There are still a lot of places around the globe that aren’t connected to the Internet. If you are a busy Chromebook user with lots of work projects or other tasks you need to tackle and a team you need to collaborate with, it can be especially frustrating for you.
The good news is that you don’t have to give up if you lose your Internet connection in the middle of doing something important. Google offers a number of ways you can use Chrome OS features while offline. It lets you read your emails, work on your documents, or do other tasks. Read on to see how.
Although there isn’t a permanent solution for using Gmail offline at the moment, Google is working on it and already has a beta version you can try. Being in beta, the version may be prone to problems and bugs that still have to be resolved, so you have to be prepared that things may not go smoothly. Although when you are desperate, any solution will do as long as it gives you access to previous email updates.
To start off, you need to enable the feature. The absolute easiest is to get the Gmail Offline option from the Chrome Web Store. You will see an option to “Visit Website” or “Add to Chrome”. Choose the latter to download the app to your web browser, then restart Chrome.
Launch Chrome if it’s not open yet and open a new tab. See the Gmail Offline icon somewhere near the taskbar? Click that to load the option that performs offline syncing. You may see a confirmation screen first.
You have to be familiar with what the app may do, so you don’t have any surprises. It will sync all of your email messages and even queued actions automatically when you have Chrome running and there is an Internet connection. That way you get to see the latest messages and responses you might have missed the last time your device was online. Of course, you can’t expect the app to magically get the mail that was sent while you are offline, it simply isn’t possible, no matter how powerful Google might be otherwise.
You can use Google Drive to work on documents in offline mode. If you have things set up properly, Google will let you access the documents you have stored on the Drive even when there is no Internet connection.
First of all, you need to make sure you have Google Drive fully updated, as a recent version is required for accessing offline features. There shouldn’t be a problem with it on a Chromebook, but you may want to double-check just in case. Now open your Chrome web browser, log in to Google Drive and open Settings (option #1 under the gear icon in the browser’s top-right corner). In Settings, locate the ‘Offline’ heading next to ‘Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Drawings files to this computer so that you can edit offline’. The description says it all.
You need to make sure that there is a check mark next to that description. There are limits to this solution though, especially in terms of team collaboration. The document is saved on your Google Drive in the state it was in last time you were connected to the Internet. If you make changes to the document offline while your team also edits it online, you may face some problems when you get connected and Google tries to sync the edited copies. That’s why it’s best to use this feature when you are the only person editing the file. Some other things that don’t work in offline mode include the online Drive images collection, web-based PDFs or Google Forms.
When you know you’ll be offline and may need to have access to certain web pages in that mode, you can prepare your Chrome OS for viewing webpages offline. The simplest option is to download the Pocket extension. The way Pocket works is by letting you save videos, articles and other web content for further viewing in offline mode.
This is a handy tool for long trips in remote areas or for when you have some important school or work projects you have to work on when not connected to the Internet. Just keep in mind that your Chromebook may not have that much storage available to save a lot of web content for offline viewing. Don’t overload it or you’ll face crashes and slowdowns.
Google even added offline abilities to its Calendar, which means you can have access to your appointments, meetings and reminders scheduled in your Calendar even when you are offline. Setting this up is pretty easy. Just like you did with Google Drive, open Calendar, go to Settings and choose the Offline option. If you have a couple of Calendars or more, you may select the one you need access to when offline.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind though. You will only be able to view your Calendar offline, but will have no ability to edit it. It won’t be able to sync with other devices or import changes from other locations until you go online again. So be sure to get your calendar updated before you go offline.
Want to use your note application in offline mode? There is more than just one app this can be done with. For instance, Evernote lets you choose Offline Notebooks and pick certain notebooks for viewing offline. A similar feature is offered by Google Keep: it saves offline notes to automatically upload then when you go online.
ANY OTHER THINGS YOU COULD DO OFFLINE?
There are actually lots of such things! Since Google allows it, many third-party application developers include offline functionality in their browser extensions and apps. You will find over a hundred apps that work offline in Google’s web store, so if the solutions described here don’t work for you for some reason, you can look in the store for apps that can help.
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