Admit it: As much as your business relies on email for communications with customers and business partners, you probably need to send or receive a fax document at least once a week, and that isn’t likely to change soon. Data from Research and Markets suggests that the fax service industry will reach $2 billion in 2016, a compound annual growth rate of 15.2 percent compared with 2011.
When you’re in the office, dealing with faxes is a pretty straightforward task, thanks to those multifunction all-in-one devices that handle printing, scanning, and sending and receiving faxes. Things get more complicated when you’re on the road with just your smartphone, but mobile applications are emerging to support your needs.
If you use a paid internet-fax service, such as eFax or MetroFax, consider downloading their new, free mobile companions for Apple iOS or Android. Both apps enable you to receive faxes or to create and send them, using your smartphone’s digital camera to capture an image and route it accordingly.
Even if you don’t have a fax service, you can grab other mobile applications that let you “scan” documents and send them electronically to either
an email address or to a traditional fax machine. Some even allow for annotations or electronic signatures.
Here are six apps to consider for your mobile fax needs.
- Breezy Print and Fax (Android, BlackBerry, iOS; free, credits required — starting at $1.99 for 10): This free utility for printing documents from your smartphone doubles as an outbound fax machine. You send faxes by selecting the Breezy menu option within a document on your mobile device and then entering a fax number. You’ll need to use credits to send your document; the app may also be finicky if you have other printer utilities installed.
- Fax Viewer (iOS; $1.99, plus in-app purchases): If you use an electronic fax service, this is a basic image-processing program that lets you view, via smartphone, the documents that arrive in your inbox. You can view multipage faxes page by page; by incorporating premium-priced in-app readers, you can convert an electronic fax from TIFF format into a document, print it, or store it on a file-sharing service like Dropbox.
- iFax (Android, iOS; free app, plus 99 cents to send up to five pages, $12.99 per month for incoming faxes): This mobile app can both send and receive faxes. The outbound portion uses documents you retrieve from a Dropbox cloud storage account or from iPhone Mail. You can also create a cover page, fill in forms, write notes, and send a multipage fax after signing it. Supported file types include PDF, Microsoft Office formats, and images.
- JotNot Fax (iOS; free app, plus 99 cents per fax): JotNot Fax is an outbound-only fax app that keeps it simple, allowing you to send PDF documents to fax numbers in the U.S. and Canada. The app requires you to use a cloud file-storage service such as Box.net, iDisk, or Dropbox to retrieve documents you want to send. You can use another application, JotNot Signature, to digitally sign your document. The developer also offers scanning applications and is working on Android versions of its software.
- MobileToolz Pro (iOS; $9.99, plus FaxPacks): This multifaceted utility allows you to print, fax, scan, view presentations, and a slew of other tasks. You can fax documents stored on cloud storage sites, but you have to import your document into MobileToolz first. You can also type directly into the application using a regular keyboard and a web browser.
- Scan, Print, Fax Pro (iOS; $2.99): One of several apps that lets you photograph or “scan” an image of a document using your smartphone’s digital camera and then fax it to any number using an internet fax service. The application price includes a minimum one-year subscription to Interfax. You have to pay a “few cents per page” when you send faxes.
Which mobile fax apps do you use that other small-business owners may find helpful? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the Comments field below.