This post was last updated on November 4th, 2021 at 04:12 pm
Ever since Steve Jobs used a Hulu hoop to prove that a MacBook with Wi-Fi could get online without wires, we’ve dreamed of simpler technology. That was two decades ago. Today’s smartphones, which essentially put a wire-free supercomputer in your pocket, are that dream realized. And an almost-ironic melding of ancient and modern tech will allow you to send a fax over wi-fi using one of these devices.
How to Fax Over Internet and Wi-Fi
There are traditional fax machines that allow you to fax over the internet. You might even have an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier/fax machine capable of this. However, this feature typically requires installing some software and figuring out that cryptic LED printer menu. An infinitesimally easier way to fax over the internet is with Gmail.
I Can Fax With Gmail?
In fact, sending a fax with Gmail is identical to sending an email. You’ll barely realize you’re faxing. To do it, you will need three things:
A Gmail Account
To send a fax through Gmail, you need a Gmail account. If you do not already have one, they are free and take only moments to sign up for. It’s probably time for you to upgrade how you email, anyway.
An Internet Fax Account
Though Gmail is the front-edge of email functionality and ease-of-use, it does not have a built-in fax function. However, a fax account connected to your Gmail address solves this. There are a number of services that will provide this, but we recommend RingCentral for its sheer ease-of-use, among other factors:
- Integrates directly with Gmail
- You get your own fax number
- Sending/receiving is literally just an email
- Generous 30-day free trial
Documents Must Be Digital
This sounds more complicated than it is. Basically, to fax a document through Gmail, you attach it to the email just like you would any regular email. This means the documents have to be on your device in an attachable format, such as a Word document or a PDF file. If your document is paper, you will need to scan it.
Turn Your Phone Into a Scanner
This brings us back to clunky devices in our home office. If you have a scanner, great. If you don’t have a scanner, there are easy-to-use apps that turn your smartphone’s camera into a pocket scanner. You literally just take a picture of each page in your document and the phone does the work. It’s often a higher-quality scan than a desktop scanner. Both Dropbox and iCloud have these functions built right in.
How Easy Is This?
With a RingCentral account, sending a fax is as easy as sending an email. In fact, the process is exactly the same. Start an email. Attach the files you want to fax. Your “subject” line becomes a fax cover sheet.
You address the email with the recipient’s fax number (including country and area code), followed by @rcfax.com. Thus, if your recipient’s fax number is 1-555-867-5309, you “Gmail” your fax to them at email@example.com. It’s that easy. Any faxes you receive through Gmail show up with the same address format, showing the sender’s fax number from @rcfax.com.
Fax to the Future
It’s amazing to think of how many devices that little slab of metal and glass in your pocket can replace. Paper notepads, printers, cameras, fax machines, and scanners, to name a few. Now, if we could just extend that battery life by a few more days, we’d truly be in Steve Jobs’ future!