How to Retrieve Previously Received Faxes

By Robin Reichert

Updated September 26, 2017

Most fax machines have a back-up feature to retrieve faxes.
i fax image by Attila Toro from

Almost every fax machine has a memory storage system. The machine usually stores a fax in memory if a problem occurs printing the fax transmission or if the machine encounters an error when it receives a fax. Common errors that send faxes to internal memory storage are low or no ink, a paper jam or an empty paper tray. You can set some printers to store faxes in memory for printing at a later time. Most fax machine memory is “read-only memory,” which means faxes stored in memory will be lost if an interruption occurs in the power source.

Load paper into the paper receptacle of your fax machine. Make sure that the paper is clean and without any bent edges. Load enough paper to print the faxes in memory, but do not overload the paper tray. An overloaded paper tray can cause paper jams.

Press “Setup” on the control panel of your fax machine. Most fax machines will have an LED display panel on the front of the machine. The panel will usually include on screen prompts and help options. Some fax machines signal the user if they have faxes stored in memory and prompt the user to “print faxes” or “clear memory,” but you need to make sure that you don’t accidentally clear the memory or you will lose all saved faxes.

Use the arrow keys or number pad as directed by screen prompts to select “Fax Setup Menu” and then press the “OK” or “Start” key.

Enter the security code, PIN, or user authorization code if required. The security code or PIN protects sensitive information and prevents unauthorized use of the fax machine memory.

Navigate to “Receive” or “Print Faxes in Memory” and then press the “OK” or “Start” key as directed by the on-screen prompt. The fax stored in the machine’s memory should begin to print.

Repeat the above steps for each fax in memory if necessary.

Items you will need

  • Fax machine

  • Fax machine user’s manual

  • Paper loaded in fax


Make sure the fax machine has paper at all times.

Refer to your fax machine user’s manual for detailed instructions if necessary.


All faxes stored in memory will be lost if you turn off the fax machine.