Control offline use of Docs editors

This article is for Administrators. To access your own files offline, see Work on Docs, Sheets, & Slides offline.

As a G Suite administrator, you can control whether users in your organization can access their Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides when their computers aren't connected to the internet. By default, offline access is enabled for organizations, and users can turn it on or off for their own accounts as needed.

Note: This option does not apply to Drive File Stream. See Find & keep files and folders offline when using Drive File Stream.

Option 1: Use policies to control offline access from computers

As a G Suite administrator, you can use policies to control offline access to Docs, Sheets, and Slides on computers running Windows®, Mac®, and Linux® operating systems. This option requires you to push managed policies to each computer. If you select this option before you set up policies, users lose offline access if they previously had it. 

After you select this option, users can enable offline access only if a managed policy is installed on their computer. See the instructions below for each type of computer. 

Note: This option is not available for ChromeOS devices or mobile devices (phones and tablets). 

Step 1: Install the policy on each managed computer

To allow Drive files to be stored and accessed offline on managed computers:

  • Download the configuration files to the computers.
  • Distribute the files to computers running Windows®, Mac®, and Linux® operating systems.

See the instructions below for each type of computer. 

Note:  This process is not required if Allow all users to enable offline access is selected.

Windows devices (via the Microsoft Group Policy)
  1. Download and unzip these Windows Group Policy template files:
    1. Windows ADMX

    2. Windows ADML

  2. Open the ADMX file using your Group Policy Editor to enable offline access:
    • Select Allowed domains for Google Docs Offline support—Allows users within the specified domains to enable docs offline, but offline editing is disabled by default.
    • (Optional) Select Auto enabled domains for Google Docs Offline support—Auto-enables offline doc access for all users with this policy. Leave this off if users must manually enable offline access.
  3. Update the option values with the desired domains. Separate multiple domains with a comma (for example, domain1.com, domain2.com, and so on).

Note: If you see an error "Encountered an error while parsing", this means that Windows cannot parse the filename and you need to rename it. For example, try removing the underscore from the filename by changing GoogleDocs_WinADMX to GoogleDocsOffline.

Related information

Mac OS devices
  1. Download and edit the policy.
    1. Download the macOS plist file.
    2. Open the file in any text editor.
    3. Edit the file to enable offline access.
      • (Required) To enable offline access for the devices, replace the first instance of "YOUR_DOMAIN_HERE.com" to your domain.
      • (Optional) To auto-enable offline doc access for all users with this policy, replace the second instance of "YOUR_DOMAIN_HERE.com" to your domain. Leave this unchanged if users must manually enable offline access. 

        Offline access policy for MacOS
         
    4. Save the file, if not auto-saved by your editor.
  2. Create a /Computers/local_computer node, if necessary. See Configuring Apps and Extensions by Policy. for instructions.
  3. Run the following command to import the updated plist file, or follow the instructions for your enterprise Mac management system:
     

    $ dscl -u admin_username /Local/Default -mcximport /Computers/local_computer GoogleDocs_MacConfig.plist

  4. Run the following command to propagate these changes immediately:
     

    $ sudo mcxrefresh -n username

Tip: For more information, see Configuring Apps and Extensions by Policy.

Linux devices

  1. Download and edit the policy.
    1. Download the Linux configuration file.
    2. Open the config file in any text editor.
    3. Edit the file to enable offline access.
      • (Required) To enable offline access for the devices, replace the first instance of "YOUR_DOMAIN_HERE.com" to your domain.
      • (Optional) To auto-enable offline doc access for all users with this policy, replace the second instance of "YOUR_DOMAIN_HERE.com" to your domain. Leave this unchanged if users must manually enable offline access. 

        Offline policy for Linux
         
    4. Save the file, if not auto-saved by your editor.
  2. Place the config file in /etc/opt/chrome/policies/managed/.

Step 2: Enable offline access for managed computer

Enable offline access after the policy is installed and configured on each managed computer. Offline access is disabled on any computer that does not have the policy.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenG Suiteand thenDrive and Docs.
  3. Click Features and Applications.
  4. (Managed computers only) Install the managed device policy on each computer.
  5. Next to Offline, select Control offline access using device policies.
    Recent files will be synced and saved on managed computers that have the policy set up.
  6. Tell your users how to sync files for offline use.

Option 2: Allow users to turn on offline access (recommended)

The easiest method to allow offline access is to enable offline access for all users.
Sign in to your Google Admin console.

Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  1. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenG Suiteand thenDrive and Docs.
  2. Click Features and Applications.
  3. Next to Offline, select Allow users to enable offline access (recommended).
    Recent files will be synced and saved on the user's computer and computers they trust.
  4. Tell your users to how to sync files for offline use.
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