How to Fax with Google Using a Virtual Fax Number
Technological advancements have helped us take communications to a whole new level. Sending and receiving messages, documents and even sound only takes seconds, even if the recipient lives across the ocean, thanks to email, instant messaging and cloud storage services.
Nowadays you don't need a fax machine and a dedicated line to receive faxes.
You can fax using Google by linking an online fax number to a Gmail account and other services such as Google Docs and Drive.
Understanding How Google Fax Works
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 faxes automatically in your inbox. Contrary to a traditional one, a virtual fax number doesn't require any physical setup and is ready to be used in a matter of minutes.
Despite the term used to describe them, these numbers are not provided by Google, instead, they are provided by Internet fax services, companies that let you convert incoming faxes into digital documents.
Your online fax number will grab incoming fax transmissions and send them to powerful servers where they will be instantly converted into a PDF and then forwarded to your inbox. All data travels encrypted through secure connections, ensuring the privacy of your fax's contents.
Once your online fax number is active, it will deliver faxes to Gmail automatically. You'll receive notifications of incoming transmissions via your phone or by using a notification add-on.
How to Get a Google Fax Number
To get a Google fax number, you need to sign up with an online fax service and link your number to your Gmail account. Once done, it will be ready to send and receive faxes.
Google doesn't offer a fax service, at least not yet, so we have to use third party providers for the job. Luckily, you can create a free account with services like eFax and RingCentral. These accounts remain free for 30 days to receive fax and come with a local or toll-free fax number.
If you have a Google Voice number you can fax online by porting 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 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 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.
Our Recommended Google Fax Services
In our opinion, the best Google fax services of 2019 are eFax, RingCentral and MyFax, each one of them has its own set of pros and cons, but remain reliable all of the time.
Using a Google Voice Number to Fax
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 from 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:
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 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 Google 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.