How to use Google Docs or Google Sheets offline

How to use Google Docs or Google Sheets offline


Lack of internet access does not have to hinder your productivity. […]

Cloud-based productivity applications are incredibly convenient. They synchronize your data across all devices and, more importantly, they save every change automatically. (If you have never had the experience of losing work because you forgot to press Ctrl+S regularly, consider yourself lucky).

The highlight of Google Docs, Google Sheets and even Google Slides is that you can also edit your files offline. If you are not connected to the Internet (or have a limited or poor connection), you can continue your work. If you reconnect later, the changes will be synchronized.

The function is quick to activate, which is convenient because you can turn it on individually for each device. After that, you can activate the function for each document with a single click. And so it goes.

On a desktop or laptop computer (Windows, Linux, macOS)

In order for offline mode to work in Google Docs or Google Sheets, you need to use Chrome or Edge in standard mode. The option does not appear in Firefox or Opera, although the latter is a Chromium-based browser. It also does not work in incognito mode.

You can enable this feature in one of two ways:

  1. Call us or and then click on the hamburger menu icon at the top left of the screen. In the Offline section, click the Shift key.
  2. In a Google Docs or Sheets file, go to File > Make it available offline.

This screenshot shows the second method for activating offline mode as described above (c) PCWorld

For both methods to work, you must be connected to the Internet. If you need the Google Docs Offline extension, you will be prompted to install it. Once this is completed, you can activate the offline mode.

After the function is activated, you can activate it for any document. Navigate to either Google Docs or Google Sheets and right-click on the file, or go to File > Make available offline in an open document. To disable offline access, use one of the two same commands.

You will need to repeat these steps for each computer you use. This may sound annoying, but it is actually a good safety feature. All your offline files are stored locally, so only the documents you have selected can be downloaded from the cloud. You don’t have to worry about having copies of sensitive documents on every computer you use.

On Android or iOS

In the Google Docs, Sheets or Slides app, you can choose whether all your recent files should be available offline, certain files should be available offline, or both.

For recent files, tap the Hamburger menu icon at the top left of the app and then select Settings. If the toggle switch is blue, the setting is already activated, otherwise tap to activate it.

Only current files are automatically available offline when this option is enabled. For older files, you need to turn on the function manually (c) PCWorld

For certain files, you can either tap on the icon with the three dots on the main screen of the app (next to the file name) or at the top right of the screen when the file is open. Tap Available online to activate the feature. When the function is activated, you will see either a green check mark or a blue toggle switch.

You can view all the files available offline by tapping the hamburger menu icon on the main screen of the app and then selecting Offline.

To disable offline access, repeat the above commands. The green check mark disappears or the switch turns gray when offline access is turned off.

*Alaina Yee reports on desktop PCs, computer components, mini PCs and more for PCWorld. Her favorite item is an annual item that combines her two passions: bargain hunting and PC building.

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