How to Fax Using Google Drive
Being able to fax documents stored in Google Drive is of great help if your business relies on cloud-based documents to speed up the workflow in the office and to improve collaboration between multiple team members.
Google Drive, Google's free cloud storage service, gives you 15 GB of free space to store and share digital faxes with other Google accounts in a secure and reliable way, and it comes integrated with Google Docs, Sheets & Presentations, some of the best free online document editing tools that let you create invoices, contracts, spreadsheets, and other documents you may need to send as fax.
In order to fax from Google Drive, you'll need to use an online fax service. There are multiple providers that let you convert digital documents to fax and give you a Google fax number to receive digital fax that you can store on the cloud as well.
Online fax services charge you a small monthly fee to let you send and receive faxes over a virtual line that doesn't need a machine or additional installations. But if you don't want to spend any money at first you can sign up through a 30-day free trial, an option offered my most providers on the market. So far this is the only way to fax for free with Drive. Once you've chosen what's best for you, you are ready to get started!
There are 3 ways you can fax your Google Drive documents:
Option 1 - Using Gmail to Send & Receive Fax
One of the best things about using online fax services, is that they let you send and receive fax by email. The process of sending Gmail fax is as easy as sending any type of email, with the difference that you'll be converting your digital files into fax, so you have to attach them to the message.
You can attach files from your hard drive or - better yet - straight from your Google Drive account.
To fax via this method, go to COMPOSE and create a new e-mail message. Type the 10-digit fax number in the TO field following the directions of your fax service provider (it should look like this: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Now you need to attach the file you want to fax. Normally you do this by clicking on the paperclip icon, but since you want to add a document from Google Drive, you need to click on this icon:
That’s the icon to “Insert Files Using Google 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 converted and sent as fax.
Note that for this method work, you have to keep your documents, or have access to them in the same Google account (Gmail address) you use for email faxing, and must be saved in a format that is compatible with your preferred online fax service.
Faxes will also arrive directly to your Gmail inbox, thanks to the online fax number your service gives you at the moment of creating your account. You will receive fax converted as PDF files, so you can easily read it on any computer or handheld device.
At the moment of receiving them, you can move these PDF faxes to Google Drive by hovering over the attachment and clicking on the Google Drive icon. It is recommended you also organize them in folders to find them quickly if you need them in the future or if they are going to be shared among different recipients.
Option 2 - Using a Google Docs Add-On
If you use Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets to create documents online, you can install an add-on that lets you fax directly from their interface.
There are only a few services that offer this option, among them eFax, HelloFax and Fax Plus.
Getting started is very easy. First, you need to get the add on of your preferred online fax service from the Google Docs add-on store. You can click here to find it, or you can click on the "Add-ons" item on the main menu to open the store on a pop-up window.
To finish the installation, you'll be required to authorize the communication between your fax and Google accounts.
How do you send a fax with the add-on?
Let's say you have finished writing a contract and want to fax it immediately. If the add-on is installed, you just need to activate the fax sidebar by going to "Add-ons" on the main menu, and clicking on the name of your online fax provider.
The sidebar will contain all the fields you need to complete to send your fax. Enter the recipient's fax number, add a cover page and finish by clicking "Send". A confirmation message will be sent to your email address after the transmission is 100% complete.
Option 3 - Using Your Online Fax Account
With an online fax service you can also send faxes using your account's dashboard, an area where you will find access to advanced fax features such as broadcasting, fax scheduling and integration with cloud storage services like Box, Dropbox and of course, Google Drive.
For this method, you need to navigate to the area of your account where you can send faxes. Then look for the section where you attach the files to be faxed. If your service support's integration with Google Drive, it should appear one the list below. Most top providers now offer cloud faxing, but it's always better to ask before signing up for a paid plan.
Here's an example of how this section looks when you are using RingCentral Fax.
Click on Google Drive and authorize the communication between your service and Google. You only need to do this step once, for future faxes Drive will remember the authorization.
Now simply choose the document from your Google Drive account using the pop-up file browser on the screen. You can add multiple documents if you like, just make sure they are compatible with your service or else you'll get an error message.
Using this option you can use a cover page of your liking and even schedule the fax for a specific time and date. Faxes will still be received via email, but you can also access and download them from the Inbox are of your online fax account and send them to Google Drive.
Why Fax from Google Drive?
With any of the methods you'll be reaping the rewards of faxing from the cloud. Here are other benefits you can expect:
- It will make faxing on the go easier.
- You can share incoming faxes with other Google accounts.
- It's cheaper than using traditional fax methods.
- Your fax backups are safely stored in the virtual hard drive.
- It integrates with other services, including Gmail.
- It's backed up by Google, so you can rest assured it will always be available.
Cloud faxing is just one aspect of what your service can do. We invite you to learn more about online faxing in our articles!