A Guide to Using a Chromebook Offline

You may have heard a million times by now that a Chromebook is a cloud-centric device that does not offer you a lot of offline usage. But what if you do not have access to the internet for a few days? Does your Chromebook become useless, or is there any way you can make it work offline? Turns out, there is!

A Chromebook is not just a glorified browser packed in a laptop chassis. No. It’s actually a real computer that CAN be used offline if needed, and we will tell you how! This article is a guide to using a Chromebook offline. 

Perhaps one of the biggest myths about Chromebooks is that they cannot be used offline. That’s the reason why you won’t see many people buying Chromebooks. But despite this common belief, Chromebooks can actually be used offline. They are great productivity tools that offer various advantages over traditional laptops. And despite what people believe, they work as well as any other computer offline.

For offline use, you need to be prepared, just like you would on a Windows, Mac, or Linux system. You will need to set up all the essential cloud-centric apps and software you need for your offline use beforehand so you can handle being without an internet connection.

So if you are a Chromebook user, think of a few areas where you would require offline usage and make your Chromebook ready for offline usage. Here are a few areas that you may need to set up beforehand on your Chromebook.

Setting Up Your Chromebook for Offline Use

1. Offline Email

Open Gmail offline settings click on the box next to “Enable Offline Mail.” You can also choose the number of emails you want to make available for offline use. Next, click on “Save” to save the settings. Now go to your email inbox and press CTRL+D. This will set up a bookmark that you can use to return to the offline synced mails.

Wait until you see a circle with a checkbox to ensure that the email syncing was successful. Now go back to the bookmark whenever you want to read, write, or reply to whenever you are offline on your Chromebook. Any mail that you send offline will be saved in the outbox and sent through whenever your Chromebook is connected to the internet.

2. Offline Calendar

Go to Calendar > Settings > General > Offline and check the box next to “Turn on Offline Calendar.” You will see a circle with a checkbox indicating that all the recent files are synced to your computer. Wait until you see that circle. Once offline, you can go to your Google Calendar and see all the synced events with their details.

3. Offline Google Drive, Sheets, Docs, Slides, and More

Go to the Google Docs Offline Extension, click on Add to Chrome, and then select Add Extension to install the extension. If you see a message saying, “Remove from Chrome,” it means that you already have the Google Docs Offline Extension installed on your Chromebook.

Next, go to Drive > Settings and select the checkbox located next to “Create, Open, and Edit Your Recent Google Docs, Sheets, And Slides Files on This Device While Offline.” Now, wait again until you see a circle with a checkbox indicating that all the recent files are synced to your computer.

For Chromebook users, there are two ways to choose specific files for offline use: either through Google Drive on the web or via the Chrome Files app.

In the Google Drive section in Chrome, click on any file or folder and then open the three-vertical dots menu to adjust the Available Offline slides to sync them offline. You can check if the files were made available offline by selecting the offline status indicator (the encircled check) and dragging the slider all the way to the right.

Alternatively, go to the Files app on your Chromebook and click on any file or folder. Now drag the slider located next to “Available Offline” all the way to the right. You can verify the items available offline by going to the Files app and selecting the Offline pin icon under Google Drive.

If you want to create a new file when offline, go to Google Drive and click on the +New button and select the type of file you want to create. While you are working on the file, your Chromebook will show a “Saved to this Device” indicator next to the file name as you edit it.

Once you have finished all the above-mentioned steps, your Chromebook will sync all the latest Gmail and Drive files when you are connected to the internet and make them available for offline use.  

4. Offline Webpages

Once you have set up Gmail and Google Drive for offline use, you can also save web pages for offline use. If you are viewing a webpage that you feel may come of use later when you are offline, you can make it available for offline access. On the webpage, click on the Star icon on the top right and then select “Add to Reading List.”

Doing so would save all the webpage contents offline. Once you are offline and want to access that webpage, click on the “Reading List” option located next to the displayed bookmarks and select any webpage that you want to open. If the bookmark bar is not displayed, you can enable it by pressing Shift + CTRL + B.

5. Offline Android Apps

You can also download and install various Android apps on your Chromebook. Moreover, many Android apps save data on your Chromebook by default for offline use. Apps like Google Tasks, Google Keep, and Google Calendar all work offline and sync data. While the Google Calendar web version can only be viewed, the Android version lets you create and edit events and sync them once you are connected to an internet connection.

Make Sure to Sync Before You Go Offline!

Before you disconnect your Chromebook from the internet and go off the grid, you should check the sync status of Gmail and Google Drive as a precaution. In Chrome, go to Gmail and Google Drive and check if the encircled checkmarks are showing. This will indicate that the data is current.

For Android apps, open each app and let it sync before you disconnect your Chromebook from the internet.

Once you have taken all these measures, you can safely go offline with peace of mind that your Chromebook is ready for offline use. Turn the Wi-Fi off by going to your Chromebook’s Settings and then moving the Wi-Fi slider all the way to the left to turn it off.

Final Thoughts

So this is a guide to using a Chromebook offline. We hope you understand all the steps clearly and can safely prepare your Chromebook for offline use. The next time someone tells you that you cannot use your Chromebook offline, you can prove them wrong by working offline on your Chromebook for an entire day. From sending emails to editing docs, you can do everything offline on Chromebooks.

If you are planning on buying a Chromebook, check out these top-rated Chromebooks that are ideal for both online and offline use.

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