How to make a single file available offline in Chrome OS

If you need to work with files offline, Chrome OS has you covered. The process is simple, reliable, and as cloud-friendly as it gets.

One of the biggest complaints that naysayers bring against Chromebooks is that they require a network connection to function. Although that is true for many features of Chrome OS, it does not mean a lack of network connectivity renders the platform useless. In fact, you can still be productive on a Chromebook even without an internet connection.

This is important for anyone using such a device on the go. When work needs to get done, you got to be able to work on documents, and just because you're using a Chromebook doesn't mean that can't happen.

Case in point: Offline files.

SEE: Google Drive: Tips and tricks for business professionals (Tech Pro Research)

I want to walk you through the process of making a single file available offline on your Chromebook. The process is simple and allows you to make as many files as you need available for offline work.

What you need

I'll demonstrate on a Chromebook Pixel 2015 running Chrome 71.0.3558.0. However, this process should function the same, no matter the device you're using (so long as it's a Chromebook). To that end, all you need is a working Chromebook with an internet connection (to start).

Offlining a file

The process for offlining a file is simple. Log into your Chromebook, and click the menu button at the bottom left of the desktop. In the search field type docs and then open the Google Docs entry. This will open Chrome to Of course, you could make this easier, by simply opening Chrome to the Google Docs webpage.

Once in Google Docs, navigate to the file you want to make available offline. When you find that file, you'll notice a menu button in the bottom right corner of the file icon. Click that button and then, in the pop up (Figure A), click the slider to the ON position.

Figure A

Figure A

Enabling the file for offline editing.

Once the file has been made available for offline editing, you will see a new gray circle with a checkmark, indicating it is ready.

Accessing offline files

You don't necessarily want to access the offline files from within Chrome. Instead, click on the desktop menu button and open the Files app. In the left navigation, click to expand the Google Drive entry and then click Offline (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

Offline files listed in the Files app.

You should now see the file you just made available offline. Double-click that file, and it will open in Chrome (in offline mode). You can edit the file to your heart's content. The second your Chromebook has an internet connection, it will then sync to your Google Drive cloud account, such that all changes are updated in the online version.

Not as useless as you think

Chromebooks have been around for a long time. So too has the stigma of their inability to function without a network connection. However, if you need to work with files offline, Chrome OS has you covered. The process is simple, reliable, and as cloud-friendly as it gets.

Also see

Image: Jack Wallen

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website

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