While Gmail itself doesn't inherently provide a fax feature, several online fax services offer an email-to-fax option that works with any email provider. Most offer a free trial period after which you must pay for their services.
Faxing from an email account generally works like this: The body of the email message becomes your cover page, and any attachments -- usually a Word DOCX file or a PDF -- are sent as the body of the fax.
Select a Fax Service
The hardest part about faxing from email is choosing the online service itself -- the faxing part is easy. Check out various review sites to compare features and prices. All online fax services offer the ability to fax directly from their website, but be sure to sign up for a service that is capable of sending faxes through emails.
While several online fax services exist, not all provide the ability to fax via email. Here are three that do.
HelloFax is somewhat associated with Google. While you can send a fax directly from your Gmail account, you can also install HelloFax as a Google Docs add-on for Chrome with which you can fax documents uploaded to your Google Drive folder. As of publication, HelloFax offers 50 free fax pages with its Chrome add-on.
HelloFax is free for up to five pages per month, after which you are charged 99 cents per individual faxes up to 10 pages, and 20 cents for every page after. The paid plans range from $10 per month for up to 300 fax pages per month, to $40 per month for up to 1,000 fax pages.
EFax specializes in faxing by email and offers a wide range of features, including support for electronic signatures and secure, SSL-encrypted faxes. While it does not have a free plan, it offers a 30-day period trial with a post-trial cost of $17 per month for 150 pages of both sent and received faxes per month.
MaxEmail offers not only faxing by mail, but also voice mail among other features, which you can receive either as an email attachment, an audio file or by calling the voice mail number. This service is the least expensive, offering a 30-day free trial, after which you can sign up for a $24 annual plan, which includes a $10 activation fee and 100 inbound faxes per month. Note that for this service, sending faxes costs an additional 10 cents per page.
Send a Fax
Open Gmail and click Compose to create a new email message. In the To line, enter your recipient's fax number and add "@" followed by your fax service's URL, which is provided on the service's website. In general, omit all hyphens or spaces in your number.
Enter a subject line and text into the body of the email. Depending on your service, the subject line is either discarded or used as a cover letter title. The body of the email usually serves as the cover page and is always optional.
Click the paper clip icon to choose a file to attach to the email. Most email-to-fax services support Word and PDF attachments at the minimum and many support images, so check your fax service for supported file types.
Your fax service sends you an email confirmation when the fax completes successfully.
If you don't receive a confirmation, contact your fax service's support desk.