fax Barbara writes:

I’m running Win XP Professional with Office 2007, Windows Live Mail (version 2009, seems that’s the most current one) along with IE8. I have Cablevision as my provider for Internet/TV/phone services. Is there an open source (I take it that means "free", right?) fax program that’s easily installed/used with Cablevision’s service? I asked them about this but have yet to receive a reply. I don’t fax regularly but it would be nicer/easier if I could do this myself vs using a fax elsewhere in my building. Thank you for your kind attention to this inquiry. I’ve Googled this but got nothing helpful except a link to Cablevision which, so far, has resulted in nothing as well.

Faxing is not something which is provider-specific, meaning you can use it with any phone or internet service as long as you have the proper equipment.

If using a phone line, you need a fax machine or multi-function printer that has a phone jack and scan/print/fax capability.

If using the internet for faxing, technically all you need is your computer and an internet connection, although having a flatbed scanner is required if you want to send faxes that require scanning first.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that the computer/scanner method is the easier of the two. Not only is it cheaper but quicker and more reliable.

There are several internet resources that will allow you to send faxes for free. Here’s a few of them:

A whole bunch more are listed here, so you have plenty of choices.

In basic terms, all you do is use your flatbed scanner to scan in what you want to fax out, save the file, then use that file on one of the freebie faxing sites to deliver it to whatever number it needs to get to.

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Whatever flatbed scanner you have will come bundled with the scanning software you need to get the file you want to fax out.

If the computer/scanner method sounds too complicated, most people who have digital phone service have unlimited nationwide long distance in the USA. As such, you can buy a cheap fax machine and just plug that right in to your existing phone line whenever you need to send out a fax. Being it’s unlikely you’ll require the need to receive faxes and only want sending capability, the cheap-o fax machine fits the bill here just fine.