Faxes are key documents in many industries because they provide a legal facsimile of a signature. For example, they serve as legal documentation in the import-export industry, where parties are often located thousands of miles apart. A negative about faxes is that they can easily get lost or sent to the wrong place unless they provide specific instructions to recipients. This is where a fax cover sheet comes in. Fax cover sheets can range from handwritten instructions on a blank piece of paper to professionally designed forms complete with company logo, itemized spaces for names, phone numbers, check-boxes for basic details and a place to write instructions. Creating your own fax cover sheet for free is a simple process.
Free Sources of Fax Cover Sheets
Check your word processing software to see if it has free templates of fax cover sheets, which can be found by searching your computer for templates. For example, Microsoft Word provides templates (see Resources). The Microsoft templates, when opened, can be saved to your computer if you use Microsoft Word.
Make your own fax cover sheet using your word processing program and following a basic format.
Handwrite your own fax cover sheet if you don't have a computer handy. This gets the job done, but doesn't have the professional appeal of a digitally designed cover sheet.
Format of a Fax Cover Sheet
Put the word "Fax" or "Fax Transmission Cover Sheet" in large letters at the top of your sheet. This identifies it as the cover sheet, separate from the document you are sending.
Justify left the following headings in this order, skipping a line between each: "Date:", "From:", "Sender's Phone:" and "Return Fax Number:" These identify the source of the fax so it can easily be spotted if the recipient is waiting for it. They also contain the necessary contact information of the sender.
Skip two or three lines and continue with these headings: "To:", "Fax Number:" and "Phone Number:" Identifying the recipient ensures the fax makes it to the right destination. Putting the fax number of the recipient makes it easier to key the proper number into the fax machine without carrying along notes. Having the contact phone number of the recipient allows the sender to place a quick call to confirm the fax has been received or if it is corrupted in transmission.
Skip a couple of lines and add a heading that says, "Number of Pages Including Cover:" Stating that the number of pages includes the cover sheet eliminates confusion.
Skip two or three lines and list the heading "Subject:" This is where the sender can briefly explain the attached document.
Put the heading "Notes:" under "Subject" so the sender can write instructions such as "Deliver immediately to Mrs. Jones" or "Call me when you get this" or "Please check this, sign and fax back."
Clarity is the most important quality of a fax cover sheet. Bold the headings if you are creating the sheet in a word processing program. If you are hand writing the sheet, print clearly and underline the headings.