Have you ever wondered how to save a Google doc offline? Or how about exporting it to a local drive so that you can make offline edits and have them automatically reflect with the online version? Saving a Google document is important if you want to access the modified or latest version of it from multiple devices.

Also, in a team environment, it is vital that every member can view the most recently updated version of said document. And, one may not always have internet access and still want to make changes to the latest version of a Google document. But, how will these changes be visible online to everyone with whom the document is shared?

In such cases, it is important to save changes both offline and online through syncing. When a new Google document gets created, the author may need to keep a copy of it on a local drive. Thus, it’s crucial to understand how to export Google Documents to a local drive, by saving it in a file format such as Word or PDF.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the process of how to save a Google doc and export it for local access.

How to Save a Google Doc file

As discussed above, you may require access to a Google doc in online and offline modes. In both cases, the most important thing to have is a good internet connection (yes, even for offline mode).

Here is a list of prerequisites required to save a Google document: access to a Google Drive account, to create, edit, share, and store documents. An internet browser to access documents via Google Drive and the Google Drive app must be installed on a computer, Android or iOS device.

How to Save a Google Document Online

Anyone who’s used Google Docs before knows that changes to a document are saved automatically, as you type or edit the text. That means that there is no need to click a save button, as a matter of fact, there isn’t a save button to click at all.

How to Save a Google Document Offline

An internet connection is required to save a Google document offline. The below mentioned “offline access setup” steps will only work if they’re executed using a reliable internet connection.

Using the Google Drive Desktop App

  • Open the Google Drive desktop app on a computer
  • Select the default Google Drive folder that’s created on your device
  • Right click on the folder name and hover over the “Google Drive” option
  • Then select “Preferences”

  • One of two options will pop up: “Sync everything in My Drive” or “Sync only these folders”
  • Once the documents are synced, you can start accessing them offline and make any desired changes

The steps described above will help activate offline access to Google Docs on a desktop or laptop. You’ll need to use the Google Drive app to access these files for editing purposes, any changes made to them will be saved to the Google Drive desktop app when there’s no internet connection available.

And, when the computer connects to the internet again, the document will be uploaded to the cloud (stored on Google Drive’s web app).

Using the Google Chrome Browser

  • Open Google Chrome and login
  • Then open the Google Drive access URL (https://drive.google.com/drive/settings)
  • Tick the “Offline” box that appears just before the “Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Drawings files to this computer so that you can edit offline” text

Only Chrome can activate “offline mode” access to Google Docs, so don’t try using this method with any other browser. This method cannot be used to enable offline mode just for documents; it applies to slides, drawings, sheets, documents, and so on.

How to Setup Offline Access on Android & iOS Devices

  • Open the Google Drive app on a mobile device
  • Identify the Google document that you want to save for offline access
  • Click on the “More” option that has three vertical dots next to the document
  • From the list that opens up, locate the “Available Offline” option and swipe the slider displayed next to it.

  • The slider will turn blue, which indicates the file has been successfully chosen for offline access
  • A notification will also appear at the bottom of the screen stating “1 item will be kept offline”
  • You can then make changes to the document when there’s no internet connection
  • Files not selected for offline access will be grayed out
  • In order to locate files that have been selected for offline editing,  go to the “Menu” option and select “Offline”

How to Save and Export a Google Document Offline

Remember, changes made to offline Google documents will only be reflected online when the internet comes back. However, there can be times when there’s no internet for a while, (hopefully that day never comes) making it necessary to save any changes offline.

To do so, just follow these steps:

  • Double check that offline access has been activated for Google Drive (on PCs) and for Google documents (on smartphones) 
  • Open the document that you want to save for offline editing and click on the “File” menu option that appears at the top left corner
  • From the “File” menu, choose the “Download as” option, which will provide multiple file formats in which the document can be saved

  • Based on format choice, the file will open up in that format, which can now be edited in offline mode.

  • Instead of using the “Download as” option, you can select the “Email as attachment” option.

This way, the Google document can directly be sent to anyone’s email (including your own) in a different file format, such as Word or PDF. After sending the attachments, they can be downloaded for offline access and editing, and any changes made will be saved locally.

Instead of using the “Download as” option, you can select the “Email as attachment” option.

This way, the Google document can directly be sent to anyone’s email (including your own) in a different file format, such as Word or PDF. And the attachment can then be downloaded from the email for offline access and editing, any changes made are locally saved.


Whichever device is used to edit Google documents, the above-discussed steps will help you make changes to them online or offline. Having a local copy of Google documents empowers you to make edits at any time and from anywhere, without relying on an internet connection.

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Which can then be synced and uploaded online, once the web is back. Do you have any questions, opinions, advice or points to add on how to save a Google doc? Please feel free to share them with us in the comments section below.

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