Google Fax – Quick Start Guide

Google fax numbersDid you know that you can receive fax straight in your Gmail inbox without having to deal with a fax machine? That’s possible thanks to Google fax!

Email faxing has become the preferred way to send and receive faxes online, because it is faster, easier to use, and much more cost-effective in comparison to traditional faxing, which required you to buy a fax machine, supplies and install a dedicated line for the office. What’s even better, you can get started in just a few minutes and you only need to have a Gmail address and an Internet connection!

In this guide you’ll learn how to send fax from Google, how to receive faxes through Gmail and pick a fax service that accomodates to your needs and the needs of your business.

What Do You Need?

gmailfax-requirementsEmail fax technology makes faxing easier for all people, no matter their level of technical expertise.  Faxing over Gmail is just like sending a common email, but before we get to sending faxes, let’s take a look at what we need.

A Gmail Address.  Nowadays it is very easy to create a new Gmail address , so if you are ready to start faxing I’d recommend creating a new one.  The advantage of having a separate Gmail address for faxing is that it will make receiving and sorting fax easier.  It’s better to do this before we get started because if we do it later we’ll have more work on our hands.

An Email Fax Service.  Google isn’t offering a free fax service for now, so the best alternative we have is using an online fax service which offers compatibiity with Gmail.  There are many benefits in using an email fax service, including the ability to fax to multiple users at the same time, or integrate fax with your iPhone, but the main benefit is that they give you a google fax number, which is a virtual fax number linking to your Gmail address.  This number will forward all faxes automatically to your inbox, making this a totally hands-free process.

Best Google Fax Services of 2013

Online fax numbers are provided by email fax services, companies that put at the disposition of users powerful fax servers, which are in charge of converting faxed documents as super high speed, so you can receive them as PDFs. Here are two recommended fax services that provide 100% integration with Gmail and let you fax for a month without spending a dime.

ringcentral This is another fax company that integrates perfectly with Gmail, currently providing local and toll-free fax numbers in many cities across the US, Canada and the UK.  Their basic plan costs just $7.95 and you can test drive it for a full month before paying for a subscription if you like to.

TRY RINGCENTRAL FAX FREE FOR 30 DAYS

efax This is one of the leading fax services on the market providing fax numbers in 42 countries and thousands of cities around the World.  At the moment of creating your account, you can choose between a local or toll free number in the area of your choice.

Efax offers a single plan at $12.95, called eFax Plus.

TRY EFAX FREE FOR 30 DAYS

nextiva  Nextiva is a relatively newcomer in the field of Google faxing, but it has proven in recent years to be a reliable and affordable fax service.  Their plans start as low as $4.95, offering coverage all around the US. It may not have advanced features such as mobile apps and such, but if you want to fax for the best price, Nextiva can’t be beaten.

TRY NEXTIVA FAX FREE FOR 30 DAYS

How Does a Google Fax Number Work?

email-fax-numberYour digital fax number is in charge of “grabbing” incoming faxes and send them to conversion on super-fast fax servers. Thanks to them you can receive fax on Gmail automatically.

Whenever someone sends you a fax through your Google fax number, the incoming fax image is sent to the fax servers, where it is converted into a digital file, more specifically an Adobe Acrobat PDF file, which you can open and read in any computer or mobile device.

After the file has been converted, it is then forwarded to your Gmail inbox, where the PDF arrives as an email attachment. All incoming faxes are stored in Gmail as well as your online fax dashboard, so you can sort them using Gmail’s powerful functions.

How to Send Fax from Gmail

By linking your Gmail address to a virtual fax number, you will be able to send faxes through your Gmail account.  This method of faxing is 98% similar to sending a common email, so it is not only fast but also very easy to learn! Here’s a quick guide that will help you send your first fax from Google:

  1. Compose a new email on your Gmail dashboard.
  2. Attach the file you want to fax to the message.
  3. Write on the MESSAGE field, what you want to be your cover page.
  4. Add the recipient’s number on the TO field like this: faxnumber@faxprovider.com
  5. Press Send! In a couple of minutes your fax will arrive its destination!

What happens if the service encounters a busy line? Well, according to your setting, it will re-try sending the fax several times until it goes through and you can get a successful confirmation message. You don’t have to do anything on your part, the service will handle all the attempts automatically.

How Do I Receive Fax on Gmail?

