How to use offline files
When you use offline files, you can access copies of your network files even when you can’t connect to the network.
Working with offline files isn’t as hard as it sounds. After you’ve turned the offline files feature on, you can choose the files (or folders) on your network that you want to work with while you’re not connected. Windows creates a copy of each file on your PC, and the next time you connect, your offline files will automatically get synced with the files in the network folder.Show all
To start using offline files on your PC
Before you can make files or folders on your network available offline, you need to make sure the offline files feature is turned on.
- Tap or click to open Offline Files.
- On the General tab, tap or click Enable offline files. You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.You might need to restart your PC for the changes to take effect.Enabling offline files
To make files or folders available offline
- When your PC is connected to the network, open File Explorer and find the network file or folder you want to make available offline.Tap or click to open File Explorer.
- Select the file or folder, tap or click the Home tab, tap or click Easy access, and then choose Always available offline. A small green sync icon () will appear in the corner of the file or folder icon.Whenever you’re connected to the file or folder on the network, it will automatically sync with your offline copy. You can also sync it manually at any time. If you’re working offline and make a change to a file that someone else has also changed in the network location, there will be a sync conflict, and you’ll be asked which version you want to keep. The Easy access menu
- To access your offline files more easily, select the network file or folder and choose Pin to Start or Add to favorites on the Easy access menu.
- If you don’t want a network file or folder to be available offline anymore, select the file or folder and choose Always available offline again.
To work offline even though you have network access
Sometimes you might want to work with the offline versions of files even though you’re connected to the network. This is handy if your network connection is slow or unreliable.
- Open the network location that contains the file or folder you’ve made available offline. Tap or click the Home tab, tap or click Easy access, and then choose Work offline.
- When you’re finished working offline, choose Work offline again. This will sync any changes you’ve made offline with the file or folder on the network.
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:
- Tap or click to open Offline Files.
- On the General tab, tap or click View your offline files.
To use Sync Center to sync all your offline files
Windows syncs your offline files for you automatically, so that when a network file is changed, the offline copy stored on your PC is also updated when you connect to the network, and vice versa. But sometimes you might want to sync all 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 info about Sync Center, see What is Sync Center?
- Tap or click to open Sync Center.
- Select the Offline Files folder. Then, on the toolbar, tap or click Sync to sync all your offline files.
If you want to sync only one file or folder, or a selection of files, you don’t need to open Sync Center. Just select the items, tap or click the Home tab, tap or click Easy access, and then choose Sync.
To allow offline access for shared folders
If you share a folder on a home network, you can let other people keep offline copies of files in the folder. Offline access is allowed by default, but you can check this setting if you need to. These are the steps for Windows 8, but you can also allow offline access for folders shared on Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
- Select the folder, tap or click the Home tab, and then tap or click Properties.
- Tap or click the Sharing tab.
- Tap or click Advanced Sharing. You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.
- Make sure Share this folder is selected, and then tap or click Caching.
- Tap or click Only the files and programs that users specify are available offline to let other people pick items in the folder to work with offline, and then tap or click OK twice.