How to Enable and Set Up Google Docs Offline

790756 How to Enable and Set Up Google Docs Offline

Working on documents, spreadsheets, or slides when you don’t have an internet connection can be frustrating. Fortunately, Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides have offline capabilities. You can enable offline access to continue viewing and editing files stored in Google Drive even when you are offline.

Here is a step-by-step guide to get offline access set up for Google Docs, along with tips for using Google Docs offline effectively.

Enabling Offline Access in Google Docs

To work with your Google Drive files offline, the first step is enabling offline access:

  1. Open Google Drive in your Chrome or Edge browser and click on the Settings gear icon in the top right.
  2. Under the Offline section, check the box next to Create, open, and edit your recent Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings files while offline. Enable offline access setting in Google Drive
  3. If prompted, click Install to add the Google Docs Offline extension to Chrome. This allows the files to work offline.
  4. Refresh any open Docs, Sheets or Slides tabs in your browser to activate offline mode. You should now see a checkmark indicating the file is available offline.

Once offline access is enabled in your Google Drive settings, your recent Google files will be available offline when you lose your internet connection.

Making Specific Files Available Offline

In addition to recent files, you can also make specific Google Drive files available for offline access:

  1. In Google Drive, right-click on a file and select Make available offline. Make available offline option in Google Drive
  2. You can also open up a Doc, Sheet, Slide, or other file and select Make available offline from the File menu.
  3. The file will download for offline access. When ready, you will see a checkmark indicator on the file icon in Drive.

Now whenever you lose your connection, that file will be accessible to view and edit offline.

Using Google Docs Offline on Mobile

You can also access Google Docs files offline on your mobile devices using the Google Docs mobile app:

  1. Open the Google Docs app and go to Settings.
  2. Enable offline access for Recent files and toggle on any individual files you want offline access for. Google Docs app offline settings
  3. When viewing a file, tap the three dots in the corner and choose Make available offline to download that file.
  4. Edited files will sync changes back to Google Drive once your device is connected to the internet again.

So with a few taps, you can set up mobile offline access as well.

Tips for Working with Google Docs Offline

Here are some tips to make the most of Google Docs’ offline capabilities:

  • You need to initially set up offline access while connected to the internet and signed into Chrome or Edge. Offline won’t work in incognito or guest mode.
  • You have to enable offline access independently on each laptop, desktop computer, or mobile device you want to use it on.
  • While offline capabilities are extensive, some Google Docs features are unavailable when working offline, like comments, version history, and some add-ons or third-party integrations.
  • Any changes or edits made to Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc. while offline will sync back up to Google Drive once you regain an internet connection. No changes are lost.
  • By default, only your recent files will work offline. If you need specific files available offline, add them individually through Drive or the Docs mobile app.
  • On mobile devices, enable offline access in the Google Docs app settings. Then tap the three dots menu on a file to make that file available offline.

Pro Tip: Install the Google Docs Offline Chrome extension even if not prompted. This allows Docs, Sheets, and Slides to work completely offline with full editing capabilities.

Offline Use Cases for Google Docs

There are a few common situations where Google Docs’ offline features come in handy:

  • Traveling: Working on a plane, train, bus or car without WiFi access
  • Limited connectivity: Continuing to access files at conferences, remote areas or developing countries with limited internet
  • Spotty connections: Hotels, cafes or other locations with slow, unreliable WiFi
  • Disaster planning: Accessing recent Google Drive files after emergencies when internet access may be disrupted

The offline capabilities mean you can stay productive on documents no matter where you are. Edits synchronize seamlessly once back online.


With a few quick settings toggles, you can enable offline access to your recent or selected Google Drive files. This lets you seamlessly continue working on Docs, Sheets, Slides and more when not connected to the internet.

On desktop, enable offline access in Google Drive and install the Google Docs Offline Chrome extension. On mobile, turn on offline access in the Google Docs app settings.

While offline, your changes will sync back up to Drive once your device reconnects to the internet. So don’t let spotty connections stop your productivity!

I hope this tutorial gave you a good overview of how to set up Google Docs for offline usage. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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