Here at WinBuzzer, Microsoft Word is naturally our text editor of choice. However, that doesn’t stop us from acknowledging that Google Docs is a strong, free alternative. The only real thing holding it back is that it requires an internet connection to use. Or, at least, it used to. Today we’re going to show you how to use Google Docs offline so that you can stay productive on the move.

Offline Google Docs via extension

The method we’ll outline below makes use of the Google Docs Offline extension, which comes straight from Google. However, it’s worth noting that it’s not limited to documents – you can also use this to edit Google Sheets offline, access saved Drive files, or change your presentations.

Naturally, though, you’ll need a browser that supports extensions. More specifically, it needs to a Chromium-based browser – Firefox users are out of luck. If you use the new Microsoft Edge, however, you can still install Google’s extension, but you’ll need to put up with the scary warnings it may give. Let’s get started:

How to Use Google Sheets, Google Drive, or Google Docs Offline

As mentioned, offline editing in Google Docs uses Google’s official extension. You can download that here. Once it’s complete, head to docs.google.com to get started.

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  1. Open the Google Docs hamburger menu


    If you’re unfamiliar with the turn, that’s the three horizontal lines in the top-left corner of your browser window.

  2. Click ‘Settings’

  3. Turn on Google Docs offline mode


    Look towards the bottom of the Settings window, where you’ll find the “Offline” heading. On the right-hand side, switch the toggle and press “OK”.

    Note that you won’t go offline immediately. You’re simply enabling the functionality ready for when you lose connection.

  4. Open a document’s fly-out menu


    In your main Google Docs or Google Sheets menu, find a file you’d like to make available offline and click the three dots underneath its name.

  5. Switch the Google Docs offline toggle


    Underneath the “Open in new tab” option, you’ll see “Available offline”. Switch the toggle next to it to prepare it for offline usage.

  6. Look for the offline checkmark


    If the document was saved correctly, you’ll see a checkmark in a circle underneath the document name, to the right of the time stamp.

  7. Kill your internet connection and work offline


    Press the airplane mode button on your device and then attempt to access the document. If successful, the document should open as usual, but with a lightning bolt next to the favorite button. Hovering it will show the “You are offline” tooltip.


    Now that you know how to work offline in Google Docs, consider learning to add a table of contents to your docs for extra professionalism. You may also be interested in our guide to opening Word documents in Google Docs.

 
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