Knowing a few tips for sending a fax will go a long way in making you look more professional. Faxing is impersonal and business-oriented. Don’t use it as a substitute for email.
When to Send a Fax or a Letter
Send a fax when:
- You need to send a document overseas
- Someone is difficult to reach on phone or email
- Speed is important
- Appearance of the document is not as important as the content
Sending a fax is little different than writing a letter, but it should be more to the point and contain little emotion. Keep it professional!
Some Tips for Sending a Professional Fax
- Don’t hand write letters (aside from a signature). Type them, print, then fax.
- Never send confidential information such as social security numbers or credit card information over fax; the machine may be in a communal area.
- Use a slightly larger font than normal; data loss may cause a loss in quality. Choose at least a 12-point font for best results.
- Don’t use gaudy letterhead or oversized images, your recipient will not appreciate you wasting all of their ink for fun!
- To avoid lost faxes, always use a simple cover sheet addressed to the recipient’s name — especially if you are faxing to an office where several people share one machine.
Emotion in Faxed Letters
Don’t do it! As a general guideline, do not fax thank you notes, apologies, or anything that you wish to come across as sincere or dear to the heart. Faxing is for business only.
Other Advice for Sending a Fax
- Keep faxes relatively brief. Remember: everything has to be printed on the other end expending ink and paper.
- Important graphics may come across distorted; keep this in mind when faxing blueprints or technical drawings where scale matters.
- If a document is important, mail the hard copy to the recipient after you send the fax so that they may have the original.
- You may want to photocopy faxed letters that have been printed from a fax machine. Thermal paper does not scan well and will create a fuzzy image on the other size.
- Pay attention to which direction paper should be fed into the machine. Sending a blank page or all-black page to someone looks incompetent and wastes ink!
To Fax Another Country
Although fax machines are artifacts from the 1980s, they are a tried-and-true solution that you sometimes have to use. Dialing from one country to another isn’t too difficult, but there are some caveats. You are going to need the following:
- The international dialing prefix of the country you are in.
- The country code of the country you are faxing.
- The area code and number of the target fax machine.
Sending a Fax Online Instead
You can go paperless and get your fax sent almost instantaneously!
Sending your fax this way is inexpensive and probably cost less than the single long-distance, international phone call. You’ve literally got nothing to lose by giving it a try.
You can also use an online service to send or receive your documents internationally. A fax can be sent as a one-time document using either a website or smartphone app. Ifax is a leading provider for this service:
If you’re a location-independent professional who does business online, you may want to consider a monthly subscription. You’ll be given a traditional phone number that you can share as your fax number, but documents sent to it appear on your phone and in email instead. The other parties won’t even know you don’t have a real fax machine unless you tell them!
Although many small businesses still use traditional fax machines, the benefits of going paperless with online faxing are many:
- You can eliminate the monthly expense for a dedicated phone line.
- You will no longer have to buy paper or toner/ink cartridges.
- No more maintenance or repairs of aging hardware.
- Most online fax services offer a 30-day free trial and cost less than $10 per month. Some will allow you to send the first fax for free.
Be Location Independent
- Incoming faxes will arrive in your regular email inbox and your smartphone.
- You won’t have to be at the office to send or receive important documents.
- You can send international faxes using your email or smartphone.
- Documents arrive quicker over the internet than they do over a phone connection.
- Important documents can be backed up and shared with others quickly.
- Junk faxes and SPAM can be deleted with a click; no paper or ink get wasted.
- No need to file paperwork. Hard copies can be printed only as needed.
- Electronic documents are easier to read than printed versions — especially prints and schematics.
- It is very easy to resend documents that were lost or not received on the other end.
For exact dialing instructions, choose a country to fax.