How do I send a two-sided fax?

I tried to send a 2-sided fax by waiting until the sheet fed through once and then grabbing it really fast so I could feed it through again facing the other way. But the machine thought the fax was done transmitting and disconnected. There has to be an easier way to do this!

There sure is. To send a double-sided fax, you could find a machine equipped with a feature called “duplex faxing,” which allows it to scan two-sided originals and rearrange them in the proper order before transmitting them. Or, you can save yourself a few hundred bucks and become your own, personal duplex fax machine by first copying the reverse side of the page (either on a photocopier or using the fax machine’s “copy” function) and making a new, third page to send through the machine.

All kidding aside, a fax machine equipped with a duplex faxing feature will obviously use less paper, which means saving resources and saving money. And not only will such a machine send faxes that are printed on both sides, it can generally print received faxes on two sides as well. (Both are features you can turn off, if desired.)

A fax machine with duplex capability is a handy tool in any home office or small business, and essential in professional settings where records are commonly double-sided, such as medical offices. You should know, however, that because of the tight quarters through which the machine automatically feeds sheets to produce double-sided faxes, it may not readily accept all types and weights of paper—cardstock, for example.

Plug “duplex faxing” into a search engine to bring up dozens of models of fax machines that have this feature. Most high-end machines will, as do a fair amount of standalone fax machines and all-in-one units in the $550 to $650 range. Just a few examples of machines with duplex faxing capability include: Brother MFC8870DW, Canon-USA MF6580, Sharp AR-M280U Imager, Sharp UXB700E, Xerox FaxCentre 2218 and Ricoh 4410L. The pricer models have an automatic document feeder than can handle at least 50 sheets’ worth of documents to be faxed.

To send a double-sided fax, consult your user’s manual, or look for a button labeled “2-sided original,” or perhaps press a special features button and then “2>1-sided.” The recipient, by the way, still gets the fax in the usual manner: as two distinct pages. (That is, unless they’re in duplex fax mode as well.)

Do you have a question about faxing? Send me your fax question.