Using a Chromebook Offline

Describing the offline capabilities of Chromebooks in its latest ad campaign, Microsoft says: "When you're not connected, it's pretty much a brick". After trying using a Chromebook for a month, I can say that this statement is far from correct. 

In my first post about Google Chromebooks, My First Experience with Google Chromebook, I have shortly covered the subject of using a Chrome OS device without an internet connection. In this post, I am going to share with you more information about my experience with working offline on a Chromebook.

Let’s say that Chromebook is the only device you have with you and there is no way to connect to the internet. These are the things you still CAN GET DONE OFFLINE with your Chromebook.

  • View Microsoft Office and PDF documents
  • View, create and edit documents using Google Drive. If you enable offline editing option in your Google Drive, the next time you will open the app, it will let you view, edit and create new documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings.
  • View and RSVP to events in your calendar using Google Calendar.
  • Take notes or make lists using Google Keep or other 3rd party apps (ex) Memo Notepad). Your notes then will be synced to the cloud the next time you're connected to the Internet. 
  • Read and write emails using Gmail Offline app.  After you install the app, it will let you read, write, search and archive emails offline. All your actions will be synchronized to Gmail next time you will be connected to the internet.
Viewing MS Office files using built-in Quickoffice plugin 

Viewing MS Office files using built-in Quickoffice plugin 

Google Drive - Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings

Google Drive - Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings

Read-only version of Google Calendar

Read-only version of Google Calendar

Taking notes with Google Keep

Taking notes with Google Keep

  • Watch videos and play music from your local drive, USB stick or SD cards using built-in media player.
  • View recently uploaded photos using Google + Photos app. 
  • View and Edit photos using a built-in photo editor or other 3rd party apps. ex) Pixlr Touch Up
  • Read saved web pages
  • Play simple games (ex. Angry birds)
Built-in video player

Built-in video player

Built-in music player

Built-in music player

Angry Birds

Angry Birds

Pixlr Touch Up - Click to enlarge

Built-in editor - Click to enlarge

Google + Photos - Click to enlarge

These are the tasks I do, but you can always add more offline capabilities by installing 3rd party apps working offline from the Chrome Web Store. Most of the apps have limited functionality, but there are many surprisingly good apps as well.

Unfortunately, there are some things I wish I could be able to do on my Chromebook in offline mode. These are tasks you CAN’T GET GONE OFFLINE with your Chromebook.

A lot of room for improvement.

A lot of room for improvement.

  • Comfortably enjoy your music library. Like I said above, you can play music stored on your device, but it is impossible to access your full Google Play Music library. I wish Google make a packaged app for Google Play Music, just like they did with Google + Photos.
  • Watch movies you purchased on Google Play. Same as music, you cannot watch movies you bought in Google Play Store offline. That’s odd, because Android is able to save movies for watching later. I hope Google will add this functionality to Chrome OS as well.
  • Print the documents. Printing on Chromebook requires Google Cloud Print, which is very comfortable when you have an internet connection, but useless when you are offline.

If you know some good tips for using a Chromebook offline or you think I missed something in my post, feel free to share it in the comments.