7 Simple Steps To Use Windows Fax and Scan

Gone are the days of needing a physical fax machine to send documents. Windows Fax and Scan, a built-in application in the Windows operating system, turns your computer into a virtual fax machine, allowing you to send and receive faxes seamlessly.

It supports various document types, including Word documents, PDFs, images, spreadsheets, and more. This tool also enables admins to manage multiple fax machines or multifunction printers (MFPs) through one centralized program.

So if you’re ready to simplify the faxing process with a free and easy tool, let’s take a look at how to use Windows Fax and Scan in just seven simple steps.

Windows Fax and Scan Setup

The handy fax and scan tool has been part of the Windows family for quite some time, stretching its compatibility from Windows Vista right up to the latest Windows 11. Whether you’re new to digital faxing or a seasoned pro, enabling Windows Fax and Scan is straightforward.

First, let’s talk about what you need to get started. The Windows Fax and Scan software requires a fax modem. This little piece of hardware turns your computer into a fax machine. 

But before you start rummaging through your computer’s internal mechanisms, you’ll want to figure out if you already have one built-in to your computer or laptop.

Checking for a built-in fax modem

You can find out if you already have a built-in modem by checking your computer system, and the process is pretty simple:

Example of where to find the Start button on Windows computer.

1. Hit the Start button on your computer.

Device manager option on a Windows computer.

2. Type Device Manager into the search bar and press Enter.

3. In the Device Manager, look for a category named Modems. If it’s there, click on it to see what’s listed. If there isn’t a category for modems, it means you don’t have one built-in.

Setting up an external fax modem

If you find your computer doesn’t have an internal fax modem, there are still a couple of options available. You can easily find external fax modems, often as USB devices, or as a card that can be installed into your computer’s PCI slot. 

This won’t be a huge investment, as external modems can be found for under $20. 

If you’re going down the external modem route, here’s a quick guide:

  • Check the manufacturer manual: It’s always a good idea to glance through the manual that comes with the modem, especially to understand any specific installation instructions.
  • Purchase the modem: You can find USB or card fax modems online or at your local electronics store.
  • USB installation: Simply plug the modem into a USB port on your computer. If your modem comes with a driver CD, make sure to install the drivers.
  • Modem card installation: If you have a modem card, shut down your computer and install the card in an available PCI slot. Restart your computer, and you should be good to go.

Remember, meddling with your computer’s hardware can sometimes affect your warranty. So, if you’re not comfortable with the DIY approach, seeking professional assistance is a wise move. 

While it may cost a bit more to have someone install a modem card for you, it’s better than damaging your computer.

Setting up Windows Fax and Scan

To start faxing, you must first link a phone line to your computer via a fax modem and activate the Fax and Scan software. You can do this by connecting a landline to your computer, or by using one of the best VoIP phone services for a wireless and easy solution.

Once you have your line set up, follow these steps to make sure Windows Fax and Scan is ready to work with your fax modem and communication line:

Windows Fax and Scan App.

1. Begin by searching for Fax and Scan in the Windows search bar. Select the Windows Fax and Scan app that appears in the results.

Red arrow pointing to the tools menu in Windows Fax and Scan.

2. On your first visit to Windows Fax and Scan, you’ll need to set up your modem in order to send correspondences. To do this, navigate to the Tools menu in the Windows Fax and Scan application.

Windows Fax and Scan tools menu with red arrow pointing to Fax Accounts option.

3. Within the Tools menu, go to Fax Accounts.

Fax Accounts window with an arrow pointing to the add option.

4. In the Fax Accounts window, click on Add.

Fax setup window with a red box around the connect to a fax modem selection.

5. You’ll then see a Fax Setup dialog box, where you should choose to Connect to a fax modem. Select this option and your pre-installed modem should appear. 

Upon connecting your fax modem to your Windows 10 PC, the necessary drivers should be installed automatically. If they don’t, follow the instructions provided with your fax modem for proper installation.

Automatic vs. manual fax calls

After selecting your fax modem, complete the installation. You may be asked to choose how the phone line will answer calls—automatically or manually.

