This post was last updated on November 1st, 2013 at 06:32 pm
Sending or receiving documents through fax machines is really not ideal. Although I have had to share some of my documents through them too, they are however outdated as a communication tool compared to using the internet and its technologies. I generally prefer to fax from Gmail (an email service) instead of using a fax machine.
To send a fax through email is quite easy and very fast too. With it, I can work with my faxes instantly and would typically not have to deal with any machine related issues or problems like a busy line or paper jams.
Additionally, I would also be helping the environment by minimizing my office’s paper consumption. You may read on to know more about faxing through Gmail.
TIP To immediately start with using Gmail for your faxes, you may check out our Quick Start guide.
What You Will Need To Get Started
To fax through Gmail, you will need two items. The first item will be a Gmail account, you can get an account for free at httpmail.google.com. You may set up one or more free accounts for yourself, you can create an account right now too if you want.
You will also need an email fax service, which would allow you to connect your Gmail account with a fax server, in order to get your faxes like emails.
One of the key items that you will get from a fax service is a virtual fax number, you will need the number to receive your faxes through Gmail. The virtual number is usually given for free with your fax service account. Since the number works over the internet, you will not need a dedicated fax line at your office.
Sending And Receiving Faxes Through Gmail
Faxing through email is similar to sending email messages except for some differences, the following is an explanation on that.
The Recipient. Instead of using your recipient’s email address in the TO field of your message, you will need to use a number in the field. You will also need to use the extension of your fax email service with your recipient’s number too. Hence to send a fax to 3459876732 through the RingCentral Fax service for instance, you will need to use the number in the following format – 3459876732rcfax.com
The Document To Fax. With emails, the main part is the message, while with Gmail faxes the main part is the attachment. To fax from Gmail, your document can be added to your email as an attachment by clicking the paperclip icon at the bottom of the Gmail compose window. Fax services will generally allow you to fax different types of files, which can then be converted to fax files before they get to their destinations.
You would likely want to know what the message field can be used for when you are sending a fax. You may use some text in the message field as the cover page of your fax. You can use your own text or a template from your fax service.
Receiving Faxes. All incoming faxes are automatically received just like ordinary emails, this is a key and time saving feature of fax services. Once you have your faxes in your inbox, you may then categorize or tag them.
Fax to email services will generally provide you with some extra options for your incoming faxes.
You may be able to download your service’s app on your iPhone for instance in order to gain access to your faxes on the go.
Can You Fax From Gmail To Fax Machines?
The advantage of using an email to fax service is that the service can automatically convert different types of files to a fax-image format like TIFF, which is compatible with all types of fax machines.
A file can be converted the other way round too. For instance, if a fax is sent to you through a fax machine, it would be converted to a PDF file that you can easily print or read on your laptop, desktop etc.
The conversion is usually quick and would only take some few seconds. The process generally works in this manner
When you press the Send button, your file will be sent to your fax service’s server where it would then be converted to a compatible format. The converted file is then forwarded to your recipient using the number that was provided in the TO field of your message. Even if your fax service encounters a problemissue, it would continue to try and send your fax until it goes through.
Your Fax Number Options
One of the major benefits of using a fax service is that you will also get your own virtual fax number. Most fax services will generally provide you with three options when you are creating your account.
Local numbers. These are the usual local phone numbers. A lot of companies have some coverage throughout the United States, however if you are in another country, you may want to look for a local service or a service with an international network. A good example of this is eFax with a coverage in over 40 countries.
Toll-free numbers. These are telephone numbers that others can call without needing to pay for their calls. The numbers that may be available with these will depend on your country andor area too. You will usually have several toll-free numbers’ prefixes to selectchoose from. A toll-free number is ideal for communicating with your clients.
Your current fax number. Using “number porting”, your current fax number can be used together with an online service. It will generally take a few weeks for your number to work with the service however. Hence you will be given a temporary fax number to use for free.
Choosing The Right Gmail Fax Service
To get the best out of internet faxing, you will need to choose the right faxing service. Although a lot of services may claim to provide some integration with Gmail, some are however not very effective with it.
Some of the services we recommend for Gmail include RingCentral, Nextiva, eFax and MyFax. We recommended these services because they have a lot of experience with online faxing and are easy to integrate with Gmail.
Some of what you should ideally look for before signing up for an email fax service are
Free Trial Access
Most fax to email service will give you a fully featured and free account to use for at least a month.
No Hidden Fees
You should avoid any service that may want to charge you some extra fees compared to others.
You should also look for a service that would provide you with some good support in multiple ways at any given time.
You will need to choose a plan that would meet your needs, you should generally avoid paying for any option you may not need.
Is It Possible To Fax From Gmail For Free?
Some of our site visitors generally ask if they can fax for free through Gmail, you may also want to know if you can do this too.
It is quite unlikely that Google will add an option to fax for free to its service. The company had recently stated that it does not have any plan for a fax optionintegration.
Some online sites may allow you to fax for free, such services are however different from using Gmail for faxing. Generally this type of sites will only allow you to send a few pages per day for free. If you need to send more faxes you would end up paying more than using some other better service. Such free sites would also only allow you to send faxes and not to receive them. They will also not provide you with a virtual fax number to automatically receive your faxes.
Does TPC Gmail Fax Works?
There are a lot of sites on the internet that teach how to fax with Gmail using TPC (that is, The Phone Company). Using TPC would generally involve checking your coverage at www.tpc.intverifiy.html and sending a fax through Gmail with this email structureformat
This method is however not up to date and does not provide you with a way to receive your faxes as PDF documents in your inbox, hence you should really not waste your time trying to use it.
Send A Fax From Gmail Now!
You can use our quick start guide to send your first digital fax with just a few steps. You may check the guide out and some of the services that we recommended too. You can get in touch with me with your questions or comments through our Contact page.