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Offline Google Docs sync is fantastic, except for …



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Sometimes, the best way to increase productivity is to go offline.


Angela Lang / CNET

Saving a Google Docs document for offline work is useful if you want to survive a long flight of terrible Wi-Fi or do some work without the constant distractions of having an active Internet connection. Setting up and using Google Docs offline is child's play, but there's a big catch.

This only works with Chrome.

If you're using Safari, Firefox, or another browser, you'll need to install Chrome. Do not worry, you do not have to switch completely to Google's browser if you do not want to.

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Installing Chrome and the Offline Extension

If you're using a different browser, you'll need to install Chrome before you can set up offline sync. Download the installer and follow the instructions. Depending on the internet connection, it only takes a few minutes.

After installing Chrome, install the Google Docs Offline Chrome extension.

What can be saved for offline access?

You have access to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides when offline sync is turned on.

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You only need to enable offline support once, and it syncs with the rest of Google's documents.


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Offline Sync Setup

After installing Chrome and using the offline extension, follow these steps to complete the offline sync setup:

  1. Visit Documents, Slides, or Leaves in Chrome. You only need to visit one of the three sites because your settings are synchronized between the different services.
  2. Click the menu icon in the upper left corner, followed by Settings .
  3. Click the button next to Offline .
  4. A warning message appears at the bottom of the screen informing you that offline synchronization is in progress. Once the process is complete, another warning informs you that the process has been successfully completed.

Accessing your offline files

Depending on the amount of storage available on your computer, Google automatically downloads some of the latest offline access documents.

However, if you want to ensure that files are always available offline, view the list of documents on the Documents, Sheets, or Slides destination page. Click the three-dot button to the right of the document, followed by Available offline . A checkmark will appear next to the document informing you that the file is available offline.

You can then edit or edit the files as usual. When you are back online, your changes will be synced with Google Account and it will be as if you were online all the time.

Nice, right?

Of course, Google Drive and Google Docs offer more than just offline sync. Luckily, we have a healthy summary that makes it easy to get the most out of Drive.


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