Using Google Docs Offline As A Microsoft Word Alternative

Word to Google Docs

Are you considering Google Docs vs Word?

Microsoft is moving away from standalone software to a subscription and web-based service.

It is a monthly charge that you could really do without paying for basic online word processing.

Why pay for all the programs that you will never use by installing Office, just to be able to do basic word processing?

There are many free word processor alternatives to Word.

But Google word processing is proving to be the most popular choice.

Similar to Microsoft Office, it is a suite of office tools. The biggest difference is that it is absolutely free.

Change from Word to Google Docs

For a content writer, author, or blogger, Docs includes all the writing tools and functions you could ever need in a word processor.

It has all the collaboration tools you need for text documents.

Unlike some free word processors, Docs has a word count, so you can keep track of your word count goal.

You can do editing and share your files in real-time, with revision history similar to Track Changes.

Better still, everything is free, including 15 GB of storage space on Google Drive.

However, there is one small drawback. If you are out of wi-fi range or can’t get connected to the Internet, you can’t access files or edit your documents.

But this has all changed. It is easy now to make any file available offline.

You can now use Google Documents and open and edit your files anytime, without an Internet connection. All you need to do is set up offline sync access.

 

How to set up Google Docs offline

Learn how you can easily change from Microsoft Word to Google Docs and sill be able to work offline.

You will probably have most of the necessary setup steps already done.

But I’ll take it step by step, and you can skip the ones you already have in place.

1. You need to have a Google account. If you don’t have one, you will need to sign up for a Google account.

2. You need to have the Google Chrome browser installed on your computer, and be signed into Chrome.

3. You need to use Google Drive, so installing the Google Drive app on your computer is advisable.

Now you are ready to set up everything for offline sync Google Docs. It only takes four quick and easy steps.

 

1. Open Google Docs and click Settings

Google Docs Settings

 

2. In the settings box, check mark the box, or slide, labeled, Offline.

Google Docs offline settings

You also have the option to check the box for recent templates to show on your home screen.

 

3. In the pop-up box — Click Add extension.

Google Docs extension

 

4. Don’t close this screen. Wait for Google to finish setting up your offline access.

Setting Up Google Docs

In the bottom left corner, you can check the setup progress.

You have finished the setup of the Sync Offline Chrome Extension, and you can now use your word processor any time you like. You can use the online version or use your offline files, in your Chrome browser.

Note: There are many other Chrome extensions for bloggers and writers.

 

Using Google Documents offline

To open your application when you are offline, open a new tab or window in Chrome. Now click the apps tab in the far left corner of your bookmarks bar.

Alternatively, you can type docs.google.com into your browser address bar.

Chrome Apps Button

Then you will see this screen.

Chrome Offline apps

Click on the Docs icon, and you will be ready to start writing using the Google word processor offline. You can use Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides offline.

When you edit offline, your edits and saves will be saved locally in Chrome and then synced to Google Drive the next time to are online.

However, I prefer to use the Google Drive app, and then I can see, copy, move, or delete my files on my local drive. Again, any changes you make will be synced the next time you connect to the Internet.

You can also use Docs in offline mode on your mobile devices.

Refer to Google Help for instructions for installing and setting up on your particular devices.

 

Google Drive and file saving tips

Google saves all your word processing files to Google Drive.

To access your Google Drive files offline, click on the Google Drive icon, as shown in the image above in Chrome.

If you have already installed the app, you can open the Google Drive app from your local applications folder. It will then sync Docs, Sheets, Slides, and all your other files to your local hard drive.

By default, it saves all new documents to the root of your Google Drive. There is no setting to change the default location of new files.

However, there are easy ways to overcome this minor issue.

First, create a new folder in Google Drive. Perhaps be imaginative and name it My Docs.

Then when you start work on a new file, use the Docs File menu, and select Move To. You can then save your new file in your new folder.

Alternatively, you can open a new document from your Google Drive. Navigate to your new folder before you select New.

Google Drive New Doc

Now click Google Docs to create your new document, and it will be saved automatically into your new folder.

Google Drive Select New Doc

 

Summary

Google word processing with Docs is free and has everything a writer could possibly need in a word processor. You can also easily work with Microsoft Word files.

It is simple to use, and there is no learning curve at all when moving from Word. The menus are similar and intuitive. If you want to do more, there are hundreds of add-ons available.

But the biggest and best feature, like most Google products, is that everything you need to write, create and edit, save, and share files is free.

Of course, you will need to work or collaborate with people using Word documents, but this is easy. You can import and export all the popular file types.

Google Docs File Types

Yes, for authors, you can even export to epub files.

If you are using an installed software version of Word and you are happy, there is no urgent need to change.

But if you have a very old version, and you are thinking about buying a new laptop, older versions of Word may not work anymore. For example, for Mac users, older versions of Word will not work on High Sierra or later operating systems.

This is when the Google word processor and spreadsheet can be a (free) lifesaver.

But if you are considering the cloud-based Office 365 and paying $99.00 per year (United States price. Possibly more in some countries), then free might very well tempt you.

Especially if all you need is a word processor, and you only occasionally use a spreadsheet.

Note. For Mac users, you always have the alternative to use Apple Pages instead of Word.

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology.

5 thoughts on “Using Google Docs Offline As A Microsoft Word Alternative

  • August 31, 2019 at 6:10 pm
    Permalink

    Yes but you still have yp ho online first to work offline in Drive. Od there s way yo open do s without being online first? Help…

    Reply
    • August 31, 2019 at 6:44 pm
      Permalink

      Your work is saved in your Chrome browser. When you go back online, all your work is then saved to Google Drive.

      Reply
  • October 23, 2018 at 6:20 am
    Permalink

    Dear Sir,

    I very much liked your step by step on how to use Google Docs.

    I have been trying very hard to find an app that works without much effort. Hope Google doc will be the app.

    Vinod Dave

    Reply
  • September 17, 2018 at 10:28 am
    Permalink

    How to open and edit Microsoft documents to Google documents offline?

    Reply
  • July 24, 2018 at 3:22 pm
    Permalink

    I’ve been using google doc for a couple of years. No complaints here. I am a huge google fan so it was easy for me to give it a try. Doc has everything I need. One of the things I like is how it automatically organizes documents.

    You asked a good question. Why pay if you don’t have to?

    Reply

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