A Step Closer to Killing the Fax Machine

Even in 2011, I receive a surprisingly large number of documents that require me to print them, sign them, and fax them back to the sender. Ironically, most of these documents are sent to me as PDF attachments to e-mails.

We’ve banned physical fax machines at Clio, and instead use RingCentral for sending an receiving faxes. My workflow below helps me avoid having to print and scan documents that require completion and signing:

  1. Download the PDF document
  2. Open in Adobe Acrobat Professional
  3. Use the “typewriter” tool to complete form fields
  4. Open a separate PDF file where I’ve signed my name using the “pencil” tool
  5. Copy and paste my signature onto the document
  6. Save the completed document
  7. Upload and fax the document via RingCentral

This beats having to deal with scanners and printers, but it’s a laborious process.
HelloFax is a new service that helps make the dream of a paperless office a reality. Completing a form with HelloFax requires only a few steps:

  1. Upload your document to HelloFax
  2. Fill out fields and insert your signature using HelloFax’s web interface
  3. Enter fax number or e-mail address, click “send”

HelloFax helps take a huge amount of the pain out of completing PDF-based forms, and has thankfully helped move these “dumb” documents into the 21st century.


  1. Jack,

    Have you tried PDFPen (Pro and not)? I ask because I only own Adobe and agree it’s a laborious process. I’ve heard PDF Pen is easier, but I can’t get the workflow right there either (I’ve downloaded the free trial).

    I hate faxes and we’ve been fax free for the last 3 years.


  2. Hi Jack- Joseph here, the cofounder of HelloFax. Just wanted to thank you for the article!

    The problem we’re trying to solve is that we shouldn’t need multiple pieces of hardware (printers, scanners, fax machines) and then software (adobe acrobat pro or others) to send documents. It’s really wasteful (think of all the paper) and it takes a lot of time. Really cool to see that the traditional flow takes 7 steps and ours takes 3. I never contrasted the flows like that before.

    Anyway, we have a lot of cool stuff in store, which we’re hoping will make people stop using paper in the office!

    Thanks again for writing.


  3. Hi Victor,

    I haven’t tried PDFPen – hadn’t heard of it either. Thanks for pointing it out, I’ll check it out.


  4. Hey Joseph, thanks for dropping by! Great on the product – keep up the great work.

  5. What indicates to the recipient of the virtual fax generated by either of the methods mentioned (the 7-step method or the 3-step method) that the signature was actually applied by or with the authority of the person purporting to sign it? Will that work if the sender later denies having signed it? Does something prevent the recipient from copying the signature out of the received document and applying it to something else? (I don’t claim that a traditional fax is much better for the latter purpose, but at least it’s in recognizable hand-writing for the purpose of showing that the purported signer did sign it.)