Here’s how to use Google Sheets offline. The best part? It only requires a few clicks – and it’s one of the best ways to keep up with work when I can’t find internet access. I don’t need to worry about losing my work thanks to backup clouds and autosaving. So how do you do it?
To use Google Sheets offline, you can select Settings > Offline. But what if you only want to grant access to a handful of files? I’m here to clean up any confusion and start streamlining your workflow! Wondering how to use Google Docs and Slides offline? The same instructions apply!
Table of Contents
Why Do I Use Google Sheets Offline?
- Limited or Spotty Internet – The most apparent reason for working offline is due to a poor internet connection. When I turn on offline sync on Google Sheets, I avoid constant page refreshes and can focus on work better.
- Traveling – Whether I’m on a plane, train, or bus, I still have full access to Sheets, no matter where I am.
- Data Security & Privacy – If I’m handling sensitive data, working offline removes the risk of data exposure.
- Emergencies – If storms, natural disasters, or power outages knock out the internet, I’ll still have access to your spreadsheets and documents.
Related: How to Insert a GIF in Google Slides
What to Know About Turning on Google Sheets’ Offline Sync
This is how you turn on Google Sheets offline. It only takes a single click. Just know that this feature will need to be enabled for each device. If you turn on offline sync on your desktop, you’ll still need to apply it on your tablet or laptop.
It should be noted that Google Sheets’ offline mode doesn’t make every single file available to you. Instead, it uses an algorithm to determine recent files and frequently accessed files, then pre-load them onto your computer.
Related: Excel vs. Google Sheets
How Do I Know Which Files Have Offline Access?
There’s an easy way to tell which files have offline access. When you see a checkmark on a file’s bottom-left corner, you’ve successfully made Google Sheets available offline. The changes you make offline will only be saved locally and then synced once you reconnect.
Desktop: How to Make a Google Sheet & Doc Available Offline
To use offline mode in Google Sheets and Docs on your desktop, use your Chrome browser in standard mode. The option isn’t currently available in Firefox, Opera, or incognito mode. Both methods require an internet connection. If the Google Docs Offline extension is required, you’ll be prompted to install it before enabling offline mode.
The offline sync Google Sheets feature can be enabled in one of two ways:
Method 1: Changing Settings for Individual Sheets & Docs
To save a single Google Sheet or Doc offline:
- Look for the file you want to edit offline and click the three vertical dots on the bottom-right side of said file.
- In the drop-down menu, select the “Available offline” toggle.
- Confirm by clicking “Turn on” in the dialog box.
- Repeat this step for each computer and phone you use. All of your offline files will be saved locally, ensuring that only the documents you select are downloaded from the cloud.
Method 2: Changing Settings for All Sheets & Docs
If you want full access to your Sheets and Docs, you can do that, too!
- Head over to Google Sheets and click on the menu icon (upper-left corner of the screen).
- Click on Settings. As you can see in our image, this process looks exactly the same in Google Sheets and Google Docs:
- Click on the Offline toggle and select “OK.”
What to Know About Using Google Sheets Offline on Mac
You’ll first need to make Google Chrome the default browser on your Macbook. This will avoid error pages from popping up when you try to edit Google files offline.
Go to System Preferences > General > Default Web Browser and choose Google Chrome.
Enabling Google Sheets Offline on Mobile
To turn on offline sync for Google Sheets on your phone (either iOS or Android device), the steps are virtually identical.
- Launch the Google Sheets or Docs app on your device.
- Search for the file that you want to make available offline, then tap the three vertical dots on its bottom part.
- Tap “Make available offline.”
What Features Are Unavailable While Using Google Files Offline?
While offline mode gives you access to your documents, several things won’t be viewable or usable. Some advanced formatting options may be limited in offline mode and you’ll have to wait until your internet connection is restored. Here are the features that go away when you use Google Sheets offline:
- Real-time Collaboration Features
In all Google Suite programs, you’re able to work with multiple users simultaneously – as long as you have internet access.
- Syncing Changes From Collaborators
This brings us to the next point: Although you can make offline changes, no user can see the changes that have been made. Be sure to sync your changes (online) as soon as possible, so everyone uses the most recent copy.
- File Sharing
When you’re offline, you won’t be able to share your files with anyone until you reconnect.
- Google Docs Add-Ons
The Google Docs “add-on” feature is used to download fonts or text styles. You can still use the fonts or text styles that are already available.
- Spell Checking
Google Docs won’t be able to detect wrong-spelled words. For accuracy and real-time suggestions, the spell-checking feature needs access to an online database.
- Image Insertion from the Web
When offline, you cannot add or insert images from the internet. You can, however, upload an image if it’s already saved on your computer or mobile device.
Related: Best Google Sheets Add-Ons
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the most common questions about how to use Google Sheets offline. Please let me know if I missed anything!
Can I Use Google Sheets Offline?
Like the Docs and Slides app, Google Sheets can be accessed offline. Follow our instructions (above) to discover these steps.
What Does It Mean to Make a Google Sheet Available Offline?
Making Google Sheets available offline means that you can open and edit any files that have been marked for offline use – without an internet connection. Any changes made to the file will be saved locally. When you reconnect to the internet, Google will check for changes in the file and update the online version.
Where Are Google Sheets Stored Offline?
You’ll find all Google files in your Google Drive account. Select the title of your Google file (e.g., document, spreadsheet, presentation, or drawing) and the file name will appear.
Can I Access Google Drive with Incognito Mode?
No. You cannot use Google Drive offline when you’re using incognito mode.
Working with Google Sheets offline couldn’t be easier – and this also applies to other G Suite products like Docs and Slides. Learning how to accomplish this is extremely simple and user-intuitive, and I use it regularly to streamline my work.
Note: This article discusses the offline sync feature in Google Sheets, but if you’re using Excel, it has its own offline sync functionality. If you want to convert your Excel sheet into a Google Sheets file, you can do that, too!