How to Use Google Docs Offline

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Google Docs is great, but because it typically requires an internet connection to use, getting things done when you’re offline can be challenging. If you’re using Google Chrome, an official extension named Google Docs Offline changes that.

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Note: Using Google Docs offline requires Google’s official Chrome extension, so you can only use it in Google Chrome. It works for Docs, Sheets, and Slides, but not Forms.

How to Use Google Docs Offline

First, you’ll need to install the Chrome extension Google Docs Offline. After installing it, you’ll find a new setting in each of the main Google apps that lets you set things up for offline use. When you enable that setting in one app, it becomes automatically enabled in all supported Google apps, so you don’t need to go to each app to enable it.

We’ll be working with Google Docs in our example, but it works the same in Slides and Sheets. In the app, click on the hamburger icon in the top left corner, and then again on “Settings.”

open Google Docs Settings

In the Settings window, toggle the “Offline” switch to the on position and then click “OK.”

Toggle Offline Mode

Doing this enables offline mode across all the Google Drive applications (Docs, Sheets, and Slides).

In an attempt to save space locally, Google Docs only saves recently accessed files locally for use offline. You have to manually enable it by clicking on the three dots icon to the side of a specific document, then toggle “Available Offline” to access your file from anywhere.

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Enable offline for specific documents

Any file that is available offline shows a grey check mark in the bottom left corner of your Docs, Slides, or Sheets homepage.

Now, when you open the file in offline mode, a lightning bolt icon appears at the top of the document, signifying you are opening the file while offline.

Offline Mode Icon

You can now create, open, and edit any files without connecting to the internet. The next time your computer connects to a network, all the changes you made are synced to Google’s servers.



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