How to Send Fax from Gmail
You don't need to keep using old technology to send faxes. You can simply send fax via your Gmail account in a similar way you do a common email message, by using an online fax service provider.
This way of sending faxes has proven to be not only faster but also more cost-effective, that's why there are so many businesses making the jump to digital faxing.
After signing up with a service, you send a fax by composing a new email, attaching the document you want to fax, and clicking Send.
There key differences between an email fax message and a traditional email, as you'll see in the steps below:
STEP 1: Click on the "Compose" button
Create a new email message by clicking on COMPOSE, the button located in the upper left corner of your dashboard.
You can also find this button on Gmail's app. If you are using the mobile version of the site, you need to click on the red button with an icon at the top of the page.
STEP 2: Enter the Fax Machine's Number on the TO field
Enter the 10-digit recipient’s fax machine number in the TO section, followed by "@" and the domain value specified by your current fax service.
For instance, if you need to send a fax to the number 1-555-555-5555, you'll need to type:
Below you'll find an example of how this looks when you are using eFax (@efaxsend.com).
If you are sending an international fax, add the exit code +country code before the number.
STEP 3: Upload the Digital Document(s) You Want to Fax
Online fax services are capable of converting a wide variety of file formats, including ubiquitous ones such as PDF, DOC, XLS, TXT and JPG.
To attach the document, click on the paperclip icon and select the file(s) you want to fax from your hard drive.
Fax services let you attach multiple files at the same time, provided they are under 20MB and don't contain more than 200 pages.
STEP 4: Add a Cover Page (Optional)
If you want to precede the fax with a cover page, just type the message on the Subject field.
The design of the cover page is configured on your online fax account.
STEP 5: Proofread and Click Send!
We’ve reached the final step, so double-check you have entered the right info and then press Send!
Your document will now be converted to a traditional fax file and then securely transmitted to the recipient's fax machine.
The process takes less than a minute to complete, after which you’ll receive a confirmation on your email with all the details of the transmission. This ensures the other part has received the document(s).
What Types of Files Can I Send as Fax?
Gmail fax services can convert dozens of file types, including common ones such as PDF, XLS, DOC, JPG.
File compatibility is an important aspect to take into account when picking a provider, after all, that’s a big part of what makes online faxing such a powerful tool!
The files attached to your email message are converted into a fax image, a TIFF file actually, and then forwarded to the receiving fax machine.
Common Compatible Formats
These are the file types that are supported by the vast majority of online fax services out there.
Each service has its own list of hundreds of compatible file types that are only used in certain industries or markets. Check out their FAQ sections for more information.
Adobe's Portable Document Format
Plain Text File
Joint Photography Experts Group
Windows Bitmap File
Compuserve Graphics Interchange Format
Hypertext Markup Language
Keep this in mind to ensure your file is converted to fax:
- Your attachment has a page size limit. In general, you can't convert documents that have more than 200 pages.
- The file must be named correctly to avoid conflicts during the conversion process. Avoid including ampersands and other special characters.
- Check the file size limit. Some services let you attach documents that combined weight less than 10- 20 MB while others let you work with large files like high resolution images.
- Files that work with macros won't be converted.
Benefits of Faxing from Gmail
The biggest benefit of using Gmail for faxing online is that it is simply the best email service around, and is compatible with all Internet fax providers.
Exclusivity was always a big plus when Gmail first appeared, but the tech company hasn’t stopped adding features since it was launched, and today many people use it because it’s free, it’s simple to use and works better than other providers.
- Creating a new Gmail address is quick.
- Ads don't get in your face.
- Includes 15GB of virtual hard drive.
- Finding messages and faxes is easy with the customized search.
- You can include more features by installing add-ons.
- A Great spam filter keeps your primary inbox clean.
- It's receives regular updates and improvements.
- It includes IMAP and POP Support to access Gmail messages on the software/app of your choice.
Is It Secure to Fax from Gmail?
Faxing with a machine on the other hand is relatively secure. The document travels directly to its recipient using an analog phone line, and there is no chance that this information gets intercepted. On top of that, you get a confirmation when your fax is fully printed on the other end, unlike modern apps that have the option of hiding this information.
