How can I receive a one-time fax if I have no fax machine?
July 5, 2006 6:43 AM   Subscribe

How can I receive a one-time fax if I have no fax machine (and don't want to ask the guy "could you scan it and email it")?

I need to be able to receive a one-time fax from someone, but I have no fax machine.

This is a very busy person who is doing me a huge favor; I would rather adjust things on my side to receive a fax than burden him by asking him to try to find a scanner or some other accomodation for me.

Are there any online services that I could use? Or any services through MailBoxes Etc, FedExKinko's, etc. (one-time service preferred)? Or other ways that I don't know about?
posted by cadge to Technology (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
eFax! They make you download their proprietary software to view the faxes, and they'll send you the occasional spam email (all clearly labelled as coming from eFax, and supposedly they stop when you cancel your account), but they're free. Can't beat free.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 6:46 AM on July 5, 2006

You could sign up for the 30-day free trial, and receive the fax as a .pdf.
posted by Gator at 6:47 AM on July 5, 2006

Oh no! I just looked at their site. I think they left the whole free fax number thing back in the dot bomb era...Sorry.

If you like, you can have them send it to my efax number, and I can forward it. Email me.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 6:48 AM on July 5, 2006

Do you know (or are) someone working at a smaller workplace?

If the workplace is small enough (or they have a private fax machine) they most likely won't mind you faxing their fax machine with it. Unless the boss is ridiculously stingy...
posted by shepd at 6:49 AM on July 5, 2006

Some UPS Stores and Kinko's offer faxing around to see if any place near you offers a service to receive faxes.
posted by tastybrains at 6:58 AM on July 5, 2006

There's a company called jFax that's similar to eFax that does free incoming fax-to-email services. You don't get to choose the area code or send faxes unless you pay, but it's worked for me so far.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 7:00 AM on July 5, 2006

I've received faxes at several Kinkos around the country. Just check with the nearest one - should be fine. Costs about $1, I think, to receive a fax.
posted by Amizu at 7:17 AM on July 5, 2006

I second jFax, which you can sign up for free with here. My number is in Idaho or something, but the faxes are sent to your email.

Here's another helpful tip -- the JFX files you receive are actually just ordinary TIFs! When you download them, rename the extension to TIF and you will have a typical multi-page TIF file. You don't need to download their ad-ridden software at all.
posted by cacophony at 7:18 AM on July 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

Do you have a cellphone? Can it connect to your computer via cable or bluetooth?
posted by zerokey at 7:19 AM on July 5, 2006

I third JFax. I have a "fax" number with them that I use several times a year to get faxes sent to my email. Never had a problem.
posted by anastasiav at 8:08 AM on July 5, 2006

Most corner stores have a fax machine for their own use or customers (maybe not the chain stores so much). If you go by and ask them, they'll usually let you have one sent to them for a buck or so. I've sent many faxes to people this way.
posted by dripdripdrop at 8:10 AM on July 5, 2006

Public libraries often have fax machines for public use.
posted by box at 8:39 AM on July 5, 2006

I've used's free fax service.
posted by Good Brain at 8:47 AM on July 5, 2006

if you have a regular modem in your computer, you can have them fax it directly to your computer. just start up the ms fax service that comes with xp.
posted by lester at 8:54 AM on July 5, 2006

Be wary of eFax - it is pretty easy to get a free trial, but a pain in the patootie to cancel it. (I'm talking endless haggling with live support on their website.)
posted by thejoshu at 10:10 AM on July 5, 2006

Loads and loads of grocery and one-stop-shopping stores have fax-for-fee service. Both the local Fred Meyer and Winco Foods here in my community south of Seattle have fax machines for customer use at their customer service desks. And FedEx Kinko's has, as well. You will probably need to talk to them to arrange for incoming fax, I don't know how that works. Charges are $1 - $1.25 a page. Look around...these services aren't usually widely publicized, but if you hunt up the customer service desk they'll often have a sign.
posted by lhauser at 11:18 AM on July 5, 2006

Most places with rental mail boxes (like Mailboxes Etc/UPS Stores) will also send and receive faxes for a fee. At least one of the grocery store chains in my area will also.
posted by redheadeb at 11:19 AM on July 5, 2006

Cacaphony: I didn't know that about the tiff thing. You are my hero for the day.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 8:10 PM on July 5, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for your advice, everyone! I'll check the commercial locations around here first - FedEx Kinko's, etc. - and then follow up on the online services if the local shops don't work out (@kingjoeshmoe, thanks for the offer - I might give you a holler on that if neither of those work out!).
posted by cadge at 8:14 PM on July 5, 2006

err...efax *does* have a free service still. check their web site. and yeah, you'll get spam from them. it's not too bad. and you *don't* have to download their software to view the faxes. you can do it from their web site. i don't think it's documented. basically when you're in your in-box, instead of clicking the "download" button, click on the file name of the fax, and you'll see the fax.
posted by edjusted at 9:13 PM on July 9, 2006

Response by poster: I just called my local FedExKinko's and they _do_ offer this service. NICE! Thanks everyone!
posted by cadge at 2:34 PM on July 10, 2006

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