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Faxing is an out-dated mode of communication, but it still lingers around at some places for one reason or another. Until we can finally kill off this antiquated machine of the past, you might need to send a fax every once in a while but find yourself without a fax machine — try HelloFax.
We have covered HelloFax briefly in the past, and even took a look at 5 other online fax services, but things have changed in the years since then, and it’s time to take an in-depth look at the best free online faxing service there is.
You can use the HelloFax website, the Google Docs Add-on, or the Chrome app. They even have an app in the Google Apps Marketplace for businesses who want to deploy this service to all their employees.
For now, let’s focus on the website and Chrome app, which are identical enough to be treated as one entity. The first step is to create an account or sign in with Google — the latter option having some nuanced pros and cons for most of us. After that, the journey is relatively easy and straightforward. Upload your document from your computer or grab it from one of the integrated cloud services: Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Evernote, or OneDrive.
From there, you have the option to edit or sign the document. Editing it allows for placing checkboxes, adding text, or adding the date. It’s perfect for adding last touches of information before you send off the fax.
Signing is extremely easy and there are several different ways of doing it. You can draw it with your mouse (or finger or stylus if you have a touchscreen), type it in and use one of their fonts, upload an image file of your signature, or email a photo of your signature. It couldn’t be easier or more intuitive. This functionality comes from HelloSign, another product by HelloFax, which we’ll go over in a bit more detail later.
Once your document is all ready to go, simply type in the fax number. You’ll then be given the option to attach a brief cover page, which, for free users, will say “Sent via HelloFax” on it. They also provide the option of having a high resolution color version of your fax hosted temporarily online for 72 hours with the fax-receiver getting a specific URL and access code to get to it.
After that, click send, and you’re all done. You should get a confirmation email after sending, but this can be adjusted in the Notifications section of your HelloFax settings. HelloFax will also keep a record of all your drafts and sent faxes under the Documents tab on the left side.
If you do most of your work in Google Docs already and want to send some of it out as a fax, the new Google Docs add-on makes the process ridiculously easy.
Download the add-on first, then select it from the Add-ons menu at the top of the Google Doc you want to send and click Send Fax.
A sidebar should then pop up on the right side. Enter in the fax number, type out a short cover letter if you want, and click send. Without even having to leave your Google Doc, you’ve already sent it off as a fax.
How Much Does HelloFax Cost?
The free version of HelloFax allows you to send 5 fax pages per month. It then goes to a $9.99 per month Home Office plan with 300 faxes per month, a $19.99 Professional plan with 500 faxes per month, or a $39.99 Enterprise plan with 1,000 faxes per month.
All paid tiers include the ability to receive faxes, which is not available in the free version. The number of pages indicated includes both sending and receiving. They also offer discounts if you pay annually rather than monthly.
Is It Secure?
HelloFax also doesn’t play around when it comes to security. You can read their full policies on their website, but in brief, HelloFax uses SSL encryption to keep your data safe, and they don’t store any credit card information. All your faxed documents are protected behind AES – 256 bit encryption with a unique key that is also encrypted with a rotating master key.
All credit card information is passed on directly to Stripe, a verified and secure payment processing service, and your credit card information isn’t stored on HelloFax’s servers. Basically, they’ve got you covered.
While signing functionality is built in to HelloFax, they also have a separate service just for signing and emailing documents called HelloSign, which we’ve covered before but will go more in-depth here.
The interface is nearly identical to HelloFax except that you can only send to emails, not fax numbers, and it gives you the option to download the file before sending it. If you’re only concerned about signatures, and less so about faxing, HelloSign could work well for you.
You can also have other people sign documents for you through this service, but they’ll have to make an account for it. The free version allows for 3 documents a month, but a business version is available for $30 a month that allows for unlimited documents and has extra features.
The Perfect Fax Sender
Faxing should soon be going the way of the dodo, but until it does, HelloFax is the best way out there to send faxes online for free. HelloSign is just the icing on the cake, allowing you to sign them on your computer if necessary.
What do you think of HelloFax? Any other fax-sending services out there that you would recommend? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credit: Dave Crosby/Flickr