How to Receive Fax on Gmail
[UPDATED: November 2017] You gotta love these times we live in. Now more than ever we have an incredible array of ways of communicating, and more keep appearing every once in a while motivated by the advances in technology. We no longer need to wait days to receive an envelope from the mailman, instead, we can just use our e-mails to communicate within seconds, or use another medium like instant messaging or video conference.
This immediacy in communications has also influenced old ways of communicating, such as fax, which has evolved to be safer, faster and ultimately, more cost efficient. We no longer need a machine and a dedicated fax line to share documents, now we can receive faxes on Gmail using just our computers and an Internet connection.
What Do You Need?
An email fax service. These are companies that allow you to fax by email and give you a free Google fax number (a term for a virtual fax number that redirects faxes to Gmail)– the most important item you need to receive Gmail fax. These numbers don’t require any physical installation, they work over Internet Protocol and their main function is to send the fax file for conversion. Once it is converted, the fax is then forwarded to your Gmail inbox, all in just a matter of seconds.
Fax services are not free (they need to assign and set up your virtual number), but they are needed to add fax features to Gmail. You can, however, take advantage services like RingCentral or eFax, which offer you the chance of creating a free account during a full month.
You need the fax number linked to your Gmail address. If you want to fax for free for a while you can sign up for a free trial or a demo version of a service.
A Gmail address. I imagine you already have one; if not, here you can open a new account.
NOTE: We recommend you create a new Gmail address to deal with faxes. With the amount of spam that always seems to creep into our emails it’s better to keep things organized and easy to find.
Linking Your Virtual Fax Number to Gmail
This is the only step you need and as you will see it is extremely easy.
At the moment of signing up with an email fax service just enter your desired Gmail address 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 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 address to a Gmail one. Here’s a simple example on how this looks when faxing with RingCentral. By the way, all services are similar in this aspect.
Once you’ve done this, you are ready to receive faxes. You will receive them straight in your Gmail inbox, but a copy will also be stored in your online fax dashboard, and alternatively, your mobile phone.
Why Use Gmail to Receive Faxes?
One of the coolest things about opting to receive faxes on your Google Mail account is that Google 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. With Gmail you can easily create a label and use them on your fax documents. I personally use labels to distinguish between critical faxes and common fax communications, but you can name them as you want, like for example to help distinguishing between personal and business faxes.
Integration with Google Drive. Drive is the cloud-based storage service offered by Google and it is completely free to use. With just a click you can send your incoming faxes to Drive or easy storage and sharing, and have them neatly organized with their easy-to-use interface. Many fax services also give you the option to fax from Google Drive directly.
Integration with fax services. Of all the free email providers out there, Gmail is the safest and easiest to use. It also integrates perfectly with web fax functions, that’s why millions of people have started to use Gmail to send fax online.
Lightning-fast speed. Receiving faxes over email is the fastest way to do it. Faxes arrive automatically in a completely hands-free process.
Access faxes anywhere. You can check out your faxes anywhere as long as you have access to Gmail and access to the Internet. This is a revolutionary benefit that is impossible to enjoy if we keep on relying on fax machines. You can even download mobile apps to receive faxes in your phone.
Receiving faxes through Gmail is very easy and it doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes to set up your account, but know that you’ll need to sign up for a paid fax service to receive a dedicated fax number.
Services such as eFax or RingCentral will help you do this, but if you don’t want to spend money at first you should be able to get a free trial. Make sure you cancel it before the trial period is over if you don’t want to start using a paid plan.
If you are still using a fax machine, what are you waiting for? This new way of faxing will completely improve the way your company communicates.