Despite technological advances in electronic communication, fax machines remain an important method of disseminating documents as of 2015. Fax cover sheets serve an important role in alerting recipients about who should get the fax, and what is in it.
Sender and Receiver
One of the primary functions of a fax cover sheet is to identify the sender and receiver of the document. While cover sheets are optional, a lack of basic contact information could lead to lost transmissions. If the intended recipient doesn't pick up the fax, the "Recipient" alert on the cover sheet helps the document get to the right person. In addition, a fax recipient who recognizes the name of the sender might address the document more quickly. Many companies have template-based fax cover sheets with their names and logos already printed on the page.
A typical fax cover sheet also has a section for the reason the fax is being sent, or comments on the document enclosure. This section is useful when a sender has concerns about whether someone will take the transmission seriously. If a business submits an unsolicited bid proposal, for instance, the cover sheet might state the benefit to the recipient of reading through the materials. Details on the documents might also remind the recipient that the faxed materials follow up a previous discussion or agreement.
Date and Page Numbers
The date of the transmission and the number of pages sent are also common elements on the cover sheet. Both are important for recordkeeping and accuracy. A date on a fax lets a sender substantiate that he met a particular deadline submission. The number of pages in the fax is very important to protect against incomplete transmissions. A cover sheet might state, "5 pages including cover sheet." This alerts the recipient that the transmission should contain five total pages. If any are missing, the recipient can alert the sender to the incomplete document.
A fax cover page is also used to convey privacy and security disclosures with certain documents. Government agencies, financial institutions and legal offices are among the organizations that might have confidentiality or privacy statements on a cover sheet. This statement alerts the recipient to the delicate nature of the enclosure and helps ensure accountability in safeguarding confidential documents. Faxes can also legally bind the recipient to contractual or regulatory requirements. Some companies use fax transmissions to send memo-like documents, and include just the cover sheet with a summary or brief message on the one page.