Working offline in Google Workspace

Your Google Workspace account operates in the cloud, so does mean you can only use it when you’re online? Nope! Google Workspace has increasingly good offline functionality that enables you to access your Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive while offline. In this blog post, I’ll explain how to setup offline functionality for each of these applications.

Gmail offline

Gmail Offline works within the Google Chrome web browser. While Gmail offline, you can:

  •  Access up to the last 90 days of emails and attachments (the default is 30 days, but this can be changed).
  • Read and respond to emails.
  • Compose new emails.
  • Search for emails.
  • Label emails.

When you are next online, Gmail will automatically send emails that have been stored in your Outbox.

Enabling offline Gmail

Note: Your Google Workspace administrator can choose to disable Gmail Offline for your organisation. If you do not see the settings below, speak to your IT support.

1. Click the Settings (cog) button > Settings.
2. Click the Offline tab.
3. Tick the Enable offline option and choose your required settings.
4. Click Save changes, then Got it.

Accessing Gmail while offline

To use Gmail offline, simply open Google Chrome and use a bookmark or shortcut to open Gmail. If you don’t have one, you can also visit https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox.
Tip: The instant spell check feature will not work in offline mode, so you might like to pay some extra attention to your spelling when composing emails!

Google Calendar offline

Google Calendar also has an offline feature available when you use the Google Chrome browser. With Google Calendar offline, you can view calendar events in any of your ‘My calendars’ from the last 4 weeks or any time in the future.

Enabling Google Calendar offline

Note: Your Google Workspace administrator can choose to disable Calendar Offline for your organisation. If you do not see the settings below, speak to your IT support.

1. Click the Settings (cog) button > Settings.
2. Click the Offline section in the left hand menu.
3. Tick the Turn on offline calendar option.

Google Drive offline

The Google Drive web interface can be used offline after offline functionality has been enabled. However, this will only provide offline access to Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drawings (Google Forms and My Maps don’t yet work offline). If you also require offline access to non-Google files stored in Drive (such as PDFs and Microsoft Office files), you will need to use Drive for desktop for this.

Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drawings offline

Google Drive’s offline mode provides access to view, edit and create Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drawings in My Drive, Shared drives and Shared with me. Any changes made are synchronised back to the cloud when you are next online.
Note: If you are working on shared files offline at the same time others are working on them online, they won’t see your changes until you are back online. This could result in content conflicts which you may need to manage by working through the version history of the file. You may prefer to take a copy of the file before working on it offline.

Before you can access Google files offline, you need to enable offline functionality in the Google Chrome browser by following the instructions below. Offline mode should only be used on your own device (not a shared device).

1. Open Google Drive in Google Chrome.
2. Click the Settings (cog) button > Settings.
3. Tick the option to Create, open and edit your recent Google Docs, Sheets and Slides files on this device while offline.
4. Click Done.

Your files will now begin to synchronise to the Chrome browser. To use Google Drive offline, simply open Google Chrome and use a bookmark or shortcut to open Drive. If you don’t have one, you can also visit https://drive.google.com/drive/my-drive.

Non-Google files offline

To access non-Google files offline, you will need to install and configure Drive for desktop and choose which files to make available offline. You can find instructions for this in our blog post Getting started with Google Drive for desktop.

Note: If you are working on shared files, Google will attempt to consolidate versions when your files are synchronised online. However, this can be problematic and should be treated with caution. You may prefer to make a local copy of the file before making substantial changes.

Does your organisation want to leverage the FULL power of Google Workspace? Contact us today to find out how our training programs can help.


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