Saving a Google Doc for working offline comes in handy whether you’re about to endure a long flight with horrible Wi-Fi, or need to get some work done without the constant distractions an active internet connection provides. Setting up and using Google Docs in offline mode is a breeze. You should do it immediately — as long as you use Google’s Chrome browser.
Unfortunately, if you use Safari, Firefox, or any other browser, you’re out of luck. But Chrome is easy to install and you won’t have to fully switch over to Google’s browser if you don’t want to. You could just open a window when you know you want backup.
Install Chrome and the offline extension
If you use a different browser, you’ll need to install Chrome before you can set up offline sync. Download the installer and then follow the prompts — it’ll only take a few minutes, depending on your internet connection.
Once Chrome is installed, install the Google Docs Offline Chrome extension.
What can be saved for offline access?
You’ll have access to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides when offline sync is turned on.
Setup offline sync
After installing Chrome and the offline extension, follow these steps to complete setup for offline sync:
- Visit Docs, Slides or Sheets in Chrome. You only need to visit one of the three sites, as your settings will sync between the different services.
- Click on the menu icon in the top-left corner followed by Settings.
- Click on the switch next to Offline.
- An alert will show up at the bottom of the screen, letting you know offline sync is being setup. Once it’s done, another alert will let you know it’s been set up successfully.
Access your offline files
Based on the amount of storage you have available on your computer, Google will automatically download some of the most recent documents for offline access.
However, if there are files you want to make sure are always available offline, view your list of documents on the Docs, Sheets, or Slides landing page. Click on the three-dot button to the right of the document, followed by Available offline. A checkmark will show up next to the document to let you know the file will be available offline.
You can then edit or work on the files as you normally would, and when you get back online your changes will sync to your Google account and it’ll be like you were online the entire time.
Of course, there’s more to Google Drive and Google Docs than just offline sync. Luckily, we have a healthy roundup that makes it.