In 2013, Google Drive addressed one of the biggest advantages of Microsoft Office: offline access and editing. With this feature enabled, Docs, Slides, and Sheets effectively becomes a native application. An update starting today will allow users to select specific files to store and edit without an internet connection.
Previously, Drive’s offline feature would download and store every single document, spreadsheet, and presentation for offline access and editing. With today’s update, users in desktop Chrome will be able to select individual files to store offline.
To make a file available offline, users need to visit the specific Docs, Sheets, or Slides home screen and toggle ‘Available offline’ in a file’s overflow menu. (Note: the individual offline option does not appear in the main Google Drive site.) Once enabled, the file will quickly download in the background and users will have full access, with changes synced when a connection is reestablished. When finished, users can simply toggle the option off.
While syncing everything offline removes the pain of managing files, some users don’t have enough space to store everything. This feature is rolling out to all users over the next few days. Google Apps customers will need their admins to enable offline access.