Have you ever wanted to send and receive faxes through a Google fax number? Well, this is now possible thanks to email fax services, which provide integration with Google services like Gmail and Drive. The popularity of these services has grown quite a bit in the past decade, and it is because they provide a better way to send documents, without all the problems fax machines have.
In this guide you’ll learn how you can activate your own virtual fax number to start receiving faxes in just a few minutes from now!
What Do You Need?
To get started with Gmail faxing you’ll need two things:
- A Gmail address. You can create a free Gmail account here to receive faxes online. Although you can use your current Gmail address, it’s better to use a new one if you want to keep your faxes organized and easy to find. Gmail has different features that will help tag and archive incoming faxes quite quickly.
- An email fax service. Unfortunately, Google does not offer a fax service or feature within Gmail. Instead, we need to add this capability through an email fax service.
Fax service companies not only help you send faxes, but they also give you a free virtual fax number to receive faxes automatically and add a lot of features that make faxing a breeze, like the fax scheduling, iPhone faxing and broadcasting among others.
Our Recommended Google Fax Services
You can obtain an online fax number thanks to an email fax service. These are companies with advanced fax server software, which helps you fax from your computer in just a matter of minutes.
Here at Faxzee.com, we reviewed some of the most popular fax services in the market, and these are the ones that provide a better integration with Gmail.
RingCentral Fax. RingCentral is one of the companies that provide better integration with Gmail. It provides numbers available not only in the USA but also in the UK and Canada. For the basic plan, you pay $9.99 a month, but this can be reduced to $7.99 if you choose to pay annually. Among their most interesting features is the integration with mobile devices and the ability to schedule faxes, but there’s much more you can do with it. Click here for a 30-day free trial!
eFax. This is a company with years in the field of digital faxing. eFax is the biggest fax service in the World with numbers available in over 40 countries. You can sign up with them just a few minutes and have at your disposition local and toll-free numbers in your area. Their basic plan costs $12.99 per month, or $10.99 if you pay annually. Click here for a 30-day free trial!
Your Own Google Fax Number
Fax services give you a virtual fax number that redirects incoming faxes to your email inbox in just a matter of seconds. Thanks to this number you can receive faxes automatically, without having to answer incoming calls.
When someone sends you a fax via your Gmail fax number, it travels first to speedy fax servers which convert the incoming fax into a digital file. More precisely, a PDF file, which you view on any computer or device. Once in your computer you can choose to either read it, print it or forward it.
Currently, you can find companies which offer local or toll-free numbers not only in the USA but also in other countries around the World!
How Can I Receive Faxes on Gmail?
Nothing can be easier than receiving faxes on Gmail.
At the moment of creating your fax account and picking a number, you’ve already linked it to your Gmail address! This means that all faxes coming through your virtual fax number will be sent to your inbox automatically as email attachments. Forget about having to answer incoming calls.
Service will also store an extra copy of the fax in your online fax account, and you can even download an app to receive faxes via mobile phone. I find this feature extremely valuable since it lets you keep track of faxes without having to be at the office at all times.
By the way, your virtual fax line will never be busy, so you can be pretty sure all incoming faxes will arrive your inbox!
What If I Want to Keep Using My Current Fax Number?
You can continue using your current business fax number, and avoid having to go through the exhausting process of updating your contact information.
To do this, you transfer your fax number to a virtual line through a process called “number porting”. Once on a digital platform, your number will be able to automatically forward faxes to your email address.
Number porting is a process that can take a few days to complete. Mainly because the new number must propagate across the Internet to ensure it has no downtime and you don’t miss a single fax.
If you want to port your current number, you will receive a temporary fax number that works for 30 days. This number helps you receive faxes during the 7 to 10 days it takes for the process to complete. If you have a company with lots of contacts and you rely heavily on faxing, porting is the way to go.
Can I Link My Number to More Than One Email?
You can connect your virtual fax number to up to 5 different email addresses. This comes as a plus in companies where more than one person needs to deal with incoming faxes. And it is a time-saving feature because you don’t need to forward faxes anymore!
Thanks to a lightning-fast process you don’t experience a delay when using multiple email addresses.
Do I Have to Pay to Get a Fax Number?
No. Your primary fax number comes included with your email fax subscription. It’s part of the whole package, but you still have to pay for the service though. If you want to also get your number for free, you can create a 30-day free account.
What Type of Google Fax Number Should I Choose?
When it comes to picking the virtual fax number you are going to use for your company, it is important to know your options. This will allow you to make the most out of your email fax service and at the same time will help you improve your communications. In this article you’ll learn more about the types of numbers at your disposal.
There are three types of fax numbers you can choose:
- Local fax number
- Toll-free fax number
- Vanity fax number
If you have visited a fax service provider’s page, you may have noted that the first two alternatives are instantly available at the moment of creating your account. Vanity numbers are also an option with some services, they are not advertised as part of plans because -as it is an added feature- they charge you an additional fee.
If you already have a traditional fax number and want to keep it, you can opt to move this number to a digital line, turning it into a Google fax number. To do this you’ll need to get in contact with your provider, and they will guide you through this whole process, known as “fax porting”. It takes a few days to complete, until your number has propagated all across Internet.