But what if you fax from Gmail? If we are using the email channel, does this means that our documents are vulnerable?
Understanding How Gmail Fax Works
This is what happens when you send an email to fax:
- You compose an email message with an attachment
- The email goes your online fax service’s fax servers, where the attachment is converted into a fax file.
- The service encrypts this information and sends it to the receiver’s fax machine.
As you can see, you are not sending the fax to another email. You send it for conversion on the service’s fax servers which act as a protective “wall” against interceptions. The document goes then through additional security measures before reaching the fax machine.
The only way other people can read a fax you send is if your email information is compromised. That’s why it is recommended you use a strong password and change it at least every month. Gmail lets you know at the moment of creating your account if your password meets the strength criteria.
On the other hand the online fax service gives you maximum security. With additional options designed to ensure your documents arrive safely and privately.
Security Features of Gmail Fax Services
Password protection. On your service’s settings area, you can add password protection for faxes arriving to your email. enter and confirm your password, and next time a fax arrives your email, it will contain PDF protection, meaning only you can read its contents. The password can be changed or turned off at any time without accessing Gmail.
Encryption. Before your fax travels from the fax servers to the receiver, they will be protected with point-to-point encryption. This type of encryption adds a cover to your data, effectively hiding it.
Automatic fax removal. You can set your faxes to be deleted from your account after they have been opened. This option can remain active for scheduled amount of time.
Unique file types. There are some providers that have developed their own apps to open encrypted faxes. They basically deliver your fax in a unique file format, that you won’t be able to read unless you use the app or program. It’s a very ingenious way of handling additional fax security, although it depends on the operating system you are using.
Access Control. Corporate online fax services let you access all your faxes from a virtual drive. This cloud storage is protected using 256-bit AES encryption.
What About HIPAA Compliant Faxes?
If you work on healthcare, you must ensure your faxes are not only 100% secure, but are also HIPAA-compliant. The HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which states that:
“Individually identifiable health information should be protected with reasonable administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to ensure its confidentiality, integrity, and availability and to prevent unauthorized or inappropriate access, use, or disclosure.”
Luckily, the best fax services are able to provide this kind of security, but you have to ask for it at the moment of creating your account, or by opening what is known as a “corporate” account. The service must hand you a “Business Associate Agreement” for this purpose. In this agreement your online fax service will be determined as your HIPAA fax partner. The agreement is required by HIPAA HITECH.
How to Schedule Faxes on Gmail
Fax scheduling is a useful feature provided by email fax services. It allows you to set a time and date and forget about that important fax you need to send during the weekend. If your business does a lot of faxing, it can free up your mind and time to focus on other tasks.
There are basically two ways you can schedule your faxes:
- Using a Gmail add-on.
- Using your online fax account.
Using a Gmail Add-on
Gmail doesn’t have a way of scheduling emails, so we need to use an add-on for the job. Of all the ones we’ve tried, Boomerang is the best alternative.
This extension offers additional features besides email scheduling, like click & response tracking, reminders and read receipts.
To use Boomerang you need to download the extension here and sign up for an account. The professional account has a monthly subscription price, but you can test is for a month without paying a dime. After that, you can continue with a free account that lets you schedule up to 10 emails a month.
Here’s how to use it schedule your faxes:
- Install Boomerang on your preferred browser and log into Gmail.
- Click on Compose
- Follow the necessary steps to send a fax from Gmail (check out our tutorial if you need help).
- Click on “Send Later”. You can set an exact time and date to deliver your email fax, or you can use the options “tomorrow morning” and “tomorrow afternoon” to send it at 9:30 or 12:00pm respectively.
- Click on Confirm
Once you have completed your steps above, you can forget about the fax. You’ll receive a confirmation message as usual when your fax has been delivered.
Using your Online Fax Account
To schedule faxes using this alternative, you’ll need to log into your online fax account and access your fax sending options. It allows you to schedule an unlimited number of faxes, if that’s included in your service.
Another advantage is that is easier than scheduling a fax directly from Gmail, and you don’t need to install an extension or add-on. For this method we’ll use RingCentral Fax as an example, but it works the same on other providers.
