How Can You Edit Google Docs Offline? Easy! Docs and Any Google Apps Files Can Be Synced to Your Local Drive

by Denise Hazime on April 28, 2016

How Can You Edit Google Docs Offline banner  

While always-connected cloud computing has its benefits, you may occasionally find yourself without a reliable Internet connection on an airplane, when your network is down, etc. If that is the case, you can set up your Google Apps to allow for offline editing. While this was possible before, users could not select individual files for offline editing, which could fill up a hard drive fairly quickly if there were lots of files in a user’s Google Drive. Google has tightened this up to make it so that you can select individual files for offline editing now.  

Step 1: Go to Google Drive and Turn On Offline Setting

Go to the gear icon at the upper right of your Google Drive, which leads you to the “Settings” page. You will then see this box:

Google Drive settings    

Make sure that the “Offline” setting is checked. This will then open up the possibility of syncing individual files, which essentially makes them available offline.  

Step 2: Turn On Offline Editing for Individual Files

This is the picky part - unfortunately there is no way to turn on offline editing from within the file itself. You need to go to the home screen for the app you are using for the file; if it’s a Google Doc, go to, if it’s Google Sheets, go to, and so on. Once there, click the file overflow menu which consists of three dots to the right of the file name. You will then see this:  

 Individual Files  

Toggle the slider to Available Offline, then you are in business - you’ll be able to edit the file locally without an Internet connection, and it will sync up any of your changes automatically when you do get back online. Please note that if you have multiple Google accounts, you’ll need to set up additional Chrome profiles to make more than one Google Drive account available offline on one device. More on doing that here.  

Why Edit Files Offline?

Even though it may feel like we’re always connected, that’s never really the case. Network connections can go down, a public space like a coffee shop may not have reliable or secure connections, and so on. Thankfully, with the new ability to select individual files rather than downloading your entire Google Drive, this is now more practical. All of the above settings are also available for mobile devices as well - this is very handy for team members who visit client offices where they may not have reliable cell service. If you would like help setting up offline editing for your team, or have any questions about Google Apps for Work, contact us

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