[UPDATED: October 2019]
Fax-to-email services allow you to send fax using your Gmail account by converting digital documents into analog fax signals, which can be received by any fax machine on the planet.
Instead of using a fax machine, you take advantage of powerful fax servers capable of converting your files and send it to the desired fax number in just a few seconds.
It's a method that not only saves time, but also money. It doesn't require a phone line or other expenses, and the best of all is that easy to learn. As a matter of fact, after reading this tutorial, you'll be able to send your first fax online.
Sending a Fax From Gmail
If you know how to send a simple email from Gmail, you've already got 90% of the process down. There are only a few minor differences that you have to keep in mind when you send faxes:
Keeping this into account, here are the steps to send fax through your Gmail account:
- 1Create a new email message by clicking on COMPOSE both in Gmail's desktop site or when using their mobile app.
- 2Enter the recipients' 10-digit fax number (with area code) in the TO field. You'll need turn this number into an email address by adding @provider.com at the end. For example, if you use RingCentral with a sample number (1-222-333-3333) you need to enter this: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can add up to 50 recipients at the same time separated by commas, like a common email.
- 3Add the cover page text using the Subject field. The layout of the cover page will depend on the settings on your fax service account. You can also attach a customized cover page to the email. In that case just leave the field empty.
- 4Attach the files you want to fax. For this step, just click on the paperclip icon (lower area of the composing screen in the desktop version) and pick a file from your computer. You can attach formats like PDF, JPG, TXT or DOC. For a full list of compatible formats refer to your service's support page. It's also possible to attach multiple files in a single fax transmission, but there's a limit on the size of files.
- 5Press Send. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to fully transmit the document. Once it's done, you'll receive a confirmation message on your Gmail account with the transmission details on your inbox, including the date/time, sender's phone number and extension, name of the recipient and the result of the transmission.
If there's a error while sending a fax, your service will try re-sending it until it is successful. It's very unusual to get an error message, but if you do get one it will detail what went wrong during the process so you can fix it or contact the customer support if you fax area.
Before You Fax Online...
For this tutorial you'll need a Gmail account which will act as your fax email and account with an online fax service. These services are able to convert fax from email by linking a virtual number to your email address. We recommend starting off with an email fax service provider with free accounts, like RingCentral or eFax which let you create an account to send fax online free for 30 days. It's the perfect way to follow this guide.
There's also the alternative to send a fax through a website at zero cost, but it is limited to couple of pages per day, and they don't provide a way to fax from Gmail accounts. Instead, you have to send it using a web form. If you need to send more pages, you have to actually start paying a fee per page, which can end up being more costly than the nominal fee email fax services charge per month.
These services, although they deliver your fax, are not recommended for sensitive information for three reasons: they don't guarantee your fax has been sent, they don't have advanced security measures and they include their own branding on your faxes for promotional purposes.
An online fax service will also give you your own Gmail fax number to receive documents online and provide apps to integrate faxing on mobile devices.
Sending a fax online from Gmail will give you an edge over other companies that use traditional faxing methods, and will let you enjoy the benefits of having a Gmail account. You’ll cut the time you spend faxing, while breaking away from all the issues that plagued fax machines, like paper jams and poor document quality.
At the same time Gmail faxing will help you save money that used to be spent in equipment, supplies and additional fax lines.