Toll-free Fax Numbers
These are numbers that you can call for free. They are usually easy to spot when they have the 1-800 prefixes, but there are other toll-free prefixes such as 844, 855, 866, 877 and 888.
You don’t need to pay more to pick this type of number, but sometimes you can’t pick between all of them, it really depends on the area of coverage. I’s good to know that toll-free numbers are only available in the USA. If you are using an international fax company they may not be available as an option.
Toll-free numbers are preferred in industries where there is a lot of communication with customers, such as law, health and customer support. It makes it easier for customers and potential customers to reach you via fax.
These are numbers that have their respective area code in the country. These are the “traditional” numbers you get when you request a new line. Calling one of these numbers is not free, but they offer another advantage.
If you have a local business, having one these numbers can earn an extra degree of trust among potential customers, provided that you only operate in that area.
Local numbers are the easiest one to get, you can pick between many of them at the moment of linking your online fax account. Most providers cover the entire US territory and Canada. For local numbers in other countries you should check for local services or opt for an international fax service like eFax or MyFax.
By using a vanity fax number, we can control how our number looks and what message it forms. These are instantly recognizable numbers, you may have seen some on TV that looked like this:
Vanity numbers are used by businesses that want to invest in branding, and it is also used a lot for marketing purposes. But since these numbers are not widely chosen for faxing, you need to request one from your service’s representative, and they will cost you an extra fee.
Other than that, they are no different from the other types of numbers. They all work the same when it comes to delivering faxes on Gmail.
Choosing the Right One
Now that you know all about the different types of numbers, you can choose one that best fits your company. Take your time and research what numbers are available in your area.
If you don’t have an account with an online fax service yet, you can open a free trial account to check what numbers are at your disposal. If later you want to continue using this service, the number will remain yours.
There is really no right or wrong when it comes to choosing, in the end you will still get a Google fax number to receive faxes!
Is There A Google Fax App?
If what you mean with an app is a piece of software developed by Google to send and receive faxes, well… that doesn’t exist yet, and to tell you the truth it may never exist.
A while ago, you could find an official answer to this question in one of the Google Voice support pages. In the now deleted page, Google stated that they had no plans to add fax capabilities to their Voice service, given that this service uses VoIP technology, and in order to send and receive faxes online you would need a FoIP (Fax Over Internet Protocol) line.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean that we can’t send and receive faxes using some of Google’s services such as Gmail, Chrome or Google Drive. Quite the contrary. The term Google fax is used nowadays to describe this way of faxing online. Since we can’t use a Google app, we need the aid of third-party online fax services.
There are three ways to fax from Google:
- With Gmail, using an email fax service
- With Google Drive or Docs, using a plug-in
- With Google Chrome, using an add-on.
Let’s take a look at the three different methods:
Faxing from Gmail
You can add fax capabilities to Gmail using an email fax service. These companies provide you with a Google fax number that you can use to send and receive fax. This virtual number works the same as a common fax number, with the difference that it can convert incoming transmissions into a digital file.
This way of faxing has become very popular in the past decade, given that it is very easy and fast to use. After all, sending a fax this way isn’t much different from sending a common email.
On the other side, you don’t have to do anything to receive faxes, these are automatically redirected to your Gmail account, where they arrive as Adobe PDF files.
Using a Google Docs plug-in
You can also send faxes directly from Google Drive and Docs by using a plug-in in charge of adding fax features on the sidebar. This option is perfect for those offices and users that work with cloud-based documents.
With a plugin it is possible to fax directly from the document interface. Installing one of these plugins is free, but they work with a pay-per-fax model, hence why it is a good choice for users who only need to fax once in a while. A plugin is different from an app in the sense that it doesn’t require a hard installation on your computer. Instead, it is installed and uploaded to your online Google account.
The biggest downside about this way of faxing online is that it doesn’t allow you to receive faxes. Also, if you have to deal with high fax volumes per month, you could end up paying more than the monthly cost of a service subscription.
Gmail fax services also let you fax Google Docs files, but this is done via your provider’s fax interface.
Using a Google Chrome Add-on
Another way to fax using a Google product is through a Chrome add-on. There are a handful of services that let you add fax capabilities to your Chrome browser by installing a free add-on.
This way of faxing is similar to the one we have discussed before. Once you have downloaded and installed the add-on on your browser, you’ll find a fax button on the toolbar. Pressing it will prompt the appearance of a pop-up sidebar, with all the fields you need to fill out to send your fax.
In this case the documents you want to fax will have to be uploaded from your hard drive. Once you have filled all the details and get ready to send the fax, you will need to pay for it. Like Docs plugins, these add-ons work with services that charge you per page on a fax, and is limited to USA and a few other countries.
Besides working with Chrome, this method doesn’t really integrate with other Google services, and offers no way to receive fax online. These services don’t provide digital fax numbers, so it is only good for sending fax.
These are the different ways you can replace a Google fax app. If I have to recommend one method it is faxing from Gmail. Getting started is very easy, and here you will find plenty of tutorials that will help you find the best service to fax for free.
If what you are looking is to send the occasional fax, you are better off with one of the other two options. It depends on where you have your documents stored.