One of the biggest complaints that most users have with Notion is that they can’t use it offline. While this shortcoming can impact productivity when you suddenly lose internet connectivity, there is a workaround that can minimize damage. So the next time you are about to catch a flight, away on a working vacation - off the grid in the Alps, or just in the midst of an internet blackout, this hack will help.
By planning in advance and preparing for loss of internet connectivity, you can ensure continuity of work. This means, you can finish your project without interruptions as long as you have a functional device with Notion open in it through a browser or an app.
Notion works offline with limited capabilities compared to its online mode — You can’t open new pages or import blocks from other pages into it. That’s where the limitation lies. While working online, Notion keeps syncing new versions of the page with the copy in the cloud. For that, Notion needs an internet connection to transfer the information to its data centers.
However, the moment you go offline, the version that was transferred last stays in the cloud and new versions get stored on your page. But that does not mean that you can’t edit the pages that are already open. You can continue writing and creating but you can’t save your work immediately. As soon as Notion finds connectivity again, it transfers the data added offline to the cloud. So you can indeed use Notion offline — but only the page that’s already open. Let’s explore how to do that.
Here are the 5 steps to using Notion offline:
1. Open the Notion page that you want to edit while you are online
When you foresee situations when you have to use Notion offline, plan in advance by opening all the Notion pages that you might need to use while you are online. You would not be able to open them without an internet connection later.
Let’s take the below page as example:
2. Make sure the page stays open in the browser or app while you are offline
Let’s imagine that you are traveling and need to finish that one final article and submit it to your client, before the vacation begins. You want to be done with it before your plane lands, so you plan to finish the blog in Notion while you are in-flight. You opened your laptop while at the airport and wrote down half the blog.
You hear the boarding call, so you lock your laptop, pack it up, and board the flight. Fast forward — now it’s been a few minutes since your flight took off, so you do not have an internet connection any more. Now, after you log back into your desktop, the page is open, ready to be edited.
What you have done right is keeping the page open, you did not shut down your laptop or closed the tab in your browser. This ensures that the Notion page is available for edits even without a wifi connection.
Here’s what your page looks like while it’s offline:
But you can still edit it.
3. Avoid actions that can cause the page to crash
Remember that Notion offers limited features while it’s offline. You can’t reload the page or close the tab. If you do that by mistake, you will lose all the edits made since the last version was saved on the cloud - while you were online.
Do not reload or close Notion tabs in your browser till you find an internet connection again. You can even open two instances of the page in two tabs — just to be safe, but you still need to keep transferring data between the two by using the simple copy-and-paste functions.
4. Edit the page in the Offline mode
Alright, now that your Notion page is open in your browser tab, you can start editing it offline. You can use all the Notion blocks except for the Embed block and Sync block because they need an internet connection to pull information from sources outside the page.
Also, you won’t be able to use the image block if you plan to embed images from Unsplash. You can import and embed content only before you go offline or after you come back online.
However, you can write text and play around with Notion fonts.
5. Sync the changes when you find the internet connection again
You need not take any action for this step but you must be aware that Notion automatically syncs all the edits made offline with the version in the cloud — as soon as it finds an internet connection.
This means you need not worry about saving your content manually - Notion does it for you.
Does Notion work offline?
Notion works offline with limited features — you can type text and use the header, toggle, quote, and a few other blocks. But you can’t use embed blocks or synced blocks. In fact, you can’t use any feature that requires the active Notion page to pull data from other pages, inside our outside Notion. That’s why we may never have a fully functional offline mode in Notion.
Why is Notion Online only?
Notion relies on the internet to establish connections and communication between pages inside the workspace. To make Notion available online, the developers need to rework the product architecture from scratch.
How to export from Notion to offline?
You can export Notion offline by creating a backup in your local device. It is a simple 4 step process that only takes a few minutes. However, you can edit the backup content only by importing it back into Notion — it may not be the best way to use Notion offline.
Can Notion store locally?
Yes, Notion can store data locally in your device or personal cloud, when you ask it to create a backup. However, you will not be able to edit the data until you import it back into Notion.
Can you use Notion offline on the phone?
You can use Notion offline on your mobile devices by using the Notion app or the browser instance. Be it an iPhone or an Android device, you must open your page while the device is connected to the internet and keep it open before going offline.