Receiving fax on Gmail is the easiest part of faxing through email.  Once you have linked your email address to a virtual fax number, it will start receiving faxes automatically. There’s no need of answering calls or something like that. This is all possible thanks to the fax number of course, following the process detailed above.

Besides receiving fax on your inbox, you will also receive a copy in your web fax account and you can opt to receive it also in a mobile device such as an iPhone or another smartphone of your choice. This feature comes particularly useful if you can’t be in the office at all times or if you need to travel.

You can rest assured that all your faxes will be received, because this line is never busy.

Can I Keep My Current Fax Number?

Yes! The companies listed here give you the possibility of keeping your current number for your virtual office so you can continue receiving faxes for your business without having to update all your contacts. To do this, they must follow a process called number porting, which moves your current number to a digital medium, able to forward faxes to Gmail.

The porting process takes a few days, because the number needs to propagate to ensure it is working 100% of the time.  A service will give you a temporary fax number for a month free of cost while your number is being ported to avoid problems during the transmission of a fax. Your ported number should be working fine in approximately 10 days. Porting a fax number is the preferred alternative for businesses that already have many fax contacts.

Currently, all the services we have mentioned in this page offer this porting service.  You can refer to their policies and processes for more information.

Can I Link My Number to Multiple Gmail Addresses?

Yes.  Currently most fax services allow you to forward faxes to up to 5 different email addresses. This is especially useful if more than one epople need to supervise and read incoming faxes, and saves you the time of forwarding every single ffax to all recipients.  This is optional, so if you are the only person checking faxes, you can set to recieve fax on just one address too.

Despite serving different addresses at the same time, it still deliver the faxes without delay, thanks in gret parts to powerful fax server software.

Does it Cost Me Anything to Get a Fax Number?

Numbers are given by fax services at no extra cost when you open an account with them.  If you want to enjoy a full month of totally free faxing, you would have to sign up for a test-drive account.

What Can I Do With a Gmail Fax Service?

When you use an email fax service, you have at your disposition a set of features designed to make faxing easier and speedier.  These features put Gmail faxing way ahead of other faxing methods, helping you automate time-consuming tasks and giving you multiple ways to access your faxes from any computer.

Fax from smartphones.  By downloading an app from an email fax service you can receive a copy of incoming faxes in your iOS, Android-based or Blackberry smartphone.  These apps are 100% free to download and can be used by both paid and free trial accounts.  This feature is a must-have if you are always on the go.

Fax scheduling.  Do you need to send a fax on a later date or time?  Now you won’t need to wait anxiously in the office for the right time to do it, you can simply schedule your fax or faxes in a single step and forget about them.  The service will send the document and will re-try several times in case it encounters an error.

Multiple-recipients.  Have you ever sent a single fax to multiple recipients with a fax machine?  Talk about a time consuming process! You had to dial every single number, scan the fax, etc.  Well, now things are very different with digital technology and sending a fax to many people at once is as easy as sending an email to many people at once.  Just use the Cc field of Gmail, enter the desired numbers as explained above and send the fax!

Electronic signature.  Signing a document once required you to print the fax, sign the document, scan the fax and then finally send it again.  Now you can cut the time involved in this process dramatically by adding an electronic sign to your faxes.

Cloud-based faxing.  This is one of the new exciting features of fax services.  It allows you to pull documents from a cloud-based storage service such as Box, DropBox or Google Drive so you can fax them without having to download them.  Integrating your fax account with a cloud service is something currently offered by RingCentral Fax.

Detailed reports.  Besides being able to fax from a Google Mail account, you can also access, send and forward faxes from your web-based account. In there, you can find a detailed log of all your faxes which you can always refer to or download as a spreadsheet if you want a copy in your hard drive.

Can I Fax from Gmail Free?

Currently, there’s not a single service that lets you fax for free. The closest thing you can find are sites that let you send a page or couple of pages for free, but these sites don’t serve at all to receive faxes on your inbox. They don’t give you a virtual fax number which can be linked to an email and each mail you send is preceded by a cover page with ads.

If you want to send and receive faxes via Gmail for free, I would suggest you to try the next best thing: test-drive accounts. You can find some of the best free trials above on our selection of services. The great thing about these free accounts is that they come with all features enabled (yes, that includes your own virtual fax number) and are active for a full month, after which you can choose to keep using it or cancel your account – no questions asked.

Signing up with a free account is also a great way to learn the ropes of digital faxing, f you have never tried to fax from email before.