Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week – How to Use Google Docs Offline

Google Drive is what I use for creating nearly all of my documents and I always encourage others to use it too. The one drawback to using Google Drive used to be that you had to be online to create or edit your documents and presentations. That drawback doesn’t exist if you enable offline use of your Google Drive account on your laptop or Chromebook. Below you will find written directions along with screenshots for enabling offline use of Google Documents on your laptop.

Enabling Offline Use of Google Drive – Classic (Older) Version of Drive

To enable Google Docs for offline use, sign into your account and click the sprocket icon in the upper-right corner. Then select “set up docs offline.” Google Docs will then launch a dialogue box asking you to confirm that you want to enable docs offline. If already have Google Drive installed, you’re finished with the set up. If you don’t have Google Drive installed, you will be prompted to do so. If you need help setting up Google Drive on your Mac or on your PC, please see the directions that I have included in my guide to Google Drive and Docs for Teachers (page 7 has directions for Mac users, page 14 has directions for Windows users).

Step 1: In your Google Drive account open the “more” menu.

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Step 2: Select “enable offline docs.” If you don’t have the Google Drive Chrome app already installed, you’ll be prompted to do that too. Installing the Chrome app takes just one click.

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Enable Offline Use of Google Drive – New (current) Version of Google Drive

1. Open the gear icon in the upper-right corner of Drive. Select “settings.”

2. In the settings window select “Sync your work to this computer so that you can edit offline.”

A few things to note about using Drive offline.

  1. Drive will only work offline in a Chrome browser window.
  2. You can use Drive offline on multiple computers, but you need to enable it on each computer individually.
  3. If you share computers with another person, you may not want to sync to that computer as it could give both people access to the files.
  4. If you are using Google Drive within a Google Apps for Education domain, your domain administrator will have to enable the option for users to use Google Drive offline.


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