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How to Backup Google Docs

Updated on August 17, 2010

If you've read some of my articles online on Hubpages, you are probably aware that I am a big fan of the "computing cloud" for data storage. I just love the way I can create a document online and then access from any computer or smartphone in the world. The ease of access and the "always available" ideology are what is propelling the movement to the cloud. However, as a user, I sometimes worry about my data being out there without having a personal, "hard" copy stored on my own computer. What happens if my accounts online are disabled or if my password is lost or stolen? What happens if the company I'm storing my files with goes out of business? There are a lot of things that can go wrong when storing everything online, and so I am writing this guide to show you how to back your online data up to a more local place.

Google Docs

Today I am going to focus on Google Docs in my article. There are tons of other places that you can store data online, which I will eventually cover in other articles. But now I am going to talk about the online Microsoft Word competitor, Google Docs. If you've been using the site frequently, or even as a Microsoft Office replacement, you undoubtedly have lots of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations stored on Google's servers. Google is one of the more reliable and secure companies for hosting data, so I would suggest to you that your data is almost undeniably safe. But obviously no company is 100% perfect or has 100% uptime, so I will show you how to create a copy of the items stored in your account so that you can store them for backup offline.

Google's Built-In Utility

If you are planning on doing extremely frequent backups (think weekly or bi-weekly), then this isn't the best option for you. Skip to the next section. However, if you want to create a backup of just a few files or even your entire account occasionally, then this is the best option.

Begin by logging in to Google Docs. All of your files will be listed. If you want to download everything, select any file by checking it (it doesn't matter which one). Then, click "More Actions" and choose "Export."

Next, click the tab at the top that says "All Items."

Go through and set your preferences for each of the kinds of documents you want to download. I would leave the defaults as they are because they allow you to open your documents using Word and other Microsoft Office alternatives if you need to edit them offline in the future. Once finished, click "Download." You will now have a ZIP file of all of your documents.


If you're going to be making more frequent backups, an offline program may be the answer. A small utility called GDocBackup is designed to automatically download all of your Google Docs files to a folder on your hard drive. This program is free and can be downloaded here:

After you install the program on your computer, you will need to sign in with your Google account and password. This is so that the program can access your documents, and the developer does not see your personal information since it is stored locally. Open up the program and click "Action" > "Config."

Type in your account info and then select a folder that you want the backups to be saved to. Under the "Export Format" tab, choose how you want the files to be downloaded. Make sure you click the "Remember" check box next to password, or you'll have to re-enter it each time.

Save the information, and then click the giant "EXEC" button to run the download. Depending on how many documents you have, it could take quite a while. The good news is that is checks for changed documents. So once you run the download once, it will only download files that have been edited during future downloads.

That's all there is, just remember to run the program every once in a while, and all of your documents will be safely stored online and on your computer.

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    • Sun-Deep BhaGat profile image

      Sun-Deep BhaGat 5 years ago from Biratnagar

      thanks for explaining about backing up google documents. i too use google doc to save my imp documetns . check my post . it might be useful..

    • profile image

      Moin 6 years ago

      Out company is also using Google Docs Backup Utility for taking backups.

      Its amazing product and never gives us any sort of error.

      Great !

    • profile image

      JOHN 7 years ago


      There is another Backup Utility for Google Docs that works really great..


      The main features are :

      • Administrators can backup a single user or the entire domain user’s documents to local directory.

      • Synchronize local with remote versions

      • Download latest version of documents to save bandwidth.

      • Multiple download formats are available, including Adobe Acrobat Reader(PDF), MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, Open office etc

      • Schedule as an automated task for recurring backup

      • Easy GUI backup wizard

      • Authentication Support: OAuth

      Cheers !