Learn how to create and edit Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides without an internet connection in Chrome or on Android and iOS devices.
While Google Docs excels at collaboration online, you can also use Docs offline. Whether you're offline due to your location, personal preference, or a connection problem, you may 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 edits you make while offline will sync when you connect to the internet.
SEE: Working remotely: A professional's guide to the essential tools (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
To enable offline capabilities, you'll need to connect online first and adjust a setting. Follow the steps below to enable offline work.
Note: If you use G Suite, an administrator will need to allow offline access from the Admin console. To do this, the G Suite administrator will sign into https://admin.google.com, and then go to Apps | G Suite | Drive & Docs | Features & Apps | Allow Users To Enable Offline Access. If you find you can't work offline with your G Suite account, contact your organization's G Suite administrator—some administrators may choose to prevent offline work in order to protect organizational data.
How to work offline with Docs, Sheets, or Slides in Chrome
- You need to install Chrome on a laptop or desktop system in order to work with Docs offline.
- If you aren't already signed in with your Google account, sign in to Chrome or go to https://drive.google.com and sign in.
- Install the Google Docs Offline Chrome extension. If a Remove From Chrome button displays when you follow the link to install the extension, then the extension is already installed.
- Go to https://drive.google.com/drive/settings, check the box next to Offline to enable your system to Create, Open And Edit Your Recent Google Docs, Sheets, And Slides Files On This Device While Offline (Figure A). The system will automatically make most files you've worked with recently available offline. This process may take a bit to complete.
5. If you choose to make a Docs, Sheets, or Slides file available offline, go to Select File | Make Available Offline when you have the file open (Figure B).
6. To see which files are available to use offline in Google Drive on the web, open https://drive.google.com, select the offline indicator icon (in the upper right area), and enable the Offline Preview slider (Figure C). Files and folders available for offline use will display in a darker font, while files not yet available for offline use will display in a lighter font.
7. After Drive offline access has been enabled, you can open https://drive.google.com and select File | New | choose Docs, Sheets, or Slides, and then Blank Document to create new files while offline.
How to work offline with Android or iOS Docs apps
- Install the Google Drive app for Android or iOS, along with each corresponding editor app you want to use (Google Docs: Android, iOS; Google Sheets: Android, iOS; and Google Slides: Android, iOS).
- If you aren't already signed in with your Google account in one of these apps, open the Google Docs app and sign in.
- Tap to open the Google Docs app, tap the icon of three horizontal lines in the upper left corner, and then tap Settings. Enable the slider next to Make Recent Files Available Offline (Figure D).
4. The system will automatically make most files you've worked with recently available offline.
5. Within each app, you may choose to make a specific file available offline. While viewing the list of files, tap the three-dot menu in the lower corner next to a file, and then select or enable Available Offline. Alternatively, when you have a file open, tap the three dot menu in the upper right, and then select or enable Available Offline (Figure E).
6. To see which files are available to use offline in any of these mobile apps, tap the icon of the three horizontal lines in the upper left, and then tap Offline. Only items available for offline use will display (Figure F).
7. In the mobile Docs, Sheets, and Slides app, you can always tap the + icon in the lower right to create a new file. This new file will be saved and sync to Google Drive the next time the app connects to the internet.
Have you worked with the updated offline mode that Google launched in April 2019? If so, has this made accessing and editing offline Docs, Sheets, and Slides easier? How has offline editing of Docs, Sheets, and Slides worked for you on mobile devices? Let me know your experience in the comments or Twitter (@awolber).
- Google Drive: Tips and tricks for business professionals (Tech Pro Research)
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- How to work offline with Google Drive files (TechRepublic)
- How to make a single file available offline in Chrome OS (TechRepublic)
- How to use Gmail offline (TechRepublic)
- Google Drive users: This is your new Android, iOS makeover for faster file access (ZDNet)
- Google to Gmail users: Here's how you turn on new offline working, Smart Compose (ZDNet) How-To Tips: More easy-to-follow tutorials (TechRepublic on Flipboard)