Sometimes you have to send a text message without access to your smartphone– maybe it’s charging, maybe you left it at home. No matter the reason, sending texts from your email account is sometimes necessary.
This guide will walk you through a few different methods of texting via email. If you find yourself sending texts through email often, you might want to download our recommended extension to make your life a little easier.
Sending an email as an SMS
Step 1: Using the email client of your choice, compose your email. You can use either your smartphone or your computer to do write it.
Step 2: Instead of entering an email address in the recipient box, insert the 10-digit phone number of the person you’re trying to reach.
Step 3: Once entered, tack on the appropriate “@gateway” address behind the phone number. Below, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common service providers in the United States and their corresponding gateway addresses.
Keep in mind that if you’re trying to send an email that’s more than 160 characters long, it will often be sent through the Multimedia Message Service (MMS). If the person you’re messaging doesn’t have a messaging plan that includes Multimedia Messaging, then they will not receive the message, or they may be charged an extra fee to open the message. Some carriers also offer email to MMS gateways — detailed in the table above — so if you’d like to send a message that’s more than 160 characters, use an MMS gateway instead of an SMS gateway.
One other thing to note is that some carriers don’t operate their own mobile networks. In the list above, Boost, Cricket Wireless, Republic Wireless, Straight Talk, Ting, and Tracfone are mobile virtual network operators (MVNO). This means they piggyback on other operators’ cell towers, depending on where you are in the United States. Because of this, you may sometimes need to enter a gateway address belonging to either Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, rather than those in the above list.
Download an extension for faster texting
There is a Chrome extension that is specifically designed to help you send texts from Gmail. If you use Gmail and send a whole lot of emails as text messages, this little extension is a valuable — and free — download.
The extension is called Send Your Email to SMS (text), and you can download it here if you are currently in the Chrome browser. All it does is simply add a little phone icon to your Gmail email window. If you type out the email that you want to send and then click the phone icon it will bring up your list of Gmail contacts and you can search through it to find the person you want to text. You also have the option to add a new phone number just by typing it in.
The email is automatically formatted for proper texting and replies to the text will be emailed back to that Gmail address, allowing you to successfully carry on conversations. It’s not that useful if you don’t use Gmail, but for regular users with a lot of contacts in Gmail, this extension makes email-to-text so much easier and more efficient — and you don’t have to worry about carrier codes. The app also allows you to reverse the process and get text alerts for important emails that you receive in Gmail, which may be nice if you are on the go but really need to follow a particular email conversation.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gmail and Google Calendar also tie in with the If This Then That (IFTTT) smart device management system. That means you can set up IFTTT to, for example, schedule a text using Google Voice, which may be easier than jumping directly into an email for some devices.
Use web app services (business-friendly)
If you want an alternative option for sending texts through email, web services can also help you out. We suggest Message Media because this web app makes sending texts very easy. It’s designed for businesses large and small and it can handle SMS, RCS, MMS, Messenger, and WhatsApp messages. You can try it for free, but you’ll need to sign up for a monthly subscription if you want to keep using it.
While this service is similar to the carrier codes that you can use, it comes with several additional advantages. You can get texts back with your original message to follow conversations more easily, and you can send texts internationally for business purposes. If you’re prepared to pay, it boasts a lot of additional, useful features such as alpha tags for identifying senders, text-to-voice, dedicated numbers, and other handy extras if you use texts to communicate for business.