Email technology allows us to reach people with a speed never experienced before. Services like Google's Gmail have replaced older ways of communicating, helping us communicate with people hundreds of miles away from us. But… has email replaced faxing?
There are companies of all sizes that still rely on fax for important documents. Luckily, nowadays that doesn’t mean you need a fax machine. Instead, you can send fax from your Gmail account and combine the best of fax technology with the best of email technology, without the need of additional equipment like a fax machine or a multi-function printer. Let's take a look at how you can send your first fax online!
Sending a Fax With Gmail
For this tutorial you'll need account with an online fax service that allows faxing by email. These services are able to convert email to fax by linking a virtual number to your email address.
If you know how to send a simple email, you've already got 90% of the process down. There are only a few minor differences that you have to keep in mind when sending faxes from email:
You need to follow these steps whenever you want to fax via Google Mail:
- 1Click the COMPOSE button. Start by creating a new email message by clicking on the big red COMPOSE button on the top-left corner of Gmail's website.
- 2Enter the recipients' fax number in the TO field. Type the number along with its area code on the To field of the message, where you usually enter an email address. You'll need turn this number into an email address by adding @provider.com at the end. Just replace provider.com with the domain you are instructed to use by your online fax provider. For example, if you want to send a fax to the number +1 (408) 999 3333 and your fax provider is eFax, the address you include in the To field should look like this: email@example.com (which is their faxing domain).
- 3Add the cover page contents. If you want to add text that will act as a cover page for your fax, you can do it on the Subject field or directly on the Body of the message. The service will interpret this as the cover sheet and send it prior to the contents of the fax. You can add special instructions or additional information related to the fax contents. Your digital fax service will also provide cover templates if you don't want to send a plain one.
- 4Attach your document(s) to be faxed. Just click on the paperclip icon and pick a digital file from your computer. Make sure the file can be converted by your Gmail fax service. Among the common file types that can be converted you have DOC, JPG, XLS, PDF, TXT, TIFF, BMP, GIF, but there dozens of additional ones. In some cases you can pull documents directly from your Google Drive account by clicking on the icon the left of the attachment button (see graphic below).
- 5Press Send. You’re almost done, all you have to do is click the Send button and it’s off to its destination!
It doesn’t take more than 60 seconds to fully send the document. Once it has been completed, you receive a confirmation on your email. You don't have to worry about dealing with any errors while sending the fax, services usually re-try sending the fax up to three times before reporting to you on an issue.
Create a Free Online Fax Service Account
We recommend starting off with a service that allows you to create a free account like RingCentral and eFax, which let you fax for 30 days free of charge. It's also a great way to try out the rest of features that make of email faxing such a powerful tool.
You may have found that there are websites that let you fax for free over a webpage. I wouldn't recommend using them unless you need to send an urgent fax or if you just want to send a non-important document. These webpages, useful as they are for some people, don't give you any option to receive faxes on your email (you can only do it through a web form), or to get a fax number at all. In addition, some of them send first a cover page with ads, something that looks very unprofessional in our opinion.
Why Should You Give It a Try?
As times are changing all that's left for us is to adapt. There is no better way to adapt than to implement what's new to what we already have.
Learning how to fax with your email will give you an edge over other companies that use traditional methods. You’ll cut the time you spend faxing, while breaking free from all the issues that plagued fax machines, like paper jams and poor document quality. At the same time it will help you save money that used to be spent in equipment, supplies and additional fax lines. You can even send free fax online if you want to at the beginning!