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How to use google docs offline

@bradyjgavin
February 12, 2019, 3:00pm EDT

How to use google docs offline

Google Docs is great, but because it typically requires an internet connection to use, getting things done when you’re offline can be challenging. If you’re using Google Chrome, an official extension named Google Docs Offline changes that.

Note: Using Google Docs offline requires Google’s official Chrome extension, so you can only use it in Google Chrome. It works for Docs, Sheets, and Slides, but not Forms.

How to Use Google Docs Offline

First, you’ll need to install the Chrome extension Google Docs Offline. After installing it, you’ll find a new setting in each of the main Google apps that lets you set things up for offline use. When you enable that setting in one app, it becomes automatically enabled in all supported Google apps, so you don’t need to go to each app to enable it.

We’ll be working with Google Docs in our example, but it works the same in Slides and Sheets. In the app, click on the hamburger icon in the top left corner, and then again on “Settings.”

How to use google docs offline

In the Settings window, toggle the “Offline” switch to the on position and then click “OK.”

How to use google docs offline

Doing this enables offline mode across all the Google Drive applications (Docs, Sheets, and Slides).

In an attempt to save space locally, Google Docs only saves recently accessed files locally for use offline. You have to manually enable it by clicking on the three dots icon to the side of a specific document, then toggle “Available Offline” to access your file from anywhere.

How to use google docs offline

Any file that is available offline shows a grey check mark in the bottom left corner of your Docs, Slides, or Sheets homepage.

How to use google docs offline

Now, when you open the file in offline mode, a lightning bolt icon appears at the top of the document, signifying you are opening the file while offline.

How to use google docs offline

You can now create, open, and edit any files without connecting to the internet. The next time your computer connects to a network, all the changes you made are synced to Google’s servers.

Google Drive now lets you access and edit documents when not connected to the Internet. See how to set up and use this new and useful feature.

Google has now made its Drive service more than an online storage product and productivity suite. You can now edit documents you have stored on Google Drive (or Docs, if you haven’t moved over to the new interface) during those moments — while sitting on an airplane or in a cabin in the woods or in a Wi-Fi-free coffee shop — when you are not connected to the Internet. And when you open that same document when you are back online, the changes you made while offline are there. (For some reason, Google is putting this offline access under the old Docs banner.) Here’s how to start using Google Docs offline.

How to use google docs offlineScreenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

To begin, Google Docs offline is available only in Google’s own Chrome browser. To enable offline access, go to your Google Drive page and click the gear icon in the upper-right corner and select Set up Google Docs offline. A window will pop up with a two-step setup process. Click the Enable offline Docs button and then for Step 2, you will need to install the Drive Web app for Chrome. Click the second blue button in the window and you will be taken to the Chrome Web store to install the Drive Web app.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

After installing the Web app, return to your Drive home page and you’ll see a notification pointing to the gear icon that informs you that some of your recent files are being synced and how to view them. To see which docs are available offline, click the gear icon and choose “view offline Docs.” It opens a new Google Docs offline tab in Chrome. Bookmark this page so you can access it in Chrome when you are without the Internet.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Google Docs offline shows you only Documents and Spreadsheets; Presentations, Drawings, and Forms don’t make the jump. And you can edit Documents but can only view Spreadsheets. And despite there being a grayed-out red (pinked out?) New Document button, you cannot create new documents in offline mode. Given the presence of such a button, I’d wager that this feature is coming soon.

Related stories

  • News.com: Google Docs goes offline
  • Rafe: Google Docs works, sort of
  • Getting started with Google Docs for iOS

I hope support for multiple accounts is coming soon, too. I have two Google accounts, and when I logged out of the first account with which I had set up Google Docs offline and logged in to my second account in Chrome, I was unable to get it working. I went through the same process, but it told me that both steps of enabling offline Docs and installed the Chrome Web app were complete, but it didn’t give me the link to open Docs offline. So, I am currently stuck using Google Docs offline with only one account, but I suspect this is a bug Google will soon work out.

