The fax machine isn’t completely dead, as you probably know if you’re reading this. Somebody asked you to fax something over and you have no idea what to do. Even if you had a fax machine, odds are you wouldn’t even know how to use it! It seems so bizarre to have to send a fax these days, but in some businesses, it’s quite normal. Fortunately, you can send a fax from Gmail with the right tools.
Gmail does not have any sort of integrated fax feature, so you can stop searching through your settings for hidden functions. In fact, on its own, email is completely incapable of sending faxes to fax machines. Fax machines are connected to the public telephone network, which is completely separate from email. So, you need a service that can act as a bridge between your internet connection and copper telephone lines.
Fortunately, there are tons of companies that have built that exact bridge! Most of them are VoIP providers, companies that issue virtual telephone numbers and allow you to route phone calls from your PC to a real telephone somewhere else. Test Drive Our #1 Recommended Choice and Fax Free for 30 Days!
VoIP providers support their customers by using data centers. These data centers receive transmissions made to and from any virtual phone number registered to the VoIP provider. Those data centers have connections to the public telephone network, so they can route a phone call from your account to a phone and vice versa. The same technology powers their virtual fax services.
So, how do you connect your Gmail account to a virtual fax number? There are a couple of ways. Some companies have an app that integrates with your Gmail account. Once you give access to the app, you can upload attachments and send them through the app to their final destination. However, not every VoIP provider has a full-featured app that can do this.
The app method is ideal if you use other services from the VoIP provider. For example, if you pay for a full calling package, you can make and receive calls from the app in addition to faxing. But if all you’re looking for is a quick fax from email solution, you might not need to go all-in on an app.
The downside of an app is you can’t really just fax from email. But some VoIP providers do have a way for you to send a fax directly from your Gmail account. These systems use a special email server. You draft your email and attach the files you need to fax. You’ll put the destination fax number before the @ symbol, after which you’ll use the VoIP provider’s fax domain.
This is one of the best methods, but you’ll need a provider that supports it. We recommend RingCentral since their fax system is flexible and works with both methods.