How to use and edit Google Docs without an internet connection

Cloud-based tools, such as those delivered through Google Workspace, are lifesavers when it comes to remote working and collaboration. However, cloud-based apps require an internet connection for full functionality.

Fortunately, Google allows users to view and edit Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides offline when an internet connection is not available. Using this feature, your productivity won’t suffer in dead zones, on an airplane, or during a storm. You can really work anytime, anywhere.

How to enable offline mode in Google Drive and Documents

Image shows Offline Mode setting in Google Docs

To use Google Docs offline, you must use the Google Chrome browser. Next, you need to install the Google Docs Offline extension which is offered through Google Chrome. To do this, open the link and then select Add to Chrome and then Add an extension.

With the Chrome extension installed, you are ready to enable offline mode in Google Drive. To do this, go to Google Drive and follow these steps:

  1. Select the settings icon in the top right corner of your screen.

  2. Scroll until you see offline. Check the box next to Create, access and edit your recent Google docs, spreadsheets and presentations on this device while offline.

  3. Select Done in the top right corner.

Save documents for offline access

Image shows Offline option available in Google Docs

The next step is to choose the Google Docs you want available offline. This means that you have to make every single file accessible offline before you lose the connection.

If you often lose connection, get into the habit of turning on offline mode for every document you create or edit.

Follow these steps to enable offline mode for a specific document:

  1. Find and highlight the Google Doc you want to view or edit offline.

  2. Search on a Mac de menu with three dots (on a computer, right click on the document) and click the switch bar next Available offline.

If you want to save some time, you can press Command (Mac) or Ctrl (PC) to mark and set multiple files to be available offline at the same time.

Search and edit Google docs offline

Once you are offline, you can access these documents as soon as they are synced. To find the documents you have selected to use offline, all you have to do is search for them.

To check and ensure that your documents are saved for offline use, select the check mark at the top of Google Drive while online. Then click the toggle bar to enable Offline preview. If you can open the document, it will be saved for offline viewing and editing.

You can also see which documents are available for offline use by looking for the checkmark next to each document name.

Editing your Google Docs

You can view and edit your document just as you would online. However, it’s important to note that offline mode offers basic word processing capabilities, not the full functionality you can expect when online.

After reconnecting, you may still need to go back to the device and format your work, add images, and so on. Once you’re connected again, Google Docs will sync your edits automatically.

Best practices for using Google Docs offline mode

While the offline mode is super useful, there are some best practices to follow. For example, try not to use incognito mode when opening offline files. Chrome extensions are disabled by default in incognito mode, which means your offline files won’t show up for viewing or editing.

You should also make sure that you are using the latest version of Google Chrome to take advantage of the offline mode. And if you’re having trouble syncing or taking files offline, try clearing your Google Docs cache.

Related: Google Docs Apps and Add-ons to Boost Your Productivity and Efficiency

Experience the flexibility of Google Docs offline mode

Although Google Docs is web-based, offline mode still allows you to make sure your documents are available to you at any time.

It’s just one of the features that make Google Docs and Google Workspace excellent choices for getting work done.


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