Digital fax technology continues growing and changing the way we communicate. In the past year, we have seen two main advances in email fax technology.  The first one is the development of innovative mobile apps that transform your smartphone into a virtual fax machine capable of sending, receiving and composing faxes; they have represented a significant step forward, introducing the term “mobility” to the world of faxing and putting it lights years ahead of traditional fax technology.

The second change came a little bit later but has improved the way we take care of faxes on the go.  It is called “cloud faxing,” a feature that has become quickly popular and that, truth be told, was much needed. Cloud fax technology lets you fax online by pulling documents from the major cloud-based storage services on the Web, including Google Drive.

In this guide you’ll learn how to fax from the Drive in different ways, so you can pick the one that works best for you. You can also find more information on our Google fax guide.

Option 1 – Faxing From Gmail

If you have already linked a virtual fax number and a Gmail address through a service, this is the simplest way to fax, since you can do it all from Gmail’s interface.

Sending a fax via this method is very similar to sending Gmail to fax.

First, go to COMPOSE and create a new e-mail message.  Include the fax number in the TO field using the directions of your fax service provider (it should look like this: faxnumber@faxservice.com).

On the Subject and Message fields include the contents of the fax cover page, and now instead of attaching a file from your computer using the clip icon, make sure you click on this cool little icon:

step 3 attach document

 

That’s the button to “Insert Files Using Drive”, and once you click it, you will be prompted to a file selection box within your Drive account, where you can pick any document you want.  Note that for this to work, you have to keep you Drive documents in the same Gmail address you use for faxing or share the document with your primary fax address.

This way of faxing is very helpful; you can even upload a document from the same window, add it to your fax, and store it at the same time!

Option 2: Using a a Google Docs Add-On

If you want to fax directly from the Google Drive’s interface, you will need an add-on.  The best one I have tried so far is the one offered by HelloFax. This add-on is perfect for people who want to work on their documents using Drive’s text editor.

Getting started is very easy.  First, you need to get the add on at http://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hellofax/faaocgnafkndolajfpllmaamddlclkii

Once you install it, it will ask authorization to link it to your Google account. From there, you will find the option to send faxes under the “Add-ons” drop-down menu.

hellofax for google drive

When you want to send a fax, select the Hello Fax Add-on, and a dialog box will appear on the right side of the screen, where you enter the fax number and the information to be included on the cover page.  You can test this out now for free since HelloFax offers five pages of fax for free!

Option 3: Faxing from an Email Fax Service

This third option is available if you have a free or paid fax account with an email fax service such as Ringcentral, who provide cloud faxing features.  It involves using your online dashboard, a place where you can directly manage your faxes and settings.

Within you fax account, you can find extra features for sending and receiving faxes. The one that we care about the most in this tutorial is the “Attached file” selection, where we can choose between a local document or a cloud-stored document.  Here’s an example of how this looks using RingCentral Fax’s FaxOut web tool.

Just enter your fax account, click on FaxOut, and authorize that you want to pull documents from cloud services.  From there you can quickly pick files from not only Google Drive, but also other popular services such as DropBox and Box.

RingCentral FaxOut interface

Once you attach the files, you can send the document directly or schedule it for later.  Once you send the document, you will receive a confirmation email in your inbox.

What Are the Advantages of Faxing from Google Drive?

  • It makes mobile faxing easier.  When faxing from your phone, it is more convenient to have documents stored and pulled from cloud services.  A service like Google Drive has no downtime, which means your documents will always be available.
  • Makes documents more accessible. Cloud-stored documents can be shared with many people within your business or organization, improving the workflow along the way.  Google Drive lets you share documents with other accounts easily with just a few pushes of a button. You can as well determine which faxes need to stay private.
  • Saves money. It has been proven that businesses that switch to online faxing greatly decrease their communications expenses. Drive comes completely free with all Google accounts, so you don’t have to buy anything extra.
  • Document backups.  Having documents stored in the cloud is an excellent way to keep them safe in the case of an emergency, no matter the time or location.
  • Total Google integration.  I love Google services, and it is awesome to have your fax account integrated with them.  They are a reliable company that always keep improving and giving us users a better experience.

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Digital fax technology continues growing and changing the way we communicate. In the past year, we have seen two main advances in email fax technology.  The first one is the development of innovative mobile apps that transform your smartphone into a virtual fax machine capable of sending, receiving and...