Google made it possible to save any file type offline in Drive's web client way back in 2019. However, it's been limited to G Suite users for over two years as it languished in beta hell. Starting today, it's officially a feature anyone can use with their backed-up content.
Once this update hits your account, you can mark any file type in Drive with offline status right from the web browser, negating the need to download a document or use Google's desktop software. Docs, Sheets, and Slides files already supported offline viewing and edits, but now you can add PDFs, Word files, and images to the mix.
It's hard to tell, but this PDF is opened with Preview.
To save a file to your browser, just right-click on the content you want to keep and toggle "Available offline" on. Non-Google documents open directly in supported applications on your computer, like PDF viewers or image galleries.
If this looks familiar, you're probably on Chrome OS. Those users have had access to a similar feature for a few months now, making it easy to mark Docs, PDFs, folders, and anything else as available offline, right from the built-in file browser.
Marking files as offline in Chrome OS's file browser.
It's nice to see this ability finally accessible to all users, even if it's not as useful as it was a couple of years ago. While this method once offered a perfect workaround to avoid using Google's terrible Backup and Sync tool, that app is just a couple of weeks away from shutting down completely.
Offline file access for Drive is available to all users, including Workspace, G Suite, and personal accounts, though it may take up to fifteen days to become widely accessible.