Using Google Docs Offline

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How to use google docs offline

Lesson 26: Using Google Docs Offline

Using Google Docs offline

Google Docs is a great tool for creating and sharing documents online. It also has a useful feature that allows you to edit documents while you’re offline. This can be helpful if you’re planning on using your laptop, tablet, or smartphone somewhere without Internet access. Any changes you make to your documents while offline will be stored and applied to your files the next time you connect to the Internet. There are two methods you can use to work offline, and both are covered in this lesson.

Watch the video below to learn how to view and edit documents while offline.

Before you set up the offline features, you will need to be connected to the Internet.

To use Google Docs offline on your computer:

  1. For this method, you will need to use Google Chrome as your web browser. Go to drive.google.com , click the gear in the upper-right corner, then click Settings.

How to use google docs offline

How to use google docs offline

How to use google docs offline

To use Google Docs offline on your mobile device:

You can also easily make your documents available offline using your mobile device. For this method, you will need to have the Google Docs app downloaded onto your mobile device. It’s available for both iOS and Android.

    Open the Google Docs app, and locate the file you want to edit offline. Tap the More button.

How to use google docs offline

How to use google docs offline

Unavailable features while offline

While viewing and editing your documents without an Internet connection, there are a few functions and features that won’t be available.

  • You won’t be able to see edits online users are making to your documents.
  • You can’t share your documents with others until you reconnect to the Internet.
  • The spell check feature, adding images, and any add-ons you may have installed will no longer be available.

How to use google docs offline

G oogle Docs is one of the best free word processors out there in the market. The fact that it’s free to use and integrates better with your smartphone makes it a worthy choice for many users.

However, there is one feature that can be considered both its positive and negative aspect. Google Docs requires an internet connection to work and keep your data synced all the time. But there could be times when your internet connection goes down, or you might want to use Google Docs from remote locations.

Making the situation worse, if your internet gets disconnected while you’re editing a document, Docs won’t let you edit it further until the connection starts working again. That’s when you might think about ways to use Google Docs offline. Thankfully, you don’t need to search for long.

How to use Google Docs offline without internet?

To help the users in need, Google Docs comes with an offline mode that lets you edit documents without an internet connection. However, to use it, you have to do some homework in advance while you’re connected to the internet over WiFi or cellular data.

Follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. Open Google Docs in your web browser.
  2. Click on the hamburger menu button on the left-hand side.
  3. Go to Settings.
    How to use google docs offline
  4. Turn on the toggle button that says “Offline.”
    How to use google docs offline
  5. It’ll take a while for Google Docs offline mode to set up.

After that, you can open the documents you want to edit. When there is no internet, the document files in the list appear as a list instead of thumbnails.

In the offline mode, you can only edit the documents that are highlighted in bold. The faded ones might be “view only,” or their data isn’t synced to your computer.

How to use google docs offline

Other ways to enable offline editing in Google Docs

Alternatively, you can click the Turn On option in the notification that appears after the internet gets disconnected.

How to use google docs offline

Next, click on Turn on offline access. The offline mode will be automatically enabled after the internet becomes active again.

How to use google docs offline

Offline mode works in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides

You’ll notice that offline mode will be automatically enabled in Google Sheets and Google Slides. Also, you can access their documents in your Google Drive as well. This also means you can follow the same steps in any of these apps to turn on the offline mode.

You can work on your Google Drive files offline, but only if you take a few steps before you reach an Internet-free zone.

How to use google docs offline

For a free text editor, it’s hard to get much better than Google Docs. You can update your resume, work on a paper, or even write articles (like this one) right in your web browser.

With Google Drive, you can access all your documents from any computer or mobile device where you’ve signed into your Google Account. That makes working entirely in the cloud an enticing possibility. You can drop what you’re doing on your work PC and pick it up later at home, or make quick changes on your phone. As long as you have an internet connection, it’s super convenient. The rub comes when you lose your connection.

