Using Offline Files

by Barry Dysert
(last updated September 25, 2017)

If you're on a network and have access to network files, you may find it useful to set up some files for offline use. To use files offline means you can access them even though you're not connected to the network. You can make changes offline and, when you are able to rejoin the network, Windows automatically synchronizes your changed file with the one on the network.

It's possible, of course, that even though you can't get to a file on the network someone else may be editing the file you've marked as offline. If that happens, then when you rejoin the network, the changed network file is automatically synchronized with your file.

Of course, there's the third case where you're editing an offline file while another person is editing the network file. In this case, when you rejoin the network Windows recognizes that the files can't be automatically synced and asks which one it is to use.

To make a file available offline, you must be on the network and able to get to the desired file. Right-click the file and select "Always Available Offline" from the Context menu. This causes the network file to be copied to your local system in a folder tree under your hard drive's "Windows" folder. Now, should you lose network connectivity, you can still work on that local file.

If it turns out that you really don't want the file to be available offline, again right-click the network file and clear the checkmark that was added to the "Always Available Offline" Context menu item.

To work on your offline file, click the Start button, type "offline files" (without the quote marks), and press Enter. Windows displays the Offline Files dialog box, with the General tab visible. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Navigating to your offline file.

To actually work with the offline files, click the View Your Offline Files button. You can then navigate to your offline files and work on them.

If you're on the network while editing your offline file, when you exit the editor the network copy is automatically updated. If someone edits the network file and you are connected to the network, then your offline copy is automatically updated so that the files stay in sync.

If, however, you are disconnected from the network and are working on your file while offline, you can use the Sync Center to synchronize the files.

 This tip (13064) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Creating a System Restore Point

System restore points are created automatically at strategic times in the operation of your computer. You can also manually ...

Discover More

Saving Search Queries

Windows Explorer has a good search utility built into it. As you use it, you may wish to save your commonly typed searches. ...

Discover More

ConFavor

Navigating to favorite files or folders need not be a time waster of click through a tree structure. ConFavor makes this type ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Creating a System Image

A system image is a snapshot of your system disk as of a certain point in time. Should the need arise, you can restore your ...

Discover More

Permanently Deleting a File

If you have a file that you're sure you want to permanently delete (instead of having it go to the Recycle Bin) it's an easy ...

Discover More

Turning On the Display of File Extensions

Windows is configured, by default, to hide file extensions. This could be confusing or outright dangerous. For example, if ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.