How to Set Up and Use Google Docs Offline

Google Docs is a text processing software to type content in. It is similar to Microsoft Word. It has been designed to work in Android,macOS, Windows, iOS, and Blackberry devices and also the Chrome browser. It automatically backs up the content, the user types in, to Google Drive, instantly.

And therefore, it requires a proper network connection, with access to the internet. Things might get difficult for the user when they have to edit a document but do not have access to the internet. But not if they know what to do. Yes, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more Google content processing applications can be used, even without an internet connection.  

How to Use Google Drive Offline

A lot of us do not know that Google’s online cloud storage facility, Google Drive can be accessed even without an internet connection. This can be done with your windows PC, Mac or other mobile devices. You can make changes or add new content to your Google Docs, Sheets or Slides while remaining offline. These changes will be made in the drive, once the device is connected to the internet. 

Things to remember before you make Google Drive files offline

This is what you need (to know) before you learn how to make Google Drive accessible offline. 

  1. The following steps are applicable only in the Google Chrome browser. 
  2. Once you enable offline access to files, they get downloaded offline. Ensure that you have enough space to accommodate the files on your computer. 
  3. These settings cannot be changed in the incognito tab.
  4. You’ll need the Google Docs Offline extension, which is available in the Chrome browser’s web store.
  5. You need a good internet connection. Poor internet can ruin or discard your changes made in the browser.
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What Does Make Available Offline Mean in Google Drive

Make available offline is a feature that enables the Google Drive user to access the files in their drive storage, even if their system is not connected to the internet. This feature is available on the Google Drive for Chrome and the Drive app on mobile devices. This feature lets you edit, view or work on your Google files offline, after a few simple steps. 

How to use Google Docs without internet on your PC

You need the Google Chrome browser to enable this feature. The process of prepping your system to provide offline access to Google Docs requires the internet to set up. Once it is done, you can use them offline. 

Google Docs Offline extension
  • Open your Google Drive account and select the cog icon on the top-right corner. This is the Settings menu.
Settings icon
  • You’ll notice a list of menus on the left. Select General.
  • Check the checkbox on the left side of Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Drawings files to this computer so that you can edit offline
Google docs offline settings
  • When you are finished, click on Done. Once these steps are done, you will be able to access the Docs, Sheets, and Slides offline. 

How to Access Files Offline in Google Drive

You can access files offline, only after enabling offline access for the files you need to make changes to, without an internet connection.

  1. Enter the Google Drive website
  2. On the upper right, near the settings cog icon, there is the Ready for offline option. It is the icon with a tick inside a circle.
Settings icon
  • Turn on the Offline Preview switch.
Offline preview

How to Set Up Google Docs Offline on Mobile (Android)

The offline use feature for Google Docs is not just for computers. It is also for the hand held mobile devices. It is easy to grant permission for the files to be edited offline. This is how you do it.

  • Open the Drive app on your phone.
Google Drive app in mobile
  • You’ll see three dots vertically arranged as an icon, to the left of every file. This will let you edit and modify the file’s details and content. Tap the icon.
  • When you tap it, you’ll see a list of options. In it, check the Make available offline option. You’ll receive an acknowledgment stating that the file has been made available for offline access.
Google drive offline access

How to Set Up Google Docs Offline on Mobile (iOS)

The steps to make files available offline in Google Drive, working in an iOS mobile or tablet is not much different from that of android devices.

  1. Download the Google Drive app from the Apple app store and open it.
  2. In the main page of the app, touch the Menu (Hamburger menu).
  3. Select the Make recent files offline setting and turn it on. This will allow you to access and edit the Google Docs after you make recent files available offline to view or to edit. 
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How to Set Up Google Docs Offline on Your PC

It is recommended that you download the Google Drive Backup and Sync software for your Windows or Mac computer. This can also be done in the chrome browser.

  1. Open the Google Drive site. 
  2. At the upper right corner of the main page, you’ll see the settings cog icon. Click on it and choose Settings.
  3. Check the offline setting checkbox.
  4. To edit these files offline, you have to visit the specific sites of Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides.
Google Drive offline access

Make Specific Files Available Offline

As a user, you can specify which files can be accessed offline. It could either be Docs, Sheets or Slides. Or it could be all of them. 

  1. Enter the Google Drive site.
  2. Right click on the files you want to make available for offline use. 
GDrive Available offline settings
  1. A pop-up menu opens. From it, enable the Available offline option.

You can always reverse this setting, by removing the checked Available offline option. 

Save and open Google Docs, Sheets & Slides offline

This is how you open a file that could be accessed offline, after enabling offline access on various devices. 

Computer

  1. In the Drive website, you’ll see the Ready for Offline menu on the top right portion of the window. 
  2. Turn on the Offline Preview switch.

You’ll be able to see the files which are available for offline access to the user.

Android Mobile

You can see the files, which are available for offline use, in the offline menu in the hamburger menu on the upper left corner of the Google Drive app main page.

GDrive settings

Make sure you are connected to the internet, to download the chosen file once before you start working on it, offline.

GDrive offline settings

iOS

  1. Open the Google Drive app in your Apple device.
  2. Touch the Menu (hamburger menu) and choose Offline. 
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The files which have been saved for offline use will be displayed. The user can see and edit those files, without cellular data or wifi. 

Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the Frequently Asked Questions about saving Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides and making them available offline. 

How do I get google drive back online?

Once you enable offline access for Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. You can always reverse them with these steps. 
Connect to a network with a good internet connection. 
Turn off the offline access settings in whichever device you use the Google Drive.
Once this is done, the files can longer be accessed without internet access. You would need to turn the offline availability feature back on. 

Where are the Offline Google Drive files stored?

The offline files are stored in the cache folder of Google drive. You can’t access them on your mobile phone without a third-party file manager, which can access files that can not be usually accessed by the UI’s file manager. In the computers, it is stored in C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Google\DriveFS .
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What kind of files can be edited and made available for offline uses?

Files like documents, presentation slides, excel sheets, PDFs, images, and videos can be saved for offline access.

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