Online fax services let us take care of faxing digitally without the need of having our documents in physical form. Although we’ll still need a physical document from time to time, the truth is now we have total freedom to print only what is needed.
When you choose to receive fax by Gmail, all your faxes arrive as PDFs. This is a format that is accessible on all types of computers and operating systems. But over time they’ll start piling up in your Gmail account. It makes sense to take into account how we will be storing these digital faxes over time.
We have different alternatives: you can keep them on your hard drive, use a cloud storage solution like Google Drive, or you can just use the fax storage options available with your current fax service subscription. In this articles we’ll explore these different ways to store faxes.
Download it on your hard drive
This is the more direct way to store your faxes.
When you receive a fax via Gmail, it will arrive as an attachment. The “normal message” will contain the details of the fax transmission, but the actual faxed document is first converted into a PDF file and then attached to this message.
To download the fax, you need to hover over the attachment and click on the “Download” button, which looks like an arrow pointing down. Then simply select where you want the fax to be saved and click on Save File.
Keeping your faxes in your hard drive has the main advantage that only you can browse and keep them secure, and they will be available even when you don’t have an Internet connection. This can also be a disadvantage because if you want to access your faxes you’ll need to have your computer. It’s better to combine this method with the other two methods detailed in this article.
TIP: Create a New Folder for incoming faxes right from the start. Documents can quickly pile up and get out of control. Keeping things tidy will allow you to find documents quickly.
Save it on Google Drive
Drive is Google’s alternative to cloud storage. It’s basically a virtual hard drive that you can access anywhere. With Google Drive you can store, crete and even share documents with other users. Google automatically gives you 15GB of virtual drive storage that you can use to keep all your faxes on the cloud. It also offers additional space for a fee if those 15GB aren’t enough.
Instead of using your hard drive, you could just keep your faxes in this virtual space. Doing so is very easy. Again, you’ll need to head to Gmail, open the email fax that you want to store and hover over the PDF attachment.
Now notice that next to the “Download” button there’s a logo that says “Save to Drive”. Click on this logo and after a coupled of seconds you’ll get the message “Added to Drive”. Next to it there’s a link that says “Organize” and put it on the folder you are using for incoming fax transmissions.
With this method you’ll be able to access faxes pretty much anywhere. Simply login to Drive using any computer or download the Drive app from your smartphone’s app store.
Using your Web Fax Dashboard
Most online fax services automatically store your incoming faxes in their servers. To take a look at them you need to head over to your current fax provider’s member’s area, and then go to a section that should be named something like “view Faxes” or “Incoming Faxes”. Once there, you’ll find a list and details of all faxes currently available in your account.
Although this is a convenient way to automatically keep your faxes stored, there are some things we have to keep in mind. First, not all services offer this option, or they have very limited storage capacity. You should check this out before signing up for a service. It’s better to use a service with unlimited storage to stop worrying about faxes getting deleted.
This method is automatic, besides signing up for a service you don’t have to anything extra. But on the other hand, if you decide at certain point to stop using a service or to change your provider you could end up losing access to this faxes. This is where the two first options we’ll come in handy.
Take these tips into account when storing new faxes on your computer or virtual hard drive:
- Have a Gmail account dedicated just to receive faxes. It won’t only be cleaner, but you can take advantage of the 15GB of Drive storage just for incoming faxes.
- Sort your faxes by folder. Folders can be created on your hard drive as well as on your Google Drive. Sometimes searching faxes is not enough, if we have an idea of when we received them
- There are some services that can integrate with other cloud storage services like Dropbox, this is another great alternative to Google Drive, but it may require additional steps, and you can’t do it directly from Gmail.
Determining how are you going to store faxes your receive with Gmail is something that you need to do since the first day you use an online fax service. It will help you with your productivity, letting you find faxes quickly without having to rely on too many search commands.
We recommend using a combination of methods if you deal with important faxes. If you use these 3 alternatives at the same time, you’ll never have to worry about faxes going missing, even if you stop using your current fax provider at certain point.
If you are unsure how a service handles fax storage, it’s better to talk to a customer service representative or sign up for a test drive, if available.