Ten dreaded words: “Just sign this form and fax it over to me.” This is 2012—going on 2013. Faxing is so 1998, and a little bit like loaning someone a movie on a Betamax cassette tape. Increasingly, businesses and people don't even have traditional landline phones to connect a fax machine to.
Still, the concept of signing and returning documents is still going strong, and eFax brings faxing into this century by enabling you to receive and send “fax” documents directly from your PC. With Office 2013 on the immediate horizon, eFax is ready with the first online fax app that integrates with the Microsoft productivity suite.
I maintain that faxing is not any different than signing a document, scanning it, and emailing it to its destination. In theory, that’s all the fax machine is doing anyway. For some reason, though, certain industries--finance and investments in particular--still rely on the antiquated technology, and occasionally I run into a company that will only accept an actual fax that arrives on an actual fax machine.
The eFax service itself is cloud-based. With an eFax subscription you can send and receive faxes via email or the Web from smartphones, tablets, or virtually any Internet-connected device. The eFax app, however, integrates the service directly into Word 2013 so it appears as an option in the task pane on the right side of the display.
eFax has a Youtube video that demonstrates some of the features and capabilities of faxing directly from Word.
eFax is not a cheap service, though, so it may not be cost-effective for businesses or individuals that only deal with occasional faxes. The entry-level eFax Plus service costs $10 to set up and $16.95 per month. If you pay for the full year up front you get 12 months for the price of 10, so it works out to only $14.13 per month. That subscription is only good for 150 sent pages and 150 received pages, though, and anything beyong that is an extra 10 cents per page.
For a business that sends and receives a lot of faxes, eFax is a great tool that can eliminate the unnecessary use of paper, and enable users to manage faxes from virtually anywhere. But, for someone just trying to take care of paperwork to apply for a home mortgage, it probably makes more sense to go to a FedEx Office store or some similar business that offers a faxing service.
The eFax app can be downloaded from the Microsoft Office store. It can be used with an existing eFax subscription, or its available as a 30-day free trial.