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How to: Sign and fax a document without a printer or fax machine

by Nigel Chiwaya on April 18, 2012

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It’s the most annoying situation in the world: a document arrives that you have to sign and fax back. The only problem is you don’t have a printer and the nearest fax machine is god knows where. What do you do? Well, if you’re tech-savvy, you can sign and fax that document without breaking a sweat. Here’s what you do:

Make it a PDF

The first thing you’re going to need to do is covert the document to PDF. If you’re on a Mac this is simple: just hit file > print. Once you get to the print screen look for the PDF button and select “save as PDF.”

If you’re on a Windows PC, you can convert files to PDF using CutePDF. After you install it you can covert files to PDF by selecting file > print and choosing CutePDF from the printer options.


There are a myriad options for signing  documents. If you’ve got an iPhone, iPad or Android device Adobe Reader (App Store | Play Store) lets you sign any document using the touchscreen. You can even resize and control the thickness of the signature.

If you’re on a Mac or PC Adobe Reader (link) will again do the trick, letting you draw your signature using the trackpad or upload an image of your signature that you might have saved elsewhere. If you’re on a mac and you want a picture-perfect version of your signature, the built-in Preview is the way to go, as it lets you scan your signature using your computer’s built-in camera.


Once you’ve got your document signed it’s time to send it off, and you can do it without using a fax machine. Here at TFA we’re pretty big fans of using Hellofax, a website that lets you upload and fax out documents. We’ve written about Hellofax before, but here are the basics: once you sign up for an account you can upload a document, sign it if you need to, and fax it off to any number. You’ll even get an email confirmation that the fax was sent out. If you’re a Dropbox user you can connect your account and have your incoming faxes stored in your Dropbox.

Hellofax is freemium; basic users start out with five free fax pages. After that it’s just 99 cents per fax. (Which is cheaper than what you’d pay at that deli fax machine down the street.)  There are monthly plans that increase the number of faxes you can send out per month and also give you your own personal fax number as well. (Of course if you’re the type that wants to get the most out of the free account as possible, you can get 5 extra fax pages for every friend you refer.)

Congratulations, you’ve officially signed and faxed a document without wasting any paper. Mother earth thanks you.

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