To schedule your faxes follow these steps:
- Log into your online fax account with the service of your choice
- Head over “Send a Fax” or similar area.
- Add all the fax details, including number, attachment and optional cover page.
- Below the attachment area, you’ll find a field named “Send On”. Now just set the date and time you want to deliver your fax using the pop-up calendar.
- Click on Schedule.
Now you just have to wait for the fax to be delivered. Scheduled faxes will be added to the Outbox folder, where you can check its status.
Scheduling your faxes is a great way to improve your productivity and send documents to international numbers at the right time. With the right tools, it can be a breeze to send your faxes at a later date. Of the methods outlined here we believe using your online account is better, unless you are not planning to schedule more than 10 faxes a month.
Alternatives to Faxing from Gmail
Using your email is a great alternative to send a fax straight from your computer, but it’s not the only one. Online fax services provide other ways to send faxes:
- Via your online fax dashboard
- Via a mobile app
- Via add-ons and extensions
Each of these methods have different pros and cons. It’s a good idea to know about them, even if you prefer using Gmail to send fax online. You never know when you might need them.
Let’s get started!
Using Your Online Fax Dashboard
The dashboard is the main section of your online fax account. Besides being the area where you adjust your online fax settings, it’s also where you can send, receive and view all the faxes that has been transmitted using your online fax number.
First, you need to login into your individual fax service account, and then head to the “Send Fax” section. Then you’ll be on a page where you just have to fill the details of your fax including the fax machine’s number and where you upload the documents to be converted to fax.
Thanks to this method you can enjoy additional features. Depending on your service there will be features such as fax scheduling for later delivery, integration with cloud storage services (Google Drive, Dropbox, Box), and the ability to precede the fax with a custom cover page.
To finish sending the fax just click on Send and wait for the confirmation sent to your email.
Using a Mobile App
The ability to fax on the go was only a fantasy only a decade ago, but with the advances in mobile technology we can have a virtual fax machine right in the palms of our hands.
To fax from your mobile phone you’ll need to have an account with a service that offers mobile apps. Not all of them have apps, some simply prefer to give you a mobile version of their website, but you still have to use your phone’s browser.
The advantages of using an app over simply faxing with your email is that you can optimize your fax images, compose fax from photos and also add your signature with just a couple of taps.It makes the whole process easier, especially taking into account that you are using a device with smaller screen space.
The downside of this method is that some apps doesn’t contain all the features included in their desktop version.
Again, a confirmation message will be sent to your email once the fax has been received. You can also check out the confirmations on your app’s inbox or fax log.
A fax add-on will enable you to send fax from tools, programs or services that don’t have this feature.
In this case we are talking about add-ons for Google Chrome, Google Drive and its sub-apps Docs, Sheets and Presentations. These add-ons will basically add a new sidebar that you can use to send a fax without leaving the program.
The sidebar has a form, where you enter the number, the cover page text, and a simple button to Send the fax. If you work on web-based document and spreadsheet editing programs such as these, using an add-on is a great idea to save time.
Some services also offer similar add-ons for Microsoft apps such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. The concept is the same: an additional sidebar with fax options. Before trying out these apps though, make sure they are compatible with your current software version.
The downside of using an add-on is that you are pretty limited when it comes to picking a fax service. Some fax services only offer add-ons for one or two apps, while others only have add-ons to work with Google Drive.
Some services allow you to fax a couple of pages free from their add-on. That’s a great way to test if it works for you.
Any of these 3 methods will ensure you can send a fax from a computer or mobile device. Why we prefer using Gmail? Because it’s easy to migrate from email to fax, and at the same time once you get the hang out of it it is much faster!
The most important thing to take from this article is that you have options. Perhaps if you are always away from your computer, a mobile app sounds like a better alternative. In any case, your account will still be linked to your Gmail address at all times, you don’t need to change your settings at any point if you want to vary your fax sending method.
As you can see, it is extremely easy to get started with Gmail fax and it has plenty of benefits and additional features such as fax scheduling, broadcasting, mobile notifications, among others.
We hope this tutorial has been useful, don't forget to put it in practice! If you want learn more about Gmail and other Google products, please visit our homepage.