How to Use a Phone Line as a Fax Line

By Louise Balle

Nowadays, you can receive just about anything on the computer using the Internet. You can even send and receive a fax online. But there are still some cases where a physical fax machine will be helpful. For example, you may have a contract or form that needs to be signed with a handwritten signature and faxed over to the other party. Without a fax machine hooked up to a phone line you would have to print the forms, scan the signed paperwork into your computer, format each sheet and then fax everything using your online service, which takes a good amount of time. So a good old-fashioned fax machine is still useful in the modern day home office.

Things You'll Need

  • Fax machinePhone line with call waitingPhone line splitter3 phone cords (one short, two long)

Step 1

Add a distinctive ring number to your phone service. This is a new line (in addition to your regular phone line) that will now be your fax number. This is the number you should give out to other people who want to fax you. You will know a fax is coming in because of the strange ring (usually two quick rings rather than one long one).

Step 2

Fix the answer settings on your fax machine to accept all faxes when a call comes through your special phone line. Many modern fax machines have a DRPD setting (distinctive ring pattern) that allows you to train the fax machine to recognize the special ring with a test fax. Also set your fax machine to print a confirmation page after each successful or unsuccessful fax transmission.

Step 3

Connect one short phone cord into your phone outlet (line in) and then insert the other side into your phone splitter device. You may also be able to simply insert the splitter directly into the phone outlet in your wall. Insert the two longer phone cords into the other side of the splitter. Connect one cord into your phone and the other into the back of your fax machine.

Step 4

Test your phone line to make sure you get a dial tone. Then test your fax machine by inserting a page and faxing something to a friend. Dial in the phone number (remember to type "1" before the number) and press the start button. Listen in closely to make sure you hear a dial tone and numbers being dialed by the machine. Wait for your confirmation page (see step one) showing your fax as "sent." Ask your friend to send you a fax to make sure it works on both ends.