How to Receive a Fax on a Multi-Function Printer

by Contributor

Your multi-function printer can receive faxes over the phone line and print them out with very little fuss. All you have to do is make sure the machine is plugged in, connected to the network, turned on and stocked with paper. Follow these steps to receive a fax on a multi-function printer:

Connect the multi-function printer to a phone line. Most printers with fax capability have more than one phone jack, so make sure you are plugged into the right one.

Turn the printer on and access the start-up menu. Pick an answering mode based on your expected usage of the fax capabilities of your machine (see the next steps for more information about this).

Put the printer in manual mode if you expect little fax traffic. The manual mode usually requires you to pick up every call that comes to the machine. If you hear the signal for a fax, you push the start button and hang up.

Choose the automatic mode if you expect a lot of faxes or have a dedicated fax line. In automatic mode, the printer listens to incoming calls and determines whether they are faxes or voice calls. Voice calls get sent on to your phone, and faxes are picked up by the printer.

Select the number of rings you want your multi-function printer to give you before dropping a call. If you are using the manual mode you may want to go with four or more rings. Two rings should be sufficient in the automatic mode.

Load paper into the paper tray. Check on the paper level frequently if you receive a lot of faxes.

Set the desired print quality, and you are ready to receive faxes.


  • check Some multi-function printers allow you to screen out unwanted faxes by working with the caller ID feature of your telephone-service provider.
  • check Another handy feature to have is fax paging, which dials up your pager number whenever you get a fax. Combine this with remote access and fax forwarding, and you can leave the office behind.
  • check Pay attention to the paper sizes allowed by your paper tray. Nothing is worse than returning from a weekend getaway and finding that your printer choked on a couple of faxes.


  • close Lightning strikes can travel through phone lines and damage your multi-function printer. Connect the printer's power cord to a surge protector and run the phone line through the protector as well.

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