faxing software which can turn your computer into a full fax replacement, without the need of any additional investment in faxing hardware. Table of contents: Online Fax Services Connected Printer/Scanner or Fax machines Windows Linux Apple Sending and Receiving Fax Messages Using an Online Fax Service This method of sending and receiving fax messages has gotten a lot of ground over the last few years, as it allows very easy cross-platform message sending and all you need is an internet access. Online Fax Services act in a very similar fashion to an e-mail folder that allows you to upload documents and send them as if you were sending them through a fax machine, and allows you to download any received fax messages digitally, without having to print them out at any point. You still can, as you usually get a PDF file you can do whatever you want with, but this way the received documents don't take up space and sending is as easy as clicking a few buttons. Ease of use and accessibility are two strongest points of online faxing services, as they can be combined with popular office programs like Microsoft Office Suite which everybody is familiar with, and you can get full access to your faxes from any device that has a web browser – online fax services are cross-platform compatible and can be used on PC's, android and iOS devices. Sending and Receiving Fax Messages using Connected Printer/Scanner or Fax machines Most modern fax machines can be controlled through a computer, allowing you to send and receive messages without having to move from the comfort of your chair. Alternatively, if you've got a printer and a scanner you can set up a Fax Software suite that allows for everything a regular fax machine does. Fax Machine While specific depend on the manufacturer (many high profile manufacturers use their own brand software to allow PC control over their fax machine), there are some pretty common basic elements that make setting up a home fax machine that's connected to a PC a breeze. Naturally, you will need a working computer (most brands support windows, some support Linux, if you want to use an UNIX based system with your fax machine, check if that particular model is supported on Linux before purchase), a fax machine and an active landline phone that you can connect to your fax machine. This method does not use Internet connection, if you want to send and receive fax messages without a landline, you should follow this guide. Be advised that VoIP lines will not work, as digital signals scramble fax signals – more on that here. Wireless fax machines do NOT allow for wireless fax receiving – you still need a landline connected, the wireless part of the whole setup is the communication between the PC and the fax machine. One more thing to keep in mind is that some models put the documents received on hold if they're received while the PC they're connected to is powered down. If a fax machine gets turned off as well, any faxes received while the PC is off may be lost (unless you're using some enterprise solution in the combination, which stores the sent/received fax on a server). Fax Software Fax Software allows you to connect your Fax Machine to your PC and manage all of the settings as well as sending and receiving of files without having to move from your comfortable chair. Fax machine still needs to be connected to a land line! Computer is only a remote control tool for a set up fax machine, it doesn't take over communication with other fax machines. Windows users have it easiest, but there are options for Linux users as well, while Mac users may have a harder time setting up a good PC to Fax connection. Sending and receiving fax from a Windows Computer Computers with Windows OS installed are the easiest ones to use with a fax machine. Modern Fax machines come with a CD installation containing all of the software needed. Of course, newer models may lack support for some of the older Windows systems (Windows XP, in particular, has stopped being supported by many manufacturers), but, generally speaking, you can easily set up Windows Vista, 8 and 10 with any fax machine and turn it into a full-fledged workstation capable of sending and receiving fax messages from your PC. Faxing from Linux Linux is encountering the standard problem of software compatibility. Brand name Fax Machines may come with Linux support, but they may not be supported either – always check before you purchase a machine for your Linux driven computer. There are open-source alternatives for setting up a printer/scanner combos to work as a fax machine, but these methods take a lot of time and effort. Overall, it's much easier to just use an online fax service operated through a web browser if you have to send or receive a fax message from a PC that is running Linux. Faxing from an Apple Computer During the boom of MacOS X popularity, there were plenty of fax machines that work with an Apple computer connected, but every major patch of iOS has chipped away at the number of the devices that were still compatible, which made manufacturers drop the support in the end. So, the best option for you, if you want to send or receive faxes from an Apple computer, would be using online fax services – you will not be able to access advanced faxing features offered by fax machines at any rates. Send fax messages with a computer with our #1 choice. Click here! Matt GerchowMatt Gerchow is an author, marketer, inventor, husband, father and yoga enthusiast. He enjoys travel to distant lands , fine wine, time with his family and dinner with friends.