There are going to be times where you don’t have internet access but still need to edit a document. When you get on an airplane, or the internet goes down, all your work remains painfully inaccessible. Fortunately, you can get around this with a few quick steps so you can keep using Google Docs—and still have access to all your files—even when you’re offline.

Here’s how to set up Google Docs to work offline. The same instructions work for Google Slides and Google Sheets.

How to Set Up Google Docs Offline on Your PC

Install Chrome

The offline feature for Docs only works in Google’s own browser. If you’re using Firefox, Safari, Edge, or any other browser, download and install Chrome.

Sign In to Your Google Account

Everything you do in Google’s world is linked to your Google account, and Docs is no different. Sign into your account in Chrome after you’ve installed the browser.

Download the Google Docs Offline Extension

Chrome allows you to install browser extensions that add new features and enhance your overall experience. For offline access, this extension will let you use Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets even when you lose internet access.

Enable Offline Access

Open Google Docs and sign into your Google Account if you have not done so already. Click the hamburger menu in the top-left corner of the screen ( ), select Settings and enable the Offline toggle.

How to use google docs offline

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to continue editing and saving your documents whenever you lose internet access. Google will also download some of your most recent files so you can edit them even if you don’t already have them open. For older files, however, you’ll need to download them beforehand.

How to Set Up Google Docs Offline on Mobile

Enabling offline access for Docs is slightly simpler on your mobile devices.

Download the Apps You Need

Google offers separate apps for Google Drive, Docs, Slides, and Sheets on iOS and Android. Download the ones you need to the phones and tablets you’ll use while you’re offline.

Make Recent Files Available Offline

How to use google docs offline

On the Drive app of your choice, tap the hamburger menu ( ) in the top-left corner, tap Settings, and enable the “Make recent files available online” toggle.

When you enable the above toggle, it will apply to each account on your device. However, you’ll need to do so for each app, so repeat on the Slides and Sheets apps as needed.

The mobile apps will automatically detect which files you’ve used frequently and keep a local copy available for you to use offline. However, if you need to make sure specific files are available, follow the steps in the next section.

Make Specific Files Available Offline

By default, Google will try to save space by only keeping local copies of files you’ve recently edited on your device. However, you have a couple of options if you want to make sure that certain files are always available. On your laptop, you can download Google Drive Backup and Sync to keep a local copy of all your files, or just certain folders, on the desktop. This will make Drive function a lot like Dropbox.

How to use google docs offline

However, if you only want to download specific files, find the file you want to keep in the app. Tap the three-dot “More” icon ( ) and enable the “Available offline” toggle. Repeat for each file you need. You can also open the file you need and the app should download it, but it never hurts to make sure.

How to use google docs offline

When you have a file available for offline use, you’ll see a circular symbol with a check mark inside it. When you’re editing the file without an internet connection, you’ll see a circular symbol with a lightning bolt next to the document’s name.

Once you’re back online, changes will sync up and the symbols will disappear.

Google Docs is great. The days of paying through the nose for Microsoft Office are gone. I can use Google Docs instead (and its suite of other office apps), and have it synced on all computers. But if you are constantly on the go, you need to learn how to use Google Docs offline.

Learn How To Use Google Docs Offline

It’s not just for people travelling. If your wifi connection at home is spotty, Google Docs will not work until your wifi reconnects. When you lose your wifi, Google Docs freezes and you are unable to type anything anymore.

It’s not long before this error message gets immensely irritating.

But the error message tells you exactly how to fix it. You need to turn on offline sync.

What Is Offline Sync?

Quite simply, offline sync is when you have the Google Docs page on your computer and you can type away without getting that error message above. But the changes you make to the document will not be updated on Google Drive. For that, you need an Internet connection.

So offline sync saves the changes you make, and when you next get an Internet connection, the updated document will be uploaded to your Google Drive account.