If you opt for Automatic, the fax application will automatically answer incoming calls and receive faxes. If you select Manual, you’ll need to manually select Receive a Fax Now in the Windows Fax and Scan app each time you wish to receive a fax.

7 Steps To Send a Fax With Windows Fax and Scan

Once your computer is equipped to send and receive faxes via Windows Fax and Scan, navigating the software becomes quite simple.

Here’s a walkthrough that makes it a breeze to send your first fax with Windows:

Step 1: Initiate a New Fax

Windows Fax and Scan with a red arrow pointing to New Fax selection.

To begin, open the Windows Fax and Scan software and select the New Fax option.

Step 2: Input the Recipient’s Fax Number

New Fax with a red arrow and box around the "To:" line.

In the New Fax window that appears, key in the fax number of your intended recipient in the ‘To’ field. You also have the option to click ‘To’ to open your address book and choose a recipient from there.

Step 3: Incorporate a cover page

New Fax window with a red box and arrow pointing to the Cover Page selection.

If you wish to include a cover page with your fax, this option is conveniently located just above the ‘To’ line in the fax form.

Step 4: Fill in the subject line

New Fax window with a red box and arrow pointing to the Subject line.

Next up, provide a subject for your fax. This field is situated above the main body of the message on the left side.

Step 5: Input your message

Red box around the main body of the message in the fax form.

Proceed to type in the information you want to fax in the main body of the fax form. 

A formatting toolbar at the top of the document area allows you to format text, introduce hyperlinks, or embed images in your fax document.

Step 6: Add additional documents or media

Insert menu option with various file options to attach to a new fax.

You can also add scanned documents or attach files by clicking the toolbar located at the top of the fax form. Select Insert to open a dropdown of items. 

Step 7: Click send

Red arrow point to the send button for a new fax.

When you are ready, click Send to dispatch your fax. This button is located in the upper right corner of the window.

How To Receive a Fax with Windows Fax and Scan

With Windows Fax and Scan, you have the flexibility to set up fax receiving either automatically or manually.

If you choose the automatic option, the software will automatically answer incoming calls and receive faxes without your intervention.

This is handy if you frequently receive faxes. However, if you wish to have more control over the reception of faxes or don’t receive them often, you can choose the manual option.

Let’s walk through how to use both options, starting with the manual approach:

How to manually receive a fax with Windows Fax and Scan

To manually receive faxes using the fax service when the phone rings, ensure that the Windows Fax and Scan application is open.

Windows Fax and Scan App selection from device manager menu.

1. Launch Windows Fax and Scan.

Red arrow pointing to the fax selection in Windows Fax and Scan.

2. Click on the Fax option located in the lower left panel.

Red arrow pointing to the tools menu in Windows Fax and Scan.

3. Now navigate to the Tools menu in the upper-left-hand corner of the application.

Tools menu in Windows Fax and Scan with red arrow pointing to Receive a Fax Now option.

4. From the toolbar, choose Receive a Fax Now. This enables your computer to accept incoming faxes when the phone line rings.

How to automatically receive a fax with Windows Fax and Scan

If you want to set up the automatic reception of faxes, follow these steps:

Tools menu with a red arrow pointing to the Fax Settings option in Windows Fax and Scan.

1. Go to Tools, then choose Fax Settings.

2. In the General tab, verify that the Allow device to receive fax calls option is selected under Send / Receive Options.

3. Then find Automatically Answer after _ Rings, and input the desired number of rings before the fax service responds, and then click Ok.

This will automatically enable your computer to receive incoming faxes without any manual intervention.

As you can see, Windows Fax and Scan offers a user-friendly way to send and receive faxes using your computer. With these simple steps, you can easily set up the software for effective fax communication.

Make sure to take the time to test and familiarize yourself with the software to ensure smooth and efficient faxing in the future. 

Additionally, you can explore other features of Windows Fax and Scan, such as creating a contact list or custom cover pages, to further enhance your faxing experience.

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