Using Offline Files

Written 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 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Toggling Delete Confirmation

When you delete a file, Windows typically asks you if you are sure you want to make the deletion. You can control this ...

Discover More

Displaying the Number of Files or Folders within a Folder

You can easily determine how many files and folders there are within a folder by making quick use of Windows Explorer or ...

Discover More

Understanding XPS Documents

XPS Documents have been around for several years and are now making their way into the native Windows environment. They ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Recovering a Deleted File

We sometimes delete files by accident, or we delete files that we later realize we shouldn't have. Fortunately, these ...

Discover More

Configuring Windows to Do Backups on a Schedule

Performing regular backups of your system offers you peace of mind because you don't have to worry about data loss in the ...

Discover More

Using File History

Backing up your data is an important part of computer management. Enabling File History is a painless way to be able to ...

Discover More
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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 three more than 4?

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


Newest Tips