Working with network files when you are offline


If you work with files on a network, you can make the files available offline so you can access them even when your computer is not connected to the network. This is especially useful if you use a laptop to connect to a workplace network.

When you make a file available offline, Windows creates a copy of the file on your computer. This is called an offline file. The next time you disconnect from the network, you'll still be able to open, modify, and save the file the same way you would if you were still connected. And when you do connect to the network again, Windows will automatically sync the offline file on your computer with the corresponding file on the network.

For more information, see Understanding offline files.

Show all

To make files or folders available offline

  1. While connected to the network, locate the network file or folder that you want to make available offline.

  2. Right-click the file or folder, and then click Always available offline.

    Picture of the Always available offline command
    The Always available offline command

Notes

  • To confirm that the file or folder is available offline, right-click the file or folder and make sure that a check mark appears next to Always available offline.

  • If you no longer want a network file or folder to be available offline, right-click the file or folder, and then click Always available offline to clear the check box.

To work offline even though you have network access

Sometimes you might want to work with the offline versions of files even though you are connected to the network. This is useful if your network connection is slow or having problems.

  1. Open the network folder that contains the files you have made available offline. Then, on the toolbar, click Work offline. (This button appears only if you have already made the folder available offline.)

  2. When you are finished working with the files offline, click Work online on the toolbar. This will sync any changes you have made offline with the files on the network.

To enable the use of offline files

If the offline files option is disabled, you'll need to enable it if you want to work with offline files from a network folder.

  1. Open Offline Files by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button. In the search box, type offline files, and then, in the list of results, click Manage offline files.

  2. On the General tab, click Enable offline files.

    You'll need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

To find out whether you're working offline or online

If you're not sure whether you're working with the offline version of a file or with the online version, do the following:

  1. Open the network folder that contains the file.

  2. Click the file. If you see the Work offline option in the toolbar, then you are currently working online and double-clicking the file will open the online version. If you see the Work online option in the toolbar, then you are currently working offline and double-clicking the file will open the offline version.

To view all your offline files

If you work with offline files in different folders, you might want to view all of them without opening each folder individually. Here's how to view all your offline files in one place:

  1. Open Offline Files by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button. In the search box, type offline files, and then, in the list of results, click Manage offline files.

  2. On the General tab, click View your offline files.

Use Sync Center to sync all of your offline files immediately

Windows syncs your offline files for you automatically so that when a network file is changed, the offline copy stored on your computer is also updated, and vice versa. But sometimes you might want to sync your offline files right away to be sure you have the latest versions of files stored on the network. You can use Sync Center to do this. For more information about Sync Center, see What is Sync Center?

  1. Open Sync Center by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button. In the search box, type Sync Center, and then, in the list of results, click Sync Center.

  2. Click the Offline Files folder. Then, on the toolbar, click Sync to sync all your offline files.

Tip

  • If you want to sync only one file or folder, or a selection of files, you don't need to open Sync Center. Simply right-click the item, point to Sync, and then click Sync selected offline files.