How to Receive Fax with 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, thanks in great part to its ease of use and amount of features it provides to its users.
But... did you know that you can also use your Gmail account to receive fax?
Thanks to the advances in online fax technology, we can receive faxes directly on our email without having to buy a machine or install a dedicated line in the office.
This way of delivering fax has revolutionized the way companies communicate, making communications safer, faster and ultimately, more cost effective. By opting to receive fax on Gmail you can automate your faxing processes and focus on other important tasks throughout the day.
What's great about this technology is that it's very easy to implement. In this guide we'll show you how you can setup a virtual fax number in just a couple of minutes that delivers incoming fax to Gmail.
Are you ready to take the next step in faxing?
What Do You Need?
To receive fax online you just need two things: A Gmail address and an online fax service.
If you don't have a Gmail address, you can create one completely free in just a few seconds. Depending on the area where you are located, you may need to verify your new account with your phone.
For the purpose of receiving fax, we recommend you create a separate Gmail 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. Finding a fax in the future will be much harder. In addition a new account also gives you 15 GB of Google Drive space just to store your digital faxes!
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.
A service will also let you send fax from Gmail, but that's another topic. Check out the link to learn more about it.
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.
Services charge you small fee each month that allows you to send/receive hundreds of pages per month, but you can receive fax for free if you sign up for a 30-day free trial. You can take advantage of services like RingCentral or eFax, which let you create a free account during a full month. You can cancel your account at anytime if you want to try out other service.
Linking an Online Fax Number to Your Gmail Account
To start receiving email fax, 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 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 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 Gmail 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 faxes. They will be automatically sent to your Gmail address as an attachment. You can access a copy of all your incoming faxes through your online fax account, in case you can't access Gmail.
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 faxes on your Gmail inbox, 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.
Advantages of Using Gmail to Receive Faxes
One of the coolest things about this new way of receiving faxes is that Gmail 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 faxes through a Gmail account 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 sending you fax won't notice a difference. 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.