How to Fix Google Docs Offline Not Working

How to Fix Google Docs Offline Not Working
I dropped Word for Google Docs for a while and I do not regret my decision. But if there are any drawbacks to using Google's word processor, it's a rather erratic offline experience. And considering the uneven internet presence in my area, it is a concern.

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Over time, I've discovered a number of reasons that can prevent Google Docs from working properly offline. If you're having problems when trying to use Google Docs Offline, let me give you some tips that will help you move things in the right direction.

These troubleshooting tips also apply to Google Sheets and slides. If you're having trouble running your spreadsheets or offline slideshows, feel free to try them.

1. Switch to Google Chrome

I was quite dismayed when I realized that Google Docs only worked offline in Chrome. But really, can we blame Google for wanting Docs to work optimally on its own web browser?

Unlike other browsers, documents running on Chrome will not be frozen if you are working on a document if you lose Internet connectivity. Best of all, it's the only browser to officially support the Google Docs Offline extension – install it and transparently access your most recent documents, even offline.

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So, if you use a browser such as Firefox, Safari or Edge, you have to change browser. Yes, it's bad, but it's something you have to do if you really want to use Google Docs offline. Once Chrome is installed, do not forget to also install the Google Docs Offline extension.

Technically, other Chrome-based browsers (Opera, Brave, Vivaldi, Edge Chromium, etc.) should also support the Google Docs Offline extension. Although I have not tried this personally, Vlad Savov from The Verge seems to have the operational extension in Brave without problems. This is something you can examine if you use such a browser.

2. Enable Google Docs Offline Extension

Already using Google Chrome? If you're unable to open documents in Google Docs when you're offline, make sure that the Google Docs Offline extension is installed again.

If you are absolutely certain to have it installed, go to the Chrome Extensions panel and verify that it is enabled. To access the Extensions panel, open the Chrome menu, point to More Tools, and click Extensions.

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3. Enable offline access in Docs or Drive

Chrome is installed on your computer and you have also verified that the Google Docs Offline extension is downloaded and activated. If you're still unable to activate Google Docs offline, you must verify that offline access is enabled for Google Docs. And it's pretty simple to do it.

In the Google Docs home screen, simply open the Documents menu, click Settings, and then toggle the switch next to Offline.

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If it is already activated, it is always a good idea to turn it off and then on again. This tends to solve the bugs associated with offline access.

4. Create a new Chrome profile

Are you in a shared environment? If this is the case, only one Chrome profile supports only one Google Docs account for offline sync. This is typically indicated by "Another user has already turned off the Offline Access Error on this computer" when attempting to enable offline access in Google Docs.

In this case, you must disable offline access for the Google Docs account for which it is currently enabled. To do this, you must sign in to this particular Google Docs account. If this is not possible (for example, if you do not know the exact account or if you are not the owner of the account), there is another way: you need to create a separate Chrome profile and use it at the place.

To create another profile, click the Chrome profile image in the upper right corner of the Chrome window, and then click Manage People. In the window that appears, click Add Person. You can then sign in with your Google Account credentials and enable offline access in Google Docs.

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Warning: Google Docs warns against the use of offline access in a shared environment due to potential privacy and security issues in such an environment.

5. Manually save offline files

Google Docs will only save your most recent offline files. This is done in order to conserve local storage. If you want to be certain that a file you want to work on is available without an Internet connection, you must make it manually accessible offline.

Just click on the icon representing vertical ellipsis to the left (or bottom of the grid view) of a document in the Google Docs home screen, and then drag the selector next to Available offline.

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You can also do the same thing when a document is open. To do this, click the File menu, and then click Make Available Offline.

6. Do not use incognito mode

Do you use Google Docs in incognito mode in Chrome? Stop doing that. For starters, all Chrome extensions are disabled by default in incognito mode, which means that Google Docs will not have access to the Google Docs Offline extension to work properly.

And even if you enable the extension for incognito mode, Chrome flushes the browser cache every time you exit it, which means you will not be able to access the files you saved offline for later visits. .

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If this sounds like something you did, start using Google Docs outside Incognito mode.

Point: You can identify Incognito tabs by checking the top right corner of the Google Chrome window. If it is labeled "Incognito", you are in an Incognito tab.

7. Update Chrome

If you still have problems when trying to upload Google Docs offline, it's best to update Google Chrome before proceeding. The latest versions usually have many bugfixes and, since both products are from Google, a browser update is definitely guaranteed.

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To do this, open the Chrome menu, point to Help, and then click About Google Chrome. If new updates are available, Chrome must install them automatically. You will need to restart the browser to finalize the updates.

8. Clear the Google Docs cache

Often, an obsolete browser cache can play against you. If you experience specific errors when using Google Docs offline, such as "Check the status of offline synchronization" or "Offline configuration failed", or if you are trying to make the files available offline leads to a blocked "synchronization" animation, you must empty the cache.

The good news is that rather than erasing the browser cache and having to log in from scratch, you can clear cached files linked only to Google Docs.

Copy and paste the following path into the address bar of a new tab, and then press Enter. On the screen that appears, click Delete All.

 chrome://settings/cookies/detail?site=docs.google.com 
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9. Use documents without extensions

Often, conflicts with certain extensions can cause all kinds of problems in Chrome. If you have intermittent problems for which Google Docs is not working properly offline, try isolating the problematic extensions.

To do this, use Google Docs with all extensions, except for the Google Docs Offline extension turned off. Go to the Extensions screen (open the Chrome menu, point to Tools, and then click Extensions) to disable your extensions.

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If Google Docs starts running offline without problems, start re-enabling the extensions, one by one or in batches, to identify the problematic add-on. Once you have it isolated, delete the extension or leave it disabled for the moment and inform the developer of the extension.

10. Reset Chrome settings

Often, poorly configured browser settings can wreak havoc. This is usually due to the use of many extensions over time, although browser hijackers can also play a role. Try resetting Chrome to see if this would help Google Docs run efficiently offline.

To do this, go to the Chrome Settings panel. Then, expand the "Advanced" option in the left pane, and then click Reset and Clean (called "Reset Settings" in Chrome for macOS). Finally, click Reset Settings to Default, and then click Reset Settings in the confirmation dialog box.

Reset Chrome will not delete your bookmarks or passwords. However, all pinned tabs, start pages, search engines, and so on, will be restored to their default values. Click the Learn More link in the confirmation dialog for a complete list of items.

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Because all extensions are also disabled after resetting, be sure to re-enable the Google Docs Offline extension through the Extensions panel before checking if the browser reset has helped you resolve the problem.

11. Run the Chrome Cleaning Tool

Another reason why Google Docs may not work normally is due to browser extensions or hidden forms of malware. Although we have just restored Chrome, it is still possible for malicious extensions and browser hijackers to persist.

Fortunately, Chrome has its own malware-cleaning tool (surprise!) That can help you get rid of it. Go to the Chrome Settings panel, expand Advanced Options on the left page, click Reset and Clean, then Clean the Computer, and then click Find to search for harmful software.

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Note: The Clean Computer option is not present in the macOS version of Google Chrome.

Back to work

I hope that the troubleshooting tips above have helped you solve the offline problems you had with Google Docs. Most often, switching to Chrome, installing or enabling the Google Docs Offline extension or removing the Google Docs cache will help solve these problems. While putting some of the other tips into practice is not an easy task, making Google Docs work normally is well worth it. It's that good.

Then: Now that Google Docs has returned to normal, increase your productivity with this fantastic set of add-ons.

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