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Sean Lane
Sean Lane

Posted on • Originally published at on

Send a fax from the command line with Python and Phaxio

Note in 2019: I've created a small side project website that let's you quickly send off a fax with no hassle in case you don't want to mess with a Python script:

If you want to send a simple fax quickly, cheaply, and painlessly, Phaxio and Python make a nice combo. Below is a litte script that I wrote, based on this Ruby script by Pete Keen that is slightly out of date. There are Phaxios Python libraries, but I ran into a couple issues, and this seems to be the most brain-dead simple solution. Pros: No external dependencies. Cons: It uses the shell=True parameter for, but that shouldn’t be an issue since you’re only using this to send a quick fax at 2 AM and you don’t want to pay UPS/FedEx/whomever too much money for that privilege tomorrow, right?

Note that I’m not affiliated with Phaxio in any way, it just happens to be late, I needed to send a fax, and they checked all the right boxes. I stumbled on Phaxio, but for someone just wanting to send a quick fax once every year or so, it’s great. Pricing is about $0.07 a page (and I received $1.00 account credit just for signing up at the time of writing this), so it’s perfect for my use case.


  1. Sign up for an account with Phaxio:
  2. Get your API Keys: Phaxio API Credentials
  3. Put them into the script below (You can also use the Test keys to make sure this works before trying too.)
  4. Run the script, for example, if I saved the script to, I’m sending to Tommy Tutone, and my file to send is letter.pdf, I would use the following: ./ +15558675309 /path/to/letter.pdf
#!/usr/bin/env python3
from subprocess import call
import sys

if len(sys.argv) <= 2:
    print("Usage: send_fax NUMBER FILENAME...")

number = sys.argv[1]   
api_key = 'put_api_key_here'
api_secret = 'put_api_secret_here'

command_args = [
  "-u '{}:{}'".format(api_key, api_secret),
  "-F 'to={}'".format(number)

for file in sys.argv[2:]:
    command_args.append("-F 'file=@{}'".format(file))

call(' '.join(command_args), shell=True)

The script can be found in this GitHub Gist here:

Feel free to fork it and suggest improvements.

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