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How to Receive Faxes on a Gmail Account

Author: Richard Haase  Updated April 4, 2024

You can receive faxes on your Gmail inbox by getting a virtual fax number and linking it to your Gmail address.

This is a hands-down the most convenient way to manage incoming faxes, letting you receive them in an electronic format (usually a PDF file) without having to spend money on a fax machine or a specialized printer.

In this article you'll learn how to receive fax on Gmail in just a matter of minutes, how to set up fax alerts, how to store electronic fax and we'll even take a look at alternative ways to receive fax electronically. Let's get started!

how to receive fax on Gmail

How to Receive Fax to Gmail

Getting faxes on email is as easy as creating an account with any online fax service of your choice.  During this process you'll have the chance to pick your number and associate it to your Gmail address.  Just follow the steps below:

  1. Sign up with an online fax service. If you don't have an online fax account yet, we recommend starting out with eFax's 7 day free trial or any other services that offer a trial period.
  2. Pick  between a local and toll-free fax number. This number will be in charge of grabbing transmissions for fax machines, to convert them to a PDF file.
  3. Enter the Gmail address you'll be using for incoming faxes.
  4. Complete your registration by adding your account details.
  5. That's it! You are ready to start receiving faxes!

A copy of incoming faxes will also be stored on your online fax account.

How to Link an Online Fax Number to Gmail

When you sign up for an online fax service, you must choose a locar to toll-free fax number.  This is a virtual fax number that is responsible for delivering faxes to your inbox.  Associating both your number and your email is very easy, just go through the steps of the sign up process and enter the Gmail address you want to associate with your account.  Some services allow you to associate up to 5 different addresses that will receive incoming faxes at the same time.

You can change the Gmail address associated with your fax number at any time, and even use other types of emails to receive fax.  To do so, go to the settings area of your online fax account, look for a section called "Inbound faxes," and add the address(es) that are allowed to receive faxes with the service.

Setting Up Incoming Fax Alerts on Gmail

Receiving faxes is an important feature of online fax services. But unlike traditional lines that ring whenever you receive a new call, virtual lines work silently to deliver faxes straight to Gmail and your online fax account.

Constantly checking our inbox for new messages is not an effective use of our time, and there’s no need to do so. There are different alternatives that let you know whenever a fax arrives, you can receive notifications via:

  • Gmail Desktop & Mobile Notifications
  • Notifier Plugins
  • Mobile App
  • SMS

Gmail Notifications for Desktop & Mobile

Gmail lets you receive notifications when faxes arrive straight from your browser by showing a small pop-up window and/or sound. You can also choose to enable notifications on your mobile phone using Gmail’s mobile app. These notifications also let you know if the transmission was successful after you send faxes.

For this method to work properly, you should use Gmail to fax exclusively. Don't mix common emails with faxes.

gmail desktop notification settings

Here’s how to enable desktop notifications:

  1. Go to Settings (shown as a gear icon on the upper-right part of your screen).
  2. Under the General tab, you’ll find the “Desktop Notifications” option. You can choose whether to be alerted of all emails or just those labeled as important.
  3. Click on “Click here to enable desktop notifications for Gmail”.
  4. Chrome users will need to click “Allow” on the pop-up window. If you are using a Firefox browser, click instead on “Always show notifications” when the pop-up appears.
  5. Save your settings.

That’s it! Be sure you keep your browser open at all times to avoid missing faxes.

For Gmail mobile notifications:

  1. Open the Gmail app
  2. Tap on Menu > Settings
  3. Select the account you’ll use for faxing.
  4. Tap on Notifications > Inbox notifications
  5. Now simply set up how you want to be notified.

This method is easier to implement given that we are all accustomed at receiving notifications on different smartphone apps.

Mobile / Phone Alerts

To use a mobile fax app, download it on your phone and login using your credentials. Once in the app head to the settings area and configure the type of alert you want to receive. Now every time a new fax comes your way, you can tap on the notification message and you’ll be taken directly to the fax contents.

This is a good choice for people who want to keep their Gmail app for personal messages, but not all services have corresponding apps. Among those that do we can recommend eFax, MyFax, Fax.Plus and RingCentral. You may find other stand-alone fax apps on the market, but currently they only let you send faxes.

SMS Notifications

If you are using a service with no app, or don’t like the idea of having to install a new app on your phone just to receive faxes, you can opt to be notified via SMS text messages.

To access this feature you’ll need to enter your online fax account and configure it via the settings page. On the “incoming faxes area” check the option to enable SMS alerts. Then enter the cell phone number that will be associated to your Google fax service.