How To Switch On Offline Sync

Google doesn’t make it immediately obvious how to switch on offline sync. There is no big red button or huge link with an arrow pointing to it. Instead, it is tucked away in the most obscure place possible.

The answer lies in the desktop version of Google Drive. Except it’s now called Backup & Sync. The irony is that you need to set all of this up while you have an Internet connection. You can’t suddenly decide when you’re offline that you want to use this feature. So some advance preparation is required.

Download & Install Backup & Sync

Go to the Google Drive website and click on “Download” at the top-right of the page.

How to use google docs offline

Click the “Download” link for the Personal option on the left-hand side. Now go ahead and install the app. There’s no need for me to go into all of the installation instructions here. Google gives you step-by-step instructions which are very easy to understand.

Switch On Offline Sync

Once you have set up Google Backup & Sync, go to your Drive account on the website. Click the Gear icon in the top-right corner and choose “Settings“.

How to use google docs offline

In the “General” section, there is an Offline option. Ticking this will turn on the Offline Sync. As I said, it’s pretty tucked away.

How to use google docs offline

From now on, when you have no Internet, you will not be interrupted in your typing. You can keep on going, and when your Internet comes back, a new version of the document will get instantly uploaded to Google Drive.

Make Sure The Documents You Want To Work On Are Downloaded

When you install Backup & Sync, it tries by default to download every single file in your Google Drive account to your computer. If you have a very active account, having local copies of every single file is going to cause chaos eventually.

So the best thing to do is to throw everything you don’t need into a new folder. I called mine “unsynced” (yes, I know, imaginative!). Then tell Backup & Sync not to download that folder (and any other non-essential folders). Anything not in a folder will get downloaded. These should be only the files you need to work on right now.

Go To Backup & Sync Settings

Go to the Backup & Sync logo in your menu bar, click it, and choose “Preferences“.

How to use google docs offline

Now go to the Google Drive section. This is where you can get specific about what folders you want synced.

Make sure “Sync My Drive to this computer” is chosen. Then choose “Sync only these folders” and deselect them all. Backup & Sync will now take those folders off your computer, leaving you with the files you need.

How to use google docs offline

Conclusion

This is such a useful feature that everyone should have it switched on. 24/7 uptime for your wifi is totally unheard of. You are always going to have downtime or you will at some point be travelling in a wifi dead zone. With this feature, your work doesn’t have to suffer.

Dilum Senevirathne

07 Nov 2020

Google Docs is arguably the best online word processor since it is incredibly easy to use. Also, you can comfortably collaborate with others. That said, it’s not a pretty picture with all browsers. For instance, if you use Google Docs using Safari on your Mac, you will run into a major problem—you can’t use it offline. So you won’t be able to access and work on your documents if you lose internet connectivity.

How to use google docs offline

The support for offline mode function in Google Docs is limited to Google Chrome. In short, you’ll have to install Chrome on your Mac if you want to use Google Docs in offline mode.

That said, you can also use Google Docs offline with Chromium-based web browsers (Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, etc.) as long as you are willing to use a workaround. But, that experience won’t be as polished as you get on Chrome.

Let’s set up Chrome and figure out how to work on Google Docs offline. We shall then look at what you must do to get offline Google Docs functionality in the officially unsupported Chromium web browsers.

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Install Google Chrome

Google Chrome is a prerequisite to use Google Docs offline. Although you may not want to have another web browser on your Mac, the convenience and peace of mind are worth the hassle.

That said, Google Chrome is quite easy to install on the Mac. Download the Chrome installer file and open it. Then, drag and drop the Chrome app to the Applications folder.

Open Chrome, and you can choose to sign into it with your Google Account at the browser level if you want to set up Chrome sync.

How to use google docs offline

Or, you can use the browser without signing into it. It would help if you disabled the Allow Chrome Sign-in feature (Settings > Sync and Google Services > Allow Chrome Sign-in). If you don’t do that, Chrome will automatically log you in at the browser level once you sign in to Google Docs later.

