What Resolution Should My Fax Be?

I need to scan a document into my computer and then fax it. What resolution should it be?

Good thinking — you don’t want to send out a crummy-looking fax. To make sure the fax will reach the recipient at a decent resolution, you’ll first need to check two different settings. The first will be on the scanner. Consult your owner’s manual and make sure that the scanner’s resolution is set to 200 dots per inch (DPI), which is the resolution of the average fax. Once the document is scanned, you’ll need to specify the resolution for faxing it.

There are typically three settings for fax resolution. The standard type is 204 x 98 DPI, which is good for a basic typed document. If you have fine print or handwriting in the document, you might want to send it as a “fine” document, which has a DPI setting of 204 x 196. Finally, for detailed artwork or photographs, you can choose the “superfine” setting, which is 400 x 391 DPI.

If you have a fax machine, resolution is something you can change manually, depending on how you want to send or receive faxes. Be aware that the “fine” and “superfine” resolutions can take significantly longer to send and receive than the standard. (Which will cost more if you’re paying long-distance phone rates.) If you use an online faxing service, check its settings. Most of them convert faxes into a standard 200 DPI file before sending, but it doesn’t hurt to look.

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