Over the past 10-15 years, Google has become a household name. "Just Google it!" "Can you share that with me on Google?" and "I'll create a Google Docs that we can all contribute to" are probably familiar phrases that you hear on a daily or weekly basis. Google is everywhere and can be used for everything, whether it's Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, or Google Calendar.
Another popular piece of technology that has been around for much longer is the fax machine. Invented in 1842, the fax machine has been used in offices and households alike for centuries to send and receive documents. Although the fax machine is not used as often as it once was, there are still many businesses that use them, so wouldn't it be nice to be able to send a fax to someone without having a fax machine yourself? This is where Google comes in.
Most people these days have a Gmail account, but did you know that Gmail can be used with online faxing? Although Google does not have their own faxing feature, Gmail can be used with other online faxing tools so that you can fax a document right through your Gmail account, just like a regular email. The process is easy, especially if you have used Gmail before, and can be cheap or even free. Follow this guide to find out how to start faxing through Gmail today.
Choose an Online Fax Provider
Because Gmail does not have its own faxing feature, the first step is to find an online fax provider that can be used with Gmail. If your business is already using a Business VoIP provider such as RingCentral or Nextiva, you're in luck; these services already have an online fax service built in. If not, you may be able to find a 30-day free trial from one of these (or other) providers so that you can send an unlimited number of faxes in the first 30 days. Another provider that is just for online faxing, eFax, offers a 30-day free trial as well.
There are also other free online faxing services that will allow a certain number of faxes for free. However, if you go above the limit, you may have to pay a fee. These services also do not usually provide extra features such as the ability to schedule your fax delivery, and may not even provide the ability to send faxes through email, but make you go through their web portals. One provider, HelloFax, even has an add-on for Google Chrome that allows you to send documents on your Google Drive as a fax. Take some time to search through the online fax providers to determine which one is right for you before moving on to the next step.
Connecting with Gmail
Once you have selected your online faxing service, the rest of the process is pretty simple, and will be familiar to those who have used Gmail before. Sending a fax from Gmail is similar to sending a regular email, except for two differences: instead of entering an email address to send the email to, enter the receiving fax number followed by "@YourFaxProvider.com"; and instead of typing out your email, attach the fax as a document to the email.
Follow these steps to send a fax through Gmail:
- Create a new email. Open up your Gmail account and click "compose" as if you were about to type a new email.
- Enter the fax information. First, it is necessary to find out what email address domain your online fax provider uses. This will usually be in any welcome emails sent or FAQ on the website, and will be something similar to "@YourFaxProvider.com". Once you have found it, combine the fax number of your recipient with this domain to create an email address (for example: 5551638937@YourFaxProvider.com). Enter this address where you would normal enter an email address, in the "To" line of your email.
- Attach the content of the fax. Instead of typing out a normal email in the box provided, to send a fax it is necessary to attach a document to the email instead. Compose your document, picture, or spreadsheet beforehand and save it as .doc, .jpg, .pdf, or any other popular format that can be attached to the email. Then, click the paperclip icon near the "send" button to attach the document that is saved on your computer, or click the triangle next to it to attach a document from your Google Drive.
- Create a Cover Letter. The space where you would normally type out your email can instead be used as a cover letter for your fax. This will be sent along with the fax as a separate document, so include any other relevant information here.
- You're ready to send! The final step is to just proofread your attached fax document and cover letter, as there will be no turning back once sent. Also make sure the recipient's information is correct and verify that you used the correct domain for your specific online fax provider. Now, you're ready to hit send, and your fax will be on its way.
Even though Gmail does not have its own faxing feature, the process to send a fax through Gmail is pretty simple. Once you choose an online fax provider, the rest of the process is about as easy as sending a regular email. Now you can send faxes from just your email, no fax machine required!