Difference Between Fax and Email

Fax vs Email

Difference between fax and email in the realm of communication can be termed as one that is similar to the difference between fixed line phones and mobile phones. While fax was the means to send documents from one place to another electronically using telephone lines, email is a method where the user types text on his computer screen and instantly sends it across using internet to any person anywhere in the world. While fax still continues to be used in business circles around the world, email is slowly and gradually taking its place because of its speed and convenience. This article attempts to highlight the differences between these two modes of communication, fax and email, rather than sending documents between places.

What is Fax ?

Though many prototypes of the modern fax machines were in use before 1960’s, the credit for making fax machines that were simpler and faster and, therefore, used widely across the world goes to Xerox Corporation. While fax remained the name of the machine that scanned an original document, it also was used as a verb to refer to the act of sending or transmitting this document that was reproduced at a faraway place by another fax machine. Thus, fax reproduces a document as it is digitally using telephone lines. It is not only text, but also images that are converted into digital form before being transmitted over telephone lines. Thus, faxing requires not only fax machines but also telephone lines.

Today, fax is being sent over the internet obliterating the need of fax machines. Called internet fax, the technique makes use of traditional email and attaches a document assigning it a special fax number to any other person who has an email account. This internet fax can also be sent directly to any fax machine.

fax machine

What is Email?

Email is the short form of electronic mail and is sent from one place to another using internet. This is a method to send and receive electronic messages just like traditional mail, but in a much faster, simpler, and more convenient manner. All one needs is an account on an email client and an internet connection to send and receive electronic messages to any other person anywhere in the world. With internet having become cheap and easily accessible everywhere, email has all but finished traditional mailing system. Today email is the preferred mode of sending and receiving mails whether it is personal or business world. Internet service providers give account numbers to their customer to avail this facility. Alternatively, one can make a free account on any of the popular websites such as Gmail, Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, and so on.

Difference Between Fax and Email

What is the difference between Email and Fax?

• Fax is the method of sending and receiving documents containing texts using telephone lines whereas email is a method of sending or receiving electronic messages over the internet.

• Fax makes use of fax machines and telephone lines, and it scans and transmits data to be received and converted at the receivers end to be reproduced as the original document

• Email is electronic mail where the user does not use a pen to write on paper but types on his computer monitor and does not need a stamp but just presses send button to transmit the mail.

• Today fax is being sent over the internet just like email obliterating the need of not only telephone lines but also fax machines.


Photos By: BrokenSphere (CC BY-SA 3.0), Titanas (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Email and Webmail
  2. Difference Between Email and Website