How to Receive Faxes on Your Computer Using Gmail
Countless people around the World use Gmail on an everyday basis. Google's email service is, at the time of writing this article, the biggest free email provider in the World. But... did you know that you can also use it to receive fax?
Thanks to the advances in online fax technology we can receive fax to email without having to buy a machine or install a dedicated line in the office.
In this guide you'll learn how to setup incoming faxes on Gmail so you can spend less time and money. Let's get started!
Receiving Fax to Gmail
To receive fax online you have to obtain a digital fax line and link it to your Gmail account through an online fax service. Incoming faxes will arrive as a PDF attachments, on an email containing all the details from the transmission.
If you don't have a Gmail address, you can create one completely free in just a few seconds.
For the purpose of receiving fax, we recommend you create a separate email address. If you use your personal email, faxes will be mixed with the rest of common messages, including those coming from social sites and promotions.
An email fax service, on the other hand, will give you a Google fax number, which is a virtual number that redirects incoming fax to Gmail. Your virtual fax line will stay active all day long, receiving faxes automatically and converting them to PDF before sending them to your inbox. It will stay active even if your computer is turned off, just like emails arrive even when you are not on your computer.
So far, the only way to receive fax on Gmail is with the help of an online fax service, because through them is the only way you can get a virtual fax number.
You can receive fax to Gmail for free by signing up for a demo account on services like Nextiva Fax or RingCentral Fax, which let you have a free account for a full month. You can cancel your account at anytime if you want to try out other service.
Linking a Fax Number to Your Email Address
To start receiving fax to Gmail, all you need to do is link a virtual fax number to your Gmail address. The easiest and most direct way to do this is at the moment of creating an account with the online fax provider of your preference.
When you sign up with an online fax provider, you are asked to choose between a local or toll-free fax number. Don't worry, you don't have to pay anything extra, the number is included in your monthly plan.
At the moment of signing up with an email fax service just enter your desired email and pick your number (you have the option between local and toll-free depending on your country/area). Once you’ve done this, both will be automatically linked, so if someone sends you a fax using that number, it will be converted and forwarded to your inbox as a PDF fax attachment.
NOTE: Some services let you link the same number to up to 5 different addresses. The process is the same and faxes will be delivered at the same speed.
Alternatively, you can head out to the web fax online account and change the email address used for receiving fax. Here’s a simple example on how this looks when faxing with RingCentral Fax. All services are similar in this aspect.
Once you’ve done this, you are ready to receive fax to email. They will be automatically sent to your Gmail account as an attachment. You can access a copy of all your incoming faxes through your online fax account, in case you can't access your inbox.
As you can see, you don't have to go into your Google account and mess with the settings. Online fax services use web-based technology that is always up, no matter if you have your computer turned off. They will handle the configuration of your account, which shouldn't take more than just a few minutes after completing the sign-up process.
Instead of rushing to a create a paid account, sign up for a free trial account to test how this technology works. You've got nothing to lose, you can cancel these services at anytime to try another one. It's 100% safe.
Moving Your Existing Fax Line
If you already have a fax number but are looking for a way to receive fax to Gmail, you can do so by porting your fax number to a digital line. The process is called "fax number porting", and most services offer it at no extra cost.
At the moment of creating your account ask your email fax provider for a transfer process and they'll take things from there. The porting process may take a few days to complete, that's because your number is now working online, and it needs to propagate on the Internet to be 100% functional. During those days, your preferred service will provide a free temporary fax number.
What Are the Advantages of Receiving Faxes Online?
One of the coolest things about this new way of receiving faxes online is that provides a lot of interesting and useful features that can make faxing and sorting documents easily. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Labeling faxes
- Integration with Google Drive
- Integration with fax services
- Lightning-fast speed
- Access faxes anywhere
Receiving fax to Gmail is very easy and it doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes to set up your account. Once the number is activated by your provider, it will be ready to receive faxes.
This method is 100% compatible with traditional fax machines, people who send you fax won't notice you are using Internet for the job. You, on the other hand, will be able to read fax directly on your screen without having to waste paper. When receiving a fax that has been sent through a fax machine, it will be first converted into a PDF digital document and then forwarded to your email address.