How to Activate Google Docs Offline on Your Chromebook

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Editor's Note: Google Docs now sync automatically to your Chromebook, so activating Offline mode is no longer an issue.

No Microsoft Word alternative is worth its salt if it requires an Internet connection to edit important documents. Fortunately for Chromebook owners, Google Drive makes its documents and presentations editable offline. So whether or not you're near a hotspot, you can make changes to your files and near-seamlessly sync them to their cloud-based counterparts when you reconnect. Here's how to set it up. 

  1. Log in to Google Docs in your browser or launch Google Drive from the app menu if it's already installed.
  2. Select More from the left-side menu.
  3. Select Offline.
  4. Click Enable Offline. (Note: If you already have the offline app installed, you can skip steps 5 - 8.)
  5. Click Get the App to download the Google Docs Chrome app from the Web store. 
  6. Select Add To Chrome in the top right.
  7. Select Add in the dialogue box that appears to confirm the download.

    The Google Drive app now appears in the apps menu.

  8. Return to the Google Docs dashboard either by clicking Launch App or selecting Google Drive from the apps menu. 

How to Work Offline

After setup, when you are offline, you can open and edit your Google Docs. A message appears in the top center that says All Changes Saved Offline.
 When you connect to the Internet again, you’ll see a yellow dialogue box in the top center that prompts you to Switch To Docs Online. 

Click Switch To Docs Online and your document is updated with changes you made offline.

You'll also notice that in the dashboard, all Google docs are labeled as Offline.

Add a comment
  • Nikkip Says:

    How can you log out of your google docs account on your phone 0lz help

  • Tia S. Says:

    This is article is outdated, but after doing a little searching I've found how to find it in the newer version- here's how:

    1. Go to the Google Drive homepage. In the upper right corner just below your profile picture, there is a gear icon. Click on it, then choose Settings.
    2. Under the General category, there is the setting that's labeled Offline, followed by a checkbox. Checking it will enable the offline mode. If you have not already downloaded the Google Drive, then install it before you enable the mode. After that, there will be a pop-up to add the Google Docs Offline extension. Choose Add Extension.

    That's it! Now you can use Google Drive even when there's no internet connection.

    Please let me know if I need to correct anything in this response. I hope this little tutorial made this all easier for you!

  • Mike DiPaola Says:

    I agree with the comments that these directions are out of date or just wrong. It's gotta be easier to create and work on a simple text document without all this hassle. (I've had the chromebook three years and I've never been able to figure this out.)

  • Paul C. Says:

    I have a Samsung Chromebook and in the Google Drive window, there is no "More" option or "Offline" option. Instead of "Create" at the top it says "New" and a different list of options appears than the one pictured in this article. Can someone help me?

  • D. Says:

    There is no "more" option in google docs.

  • dee kay Says:

    That was great - until my chromebook ran out of juice and shut down. Upon restarting, there was NO sign of the 2 pages in Google Docs I'd written. Great.

  • Jeff Pfister Says:

    This is great except its out of date. Google has updated their google drive and has not mentioned how to go offline. Its not very intuitive. I have many students who do not have access to wifi at home and need the ability to use their docs at home while offline.

  • Mike Wilson Says:

    DOES NOT WORK! Google Slides when offline gives error, stating "Presentation not available when offline". Not sure why all the articles promote offline features when they don't work!

  • Tom Says:

    I followed these instructions, but can't open or edit my documents from drive. If I try to open a document it tells me the google drive app is not available. I can only edit offline if the document is open before losing internet connection. Any suggestions?

  • Audrey Says:

    Thank you. This was so helpful. I couldn't figure out why offline wasn't working!

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