Google fax number

​​A "Google fax number"·is just a name given to an online fax number connected to your Gmail account.  ​This connection allows you to receive fax automatically as PDFs ​via your inbox. Contrary to a traditional fax number, they don't require a physical line and are ready to be used in just a few minutes.

​Despite the term used to describe them, these numbers are​ not provided by Google (the company has stated they don't plan on adding fax to their services), ​instead, they are provided by online fax services that let you fax ​by email.

​​Your virtual fax number will grab incoming fax transmissions and send ​them to powerful fax servers ​for conversion, then forward it to your email address as a digital document. This is a fully automated process, the only thing you do is check your inbox for new fax messages​.

How to Obtain a Google Fax Number

Getting a number is pretty easy: you just have to sign up with an online fax service.  Every account comes with a free Google fax number.  

I wish there was a way to get this number 100% free but so far there's no such alternative.  The good news is that most online fax services let you create a free account for 30 days, some of them with no credit card.

​At the moment of signing up for a service you can pick between local, toll-free and vanity fax numbers. ​You can also keep your existing fax number​ and avoid having to update your contacts. To do so, request your service to begin a fax number porting process.  

If you have a Google Voice number you can also port it to a service (more about this later on).  In this case you'll have to unlock it before initiating the transfer process.  ​After transferring it, your email-to-fax Google number will only be able to receive fax transmissions.

You don’t have to get a dedicated fax number for every ​Gmail account that needs faxing capabilities. Most Google Fax Over IP services allow you to link up to 5 different email addresses to a single virtual number. This is a useful feature that comes in very handy when more than one people is in charge of sending and receiving faxes, and lets you save time that you’d otherwise spend forwarding every incoming document. This feature is optional, of course, you can set faxes to be received by just one person.

Google fax number providers

​Best ​Google Fax Services of 2018

These are the services that in our opinion do a better job at letting you receive fax on your Gmail inbox. They integrate perfectly with your email account and are reliable for occasional and power users, what’s better, they let you try Google fax ​free before you actually start paying for a plan!

  • RingCentral Fax. They do a perfect job integrating fax features in Gmail, with accounts available in USA, Canada, and most recently UK. RingCentral Fax is packed with lots of useful features. You can get a free fax number for Google with a test-drive account.
  • eFax is one of the top rated providers in the World. As a matter of fact, this company has presence available in more than 40 countries, making it the biggest fax company right now. You can create your account and a free efax number very quickly.
  • MyFax. Their plans pack a lot of punch for a good price. Although this company is “younger” than the two listed above, it has quickly landed among the top providers thanks to its integration and reliability. It may lack some advanced features but if you want to only take care of basic faxing this service is perfect for you, they allow free Internet faxing for a limited time.

​Fax from a Google Voice Number

Google Voice fax number

Google Voice is a very useful product for communicating online. By providing you with a free online number you can take care of texts and calls. But can you use it for faxing?

If you’ve read in other articles that you can’t do it… Well, I’m sorry to say that they are correct…

You see, Google Voice takes advantage of VoIP (Voice Over IP) to provide its service. And as the name implies, it’s main purpose is to use it as a phone line. Sending a fax over Internet requires a FoIP (Fax Over IP), more specifically a T.38 protocol.

A handful of articles on the Web also detail ways to connect a fax machine to a Google Voice line, but these articles are not only outdated, the methods they use are complicated to set up and they are totally unreliable. We have tried a couple of ​these Google voice fax methods over here and got zero results.

This doesn’t mean that you have to throw the towel. There’s still a way to use ​a Google Voice fax number. It’s called “fax number porting”.

Transferring Your Google Voice Number to a Fax Service

If you want to use the number provided by Google Voice to send and receive faxes, you need to transfer it to an online fax service like Hello fax, eFax or RingCentral. Once this is done, your line will be always active to receive incoming faxes.

An online fax service lets you use a digital line to send and receive faxes straight from your computer. Faxes are delivered straight to your Gmail address, arriving as PDF attachments that you can either download or print. Sending a fax over Gmail is also very similar to sending a common email.

Upon signing up with a service, you get a free online fax number. But if you prefer, you can keep using an existing number. The service will then move this number to a digital dedicated fax line.

But the first thing you need to do to transfer your number is to unlock it on Google Voice.

Follow these steps:

  • Log into Google Voice and go to this page: www.google.com/voice/unlock
  • If you have only one number simply click on “Unlock my number”, if you have multiple numbers, choose the one you want to port from the drop-down list.
  • Click on Continue.
  • Finally, you need to pay the $3 unlock fee by going to Google Wallet.
  • Now your number is unlocked and ready to be transferred to an online fax service. To request a porting process, you need to log into your online fax account. Then you have two options:

    1. Request it from contact support. There’s some information you need to fill out to begin the transfer process. Some services require you to open a support ticket to hand you the form with this information.

    Once completed, send it back and you’ll be notified when the transfer has begun.

    2. Transfer it from your online fax account. Other Google fax services let you begin the transfer process from your account. You usually do this by heading over to your service’s settings area. You should find an option to take care of transfers and vanity numbers.

    Then you will be taken to a simple online form, where you have to check a few boxes and enter additional information. Submit the form and the service will take care of the process.

    In the meantime, you will be given a temporary fax number free to keep you from missing faxes during the transfer process. It can take up to a week for the number to fully propagate across the Web, so any transmissions through it can be interrupted. When the number has finished moving, it will have no problems receiving faxes. Once the process is finished, you'll be able to receive fax with Google Voice numbers.

    Benefits of Using a Google Voice Number for Faxing

    No more landlines. Tired of cables and physical installations? Your digital line is ready to be used in minutes and is capable of transferring your faxes over wireless Internet. It’s also way cheaper than requesting a physical line.

    Keep your number. If your idea was to use your Google Voice number from the start, you don’t have to get a new one. People communicating via fax with your office won’t even notice you are using a digital fax line for the job.

    Integrates with Google Products. You can send fax ​through Google, or use an add-on to add features to fax from Google Drive, Docs and Sheets. Some services also link directly to Drive to pull documents stored in the cloud.

    ​Types of ​Google Fax Number

    types of Google fax numbers

    ​When selecting a ​Gmail fax number, you’ll find that there are different alternatives at your disposition.  The one that’s best for you will be chosen depending on your needs or the needs of your company, taking into account factors such as ease of use, convenience, and availability. ​

    ​There are three types of fax numbers you can pick:

    • Local
    • Toll-free
    • Vanity

    Most fax services only offer local and toll-free ones for free, and for most businesses, this is absolutely fine. A vanity fax number (those that look like 1-800 CALL US NOW) often require an extra fee and are subject to availability in your area.  As an additional alternative, you can port your current fax number and move it to the Internet.  ​