Chrome will also prompt you to set it as the default browser. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to do that. If you prefer your current browser for your main browsing activities, you can use Chrome just for working on Google Docs.

Add Google Docs Offline Extension

After installing Google Chrome, you must add the Google Docs Offline extension to the browser. As its name implies, the extension allows you to use Google Docs Offline. It is only available for Chrome, but you can also install it on alternative Chrome-based browsers as you will later on.

Head into the Chrome Web Store, search for ‘Google Docs Offline’ (or click the Download button above). Then, click Add to Chrome to add the extension to Chrome.

How to use google docs offline

Once you’ve done that, you are ready to start using Google Docs offline. But, you must first enable the functionality.

Enable Google Docs Offline

Load Google Docs in a new Chrome tab and sign in to Google Docs. If you are already signed into Chrome at the browser level, you do not have to sign in to Google Docs again.

On the Google Docs dashboard, select the 3-stacked lines to the top-left of the screen. Then, select the option labeled Settings. On the Settings pop-up that shows up, turn on the switch next to Offline.

How to use google docs offline

Finally, click OK to enable offline functionality in Google Docs. The web app will then start to cache the most recent documents offline.

That means you can load the Google Docs web app in Chrome and start working on your documents. The Google Docs Offline extension will save your changes offline. Once you reconnect to the internet, your changes will automatically sync with Google Drive.

Google Docs also lets you keep working if connectivity drops in the midst of working on a document. Again, the web app will save your changes offline and upload them once you re-establish a connection. However, you can’t create new Google Docs documents while you are offline.

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# chrome

Set Document As Offline

Additionally, Google Docs allows you to set any document to be always available offline. To do that, click the three-dot icon next to a document within the Google Docs dashboard and turn on the switch next to Offline Access.

How to use google docs offline

Alternatively, you can do that while working on a document — open the File menu and select Make Available Offline.

Alternative Chromium Browsers

If you prefer an alternative Chromium-based web browser over Chrome (such as Microsoft Edge, Opera GX, or Vivaldi), you can use Google Docs offline.

Start by installing the Google Docs Offline extension from above. Chromium-based browsers support Chrome Web Store extensions, so you should have no trouble installing it.

Follow by adding the User-Agent Switcher and Manager extension. That allows you to masquerade the browser as Chrome by modifying the user agent string.

Once you’ve done that, select the User-Agent Switcher and Manager icon and set the user-agent string to Chrome—you can do that for a single tab or the browser in general.

How to use google docs offline

Once you’ve done that, you can enable Offline functionality by diving into the Google Docs Settings pane. You can then keep working in Google Docs even after you lose internet connectivity.

But, the fact that you must always set the user agent string of the browser to Chrome, combined with the fact that the Google Docs Offline extension isn’t officially supported, may put your work at risk. Hence, it’s best to use Chrome itself to work in Google Docs offline, if possible.

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Don’t Stress Out

Google should have supported offline functionality in all browsers, but considering where they are coming from, it’s obvious that they want people to start using their browser. Chrome is absolutely worth installing on Mac if you love using Google Docs and want to make the best out of it.

Next up: Do you have issues with Google Docs not working offline in Chrome? Click on the next link to refer to the guide for fixing Google Docs offline problems.

Last updated on 12 Nov, 2020
The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.

Did You Know

Till 2017, Google had registered more than 2 billion monthly active devices on Android.

You can use Google Docs on your computer as well as Android and iPhone & iPad. Here are the two ways that you can follow to create, edit Google Docs without any internet connection.

How to use google docs offline

Google Docs is a great way for creating, editing and sharing documents. It typically requires an internet connection to use. However, you can also use Docs offline and continue to create and edit files with Chrome and Google’s mobile apps (Docs, Sheets, and Slides) on Android and iOS devices. Any files you create or edit you make while offline will sync when you connect to the internet.

There are two methods that you can use to create, edit Google Docs without any internet connection. But, before you set up the offline features, you will need an internet connection.

Here is a step by step guide you can follow to use Google Docs offline.