Note that these are only message alerts; you won’t be able to read incoming fax contents directly on the text message, but you’ll find a link that will take you to the corresponding page on your fax account.

Third-Party Gmail Notification Add-Ons

If you prefer, you can use a third-party solution to notify you on your desktop computer. Some of them are very flexible, letting you customize how these notifications are presented and even helping you work with different Gmail accounts at the same time.

If you are worried about your privacy, these add-ons may give you an additional signal of trust given the fact that they don’t track the fax messages you receive.

Notifier for Gmail is an open-source extension that is free to download, and include features such as: multiple account integration, RSS technology, support for Gmail tags and labels, browser integration and you can use it without giving your login credentials.

Another working add-on is Checker Plus for Gmail. This option has plenty of advanced options like text-to-speech, multiple Gmail accounts, voice notifications, fax managing through labels, monitoring of custom labels and an offline mode. If you want more configuration settings, this add-on is heavily recommended and it’s free to download.

Store & Manage Gmail Fax

Once faxes start coming your way, you need to pay attention at how you are storing them You should keep all your faxes stored in one place, especially if you need to access past faxes regularly.

The beauty of working with digital faxes is that we can have more than way of saving our faxes. Use them in combination to always have a backup of your stored files. There are three ways you can store your faxes:

1. Use Your Online Fax Account

This is the easiest way of storing your faxes because it is done automatically. Once you sign up for a service, you’ll receive space to archive your faxes. After you receive fax with Gmail, a copy will be stored in this space. To read them you only need to go login to your individual fax service and find the section labeled as “View Faxes”.

2. Use Your Computer’s Hard Drive

Once you have received a fax document, you can download it on your computer’s disk.

Go to Gmail, open the email fax message that you wish to download and hover over the PDF attachment. You’ll see some options pop up. Download it by clicking on the arrow pointing down (the Download button). Pick a folder in your disk and that’s it! You can also download faxes directly from your online fax account.

3. Use a Virtual Hard Drive

If you prefer to keep all incoming documents in the cloud, you can do so by using a virtual hard drive service with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and other similar alternatives. This alternative lets you access your faxes anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection using your computer, phone or tablet. Since it is all stored on virtual drives, you won’t be using your hard drive’s space, and documents will be kept securely.

Final Words


If you already have a fax number through a dedicated land line, you can keep it and move it to a digital platform. You'll have to request fax number porting, a process that takes a few days to complete while your number is propagated through the Internet. During those days, you can use a temporary fax number and avoid missing faxes.

If you don't have a fax number yet, you can choose between a local and a toll-free one. The availability of local numbers will depend on the city and country you are in, although if you are in the USA or Canada you will not have any problems finding them. These two types of numbers are offered for free with each new account.

If you do not have a number yet, you can choose between a local and a toll-free. The availability of local numbers will depend on the city and country you are in, although if you are in the USA or Canada you will not have any problems. These two types of numbers are offered for free with each new account; If you want some number of vanity, you will have to pay something extra.

Once you have completed the steps in this guide, your number will be ready to receive faxes from any fax machine. You can see the new faxes in your inbox and read them not only on your computer, but on other devices such as tablets and smartphones.
Qué Tipos Números Puedo Usar Para Recibir Fax?

That's all there is to do to start receiving faxes online. As you can tell, there is no need to make any changes to Google or have to install anything extra in our browser. Accounts will be linked through your provider's fax server.

This way of receiving faxes gives you a lot of flexibility, giving you even the possibility to choose what you want to print and what you can see simply on your screen.
Linking your Gmail Address to a Virtual Fax Line
As you can imagine, these services require a monthly subscription. However, if you do not want to spend money at the beginning, you can choose to create a free trial account with services such as RingCentral Fax or eFax. These allow you to test your basic plan completely free for a month, time in which you can receive faxes as described in this guide.
A Gmail account. Many years have passed since Gmail was an invitation-only service. Now anyone can create a new email for free.

I strongly recommend that you create a new email address just to send and receive faxes online. This way you’ll keep your inbox organized at all times, so you can find documents easily. The good news is that you can have more than one email account.
If your company depends on fax for many things, it is important to have a way to receive faxes that is fast, reliable and does not involve many expenses.

The Internet has transformed the way we communicate, serving as a platform for technologies such as email, VOIP calls and cloud storage. But it has also served to develop services that allow receiving fax through Gmail.

Although you can always opt for a fax machine, it lacks the speed and clarity of the fax via email, which is capable of being transmitted in a matter of seconds, without the need to install a land line or buy the necessary supplies.

In this article you will learn how to receive all your faxes directly to your email, without the need of a fax machine.