Google Drive on the web has long let you work on Docs, Sheets, and Slides even when there’s no connection. A new G Suite beta expands offline storage to PDFs, Office documents, and other non-Google files.
At the moment, the “Available offline” toggle — accessed by right-clicking on a file — is only available for Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Enabling the feature in Drive on desktop Chrome will automatically sync your most recent documents, with offline editing also possible.
With this beta, available to G Suite customers, “binary content” can be downloaded for offline access. The checkbox will become available on images, Microsoft Office, PDFs, and other files.
This feature helps complete the offline experience for Google Drive. Now, users can access their important non-Google files in an offline setting, like when they’re traveling or when there’s poor internet connectivity.
Behind-the-scenes, the feature available to free, consumer accounts leverages a Google Docs Offline extension that is pre-installed with Chrome. This new enterprise feature leverages the Google Drive File Stream app for Mac and Windows, which is the business equivalent of Backup and Sync.
Admins can sign-up for the Binary Content Beta to enable the expanded Google Drive offline capabilities for their domains, while the setup process for end users is similar to the consumer counterpart. The File Stream icon in the status bar allows you to see the status of downloads.
- First, enable offline from within the Drive or Docs settings.
- Next, sign into Chrome with the account associated with the whitelisted Google Group and access Drive File Stream.
- To mark the non-Google files as available offline, right click on a file and select “Make available offline.” You can use the offline preview feature as well.
This desktop capability is not yet available for Chrome OS, with Google Drive offline coming “in the future.”