E-faxing at Reed
In addition to analog faxing, Technology Infrastructure Services offers e-faxing (fax by email) at Reed for staff and faculty. The primary difference is the absence of a physical fax machine. Users only need a computer, their Reed email account, and internet connection to send and receive faxes.
Wow! Did you say no more fax machine?
Yes, your department can be rid of its fax machine. The e-faxing solution can be 100% paperless if you don't need to print and scan documents.
Is it reliable?
Traditional analog faxing has roughly a 5% failure rate; e-faxing has a slightly higher failure rate around 5-8% due to the additional steps necessary with a fax server. Both methods still make use of the public telephony network. The nature of this network and the nature of a fax transmission is such that sometimes failure occurs. Think back to the days of hearing "all circuits are busy" when you pick up a phone—that happens to fax transmissions as well.
Is it safe?
E-faxing is no less safe than faxing by an analog machine. Neither should be considered a 100% secure document transmission method. Fax transmissions are difficult to capture by a third party as they are spontaneously sent and travel through unspecific routes.
Any fax sent or received by a traditional fax machine can be intercepted at its destination, re-printed at the machine, and so on. When you send an e-fax, the sent fax will appear in your email account's Sent folder unless you delete it; likewise, receiving an e-fax means it appears in your email account's inbox. You can always delete these after sending/receiving.
If you would like to sidestep faxing altogether and send an encrypted file instead, see CUS' guide here on sending encrypted files by email.
What are the benefits of e-faxing?
Besides the joy of removing the office fax machine likely in place since 1985, e-faxing offers a convenient and paperless solution for frequent faxers. One can send and receive documents without needing to print and scan. E-faxes received are instantly ready to be imported into a document management system.
What can I attach?
You can attach PDFs, Word documents, and some image files. The e-fax server needs to rasterize and process whatever you send before it, in turn, sends the fax to its final destination. PDFs tend to look better post-processing. If you want to send a Word doc, it'd be best to convert the file into a PDF by following instructions here.
I fax nonstop, all day, everyday!
Excellent. 100 pages limit per fax sent, and while we're here — the larger your fax, the longer it will take to process and send. You can send e-faxes as often as you want.
Can I keep our analog fax machine and use an e-fax line?
Sure. They need to be different phone numbers, so if you prefer this route then you will likely get a new number for the e-fax line.
Forget the fax machine, I want to e-fax! But I want to keep the same number. Can I do that?
Yes! Your current fax number can be converted to an e-fax line, but it will mean giving up the fax machine.
I don't need to receive faxes, but I need to send them. Can I do that?
Absolutely, as long as you are staff or faculty at Reed with a valid Reed email address. You do not need an e-fax line attached to your account for receiving in order to send outbound e-faxes. Follow the directions below to send faxes by email.
Do other Reed offices use this?
About 20 and counting e-fax lines are currently set up at Reed.
Everyone/only specific people in my department/only I should receive faxes. What can we do?
There are three "receiving" solutions:
- An e-fax line can be tied to one user account, e.g., Jane receives all faxes for 503-XXX-XXXX
- An e-fax line can be shared among multiple accounts, e.g. Jane and John and Jose and Martha all receive faxes sent to 503-XXX-XXXX in each person's email account
- An e-fax line can be tied to a delegated account, e.g. ImportantOffice@reed.edu is a shared email address that all users in the Important Office department are able to log into, and faxes for 503-XXX-XXX are only sent to this account, not to each person's email account
That said, you cannot have more than one e-fax line attached to your account, though we can change and alter associations as needed.
How do I get an e-fax line set up and attached to my account for receiving inbound e-faxes?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and mention this page for a 50% discount, and we'll go from there.
How do I send an e-fax?
- Sign into your Reed Gmail account.
- Begin to compose an email as you normally would.
- In the "To:" field, type the destination fax like so #email@example.com regardless of whether the fax's destination is on or off-campus. For a long-distance number, you would type #1 before the rest of the number, same as you would for a phone call.
- Enter a subject if you want. If you type in the body of the email, this will show on the first page sent of the fax (the cover letter). Neither are required, you can simply skip to step 5 if need be.
- Attach any PDFs or documents you want to fax. Upload attachments directly from your computer, not using Gmail's "Insert files from Drive" link. Files attached to the fax will begin directly after the cover letter, on the second page of the fax.
- Press send, and away it goes.
How do I receive an e-fax?
Give out your fax number, e.g., 503-777-7777, and wait to receive faxes in your email inbox. There is no need to tell others it is an e-fax line.
My e-fax failed, help!
These are the most common reasons you will receive an error (fax failed) receipt.
- Has the number been typed correctly in the address field? Remember, the format is the same as you would dial a phone from on-campus, followed by @fax.reed.edu; e.g., #firstname.lastname@example.org or #email@example.com for long distance. Always begin with # and end with @fax.reed.edu!
- Are you sending from your Reed email address? Your fax will be rejected if you try to send from a non-Reed email account.
- Does the destination fax work? Not surprisingly, many other offices have abandoned their fax machine. Several times an outbound e-fax has "failed" only for us to call the destination and learn their fax machine is out of service.
- If network conditions are a perfect storm, your e-fax may fail to send. In this situation, patience and trying again later will be useful; or, you can try sending from an analog fax machine.
If all else fails, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll take a look at the failure codes.