10 Best Ways To Fix Google Docs Download Problems

10 Best Ways To Fix Google Docs Download Problems

While Google Docs works well in Chrome, things don’t always work as expected. The other day I tried to upload a document and it didn’t work. Yes, I could have shared it directly with the person I wanted to send it to. But sometimes I just need an offline copy that I or my collaborators don’t trust only in Google Docs proprietary GDOC format.

After looking around, I came across several reasons why Google Docs is unable to download documents. Out of date web cache, insufficient file permissions, and improperly configured browser settings can all contribute to the problem. With that said, let’s take a look at several troubleshooting tips that have worked for me and help you get things back on track quickly.

1. Enable multiple file downloads

As a security measure, Chrome prevents sites from downloading files one after another. To check if this is the case, load Google Docs in a new tab, then click on the padlock icon next to the address bar. If automatic downloads are set to Block (default), set it to Allow instead.

Google Docs not downloading 1

Reload Google Docs, then try to start a download. It should probably work.

2. Clear Google Docs cache

An outdated web cache can also cause various problems with websites and web applications, and Google Docs is no exception. To exclude this, you need to clear the cached data related to the web application.

Fortunately, you don’t have to clear the entire Chrome cache. Check out this guide for step-by-step instructions on how to clear Google Docs cache only.

3. Disable content blocking extensions

Are you using an ad blocker extension in Chrome? This may be what is preventing Google Docs from successfully initiating downloads. Disable the extension (go to Chrome menu> More tools> Extensions), then