Monday, November 5, 2012

Google Drive Offline

Have you ever had a situation where you really needed to access your Google Drive folder but you didn't have Internet access?  Well, have no fear you have two different options for accessing your Google Drive files offline.  If you are like me and have both Google Docs files, as well as other types of files (Microsoft Office, PDF, images, and video) in your Google Drive folder then you will probably want to set up both of these methods.

  • Docs Offline - Let's say you're in the middle of editing a Google Doc and suddenly you lose your network connection or you find yourself at a conference with crummy wifi taking notes you would like to share with other teachers.  If this is the case then you need to enable Docs Offline.  Once you have this set up, you will be able to easily create and edit Google Docs with or without an Internet connection.  However, there are few things to consider (insert giant asterisk)
    1. This needs to be set up ahead of time - so go set it up now!
    2. This also needs to be set up on each computer you plan on using and since your documents are saved locally when you lose Internet access it is not a good idea to set this up on a computer that is shared by many users, such as computer lab computers. 
    3. This only works when you are using the Chrome web-browser or a Chromebook, so ixnay afarisay.
    4. While you can create and edit Docs you will only be able to view Sheets (spreadsheets) and will not be able to view or edit to Slides (presentations).  However, Google is working on this.
  • Drive Folder Sync - Docs Offline is critical for accessing and editing Google Docs without Internet.  However, if you are more concerned about accessing non-Google files when you are offline you might consider setting up Drive Folder Sync.  This Mac and Windows application syncs all of the files in your Google Drive folder to one folder on your computer.  As a result, should you find yourself offline you can easily access any Microsoft Office or PDF files you have saved in your Google Drive folder.  Similar to Docs Offline there are a few caveats
    1. Google files still need a web-browser to be edited, so Drive Folder Sync alone will not allow you to edit these.  
    2. Similar to Docs Offline, your files are stored locally.  As a result, this would not be something you want installed on a shared computer, such as one in a computer lab.  This is best used on a computer that has been assigned to you.
    3. Drive Folder Sync requires the installation of software, so if you are interested in installing this on your employee desktop computer put in a NCS Web Help Desk ticket.  Those of you with laptops would be able to do this on your own.
I have been using both of these tools for the past few months on my teacher and personal computer and they have honestly been a lifesaver.  One of the best parts about the Drive Folder Sync is that I find it so much easier to organize my folders on the computer and have them sync up to Google Drive rather than trying to organize them in the browser window.  I can easily drag and drop files into their appropriate places in the Google Drive folder just like any other folder on my computer.  Let me know if you have any questions.


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