How to use google docs offline

How to use Google Docs offline on computers

Steps you can follow to use Google Docs offline on computers.

Step 1: First, open Google Chrome on your computer

Step 2: Next, go to drive.google.com.

Step 3: On the home page, click the Gear icon, at the upper-corner of the page.

Step 4: Next, from the given options, click Settings.

Step 5: In the Settings menu, check the box in the Offline section.

Step 6: Turn on the offline feature for any of your Google Drive files and click Done.

Step 7: Next, open Google Docs (docs.google.com).

Step 8: Once open, locate the document you want to edit offline.

Step 9: Click the three vertical dots and then click the switch next to where it reads Available offline.

That’s it! Now, when you turn off your internet and open Google Docs on Chrome, you will be able to access your documents offline.

Apart from the computer, you can also make your documents available offline using your mobile device. But for this, you have to download the Google Docs app on your mobile device. Google Docs app is available for both iOS and Android.

How to use google docs offline

How to use Google docs offline on smartphones

The process to use Google docs offline on smartphones is simpler.

Step 1: First, open the Google Docs app on your device.

Step 2: Next, locate the file you want to edit offline.

Step 3: Tap the More icon (three dots).

Step 4: Now, from the given options, tap the Available offline button.

Once you tap the offline option, the app will inform you when it’s done making the document available offline. You’ll notice a circle with a checkmark inside it will appear right next to the file. This signifies that your file is now available offline.

Hence, these are the two methods that you can use to edit docs without an internet connection. And once you’re connected to the internet, your files will automatically be saved on the cloud.

How to use google docs offline

Google Docs is an effective way for creating, enhancing and sharing paperwork. It usually requires an web connection to use. Nonetheless, you may as well use Docs offline and proceed to create and edit information with Chrome and Google’s cellular apps (Docs, Sheets, and Slides) on Android and iOS units. Any information you create or edit you make whereas offline will sync once you join to the web.

There are two strategies that you would be able to use to create, edit Google Docs with none web connection. However, earlier than you arrange the offline options, you will want an web connection.

Here’s a step-by-step information you may observe to use Google Docs offline.

How to use google docs offline

Steps you may observe to use Google Docs offline on pc | Representational picture

How to use Google Docs offline on computer systems

Steps you may observe to use Google Docs offline on computer systems.

Step 1: First, open Google Chrome in your pc

Step 2: Subsequent, go to drive.google.com.

Step 3: On the house web page, click on the Gear icon, on the upper-corner of the web page.

Step 4: Subsequent, from the given choices, click on Settings.

Step 5: Within the Settings menu, verify the field within the Offline part.

Step 6: Flip on the offline characteristic for any of your Google Drive information and click on Executed.

Step 7: Subsequent, open Google Docs (docs.google.com).

Step 8: As soon as open, find the doc you need to edit offline.

Step 9: Click on the three vertical dots after which click on the swap subsequent to the place it reads Accessible offline.

That is it! Now, once you flip off your web and open Google Docs on Chrome, it is possible for you to to entry your paperwork offline.

Aside from the pc, you may as well make your paperwork out there offline utilizing your cellular machine. However for this, you will have to obtain the Google Docs app in your cellular machine. Google Docs app is accessible for each iOS and Android. How to use google docs offline

How to use Google docs offline on smartphones

The method to use Google docs offline on smartphones is less complicated.

Step 1: First, open the Google Docs app in your machine.

Step 2: Subsequent, find the file you need to edit offline.

Step 3: Faucet the Extra icon (three dots).

Step 4: Now, from the given choices, faucet the Accessible offline button.

When you faucet the offline possibility, the app will inform you when it is executed making the doc out there offline. You may discover a circle with a checkmark inside it’ll seem proper subsequent to the file. This signifies that your file is now out there offline.

Therefore, these are the two strategies that you would be able to use to edit docs with out an web connection. And when you’re related to the web, your information will mechanically be saved on the cloud.