Technology’s nonstop progress is absolutely astounding. While major leaps have been made in medicine, aeronautics, farming and the sciences over the past several decades, it really has been all of the developments in communication that have most directly affected our daily lives. Computers have become faster and much more integrated with global internet services. But these days, the smartphones that most Americans carry in their pockets are literally just as powerful as the laptop computer sitting at home. Most modern smartphones begin their capabilities with calling and texting, but there is always much much more. Locate yourself anywhere in the world and find the fastest way between two points with GPS services, throw on a set of headphones and enjoy streaming or downloaded movies, television shows and music, and open up an app that can perform nearly any computing task. One of the best things most smartphones can now do with ease is send and receive a fax. Here is how to go about it.

Traditional fax machines are swiftly becoming a thing of the past. Most offices that continue to fax use a combination printer/scanner/fax machine, as faxing alone is not enough of a reason to buy a piece of hardware these days. But there are some times when a fax is the only thing that will do. This is often the case if you need to submit a document that needs a physical signature, instead of simply an e-signature. And since most faxes are time sensitive, you cannot always wait until you are back at a desktop computer and fax machine to do the job. So before the situation even comes up, head to your phone’s app store and see what sort of faxing applications are available. You should find several options for Android or iOS devices. If you find one that is sufficient, download it and follow the prompts.

If you cannot find a workable app, hop online and do a quick search for ’email to fax’ services. The goal here is to be able to fax with your smartphone, as long as you have an email server. But basically everyone who has a smartphone uses email as well, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Shop around to find the service that fits your needs most closely. They could cost as much as $15 a month, which will obviously only be worth it if you fax from your smartphone frequently. If you’re not in that position, most of these services offer a free month to try it out. So sign up for that free trial, use it for your faxing and then cancel the service before you are charged.

Even though each service is different, they will essentially work the same way. You’ll open up the application, which should connect in to your smartphone’s camera. You’ll use that to take a picture of the document you need to fax. Remember to sign it before you take the picture, if a signature is necessary. Once you’ve taken a picture that is sufficiently steady and clear, you’ll save the file as a .jpeg. Just make sure you save it somewhere that makes sense, so you can find it later.

Now head into your email server and create a new email. The address will be the number of the fax machine you are dialing, followed by the “@” sign and then the address the fax service gives you. You might also be able to find some free efax services that will provide you with that address without the monthly charge. In either case, simply attach the .jpeg to the email, hit “Send”, and it will come through as a fax to your destination.