If you’re using Google Drive to store your office documents on, then surely all you need to both viewing and editing those documents is the Google Drive app, right? Apparently not, because Google has released this, a lightweight, standalone app for – guess what – viewing and editing word processing documents.

Confused? We were too. At first glance they share identical functionality – view, edit and open up your documents for sharing. The tools for editing your documents are also the same on both apps. While it’s true that Google Docs is a faster, smaller app – which could be a consideration if your phone or tablet struggles with Google Drive’s demands – there’s no obvious reason to choose this over the other, particularly as the other also supports viewing and editing spreadsheets and other documents in your Google Drive storage too.

But wait, here’s the clincher: only Google Docs (and its companion app for spreadsheets, Google Sheets) lets you access your documents offline, allowing you to view and edit them without being connected.

To do this, you’ll need to open the document as normal, then tap the “i” button. Flick the “Keep on this device” switch to On and you’re good to go. By default, the app allows you to store up to 50MB of data on your device – fully encrypted – at any one time. To change this figure or clear the cache, open the main menu and tap Settings.


If you want offline access to your word processing documents, then Google Docs is the app you’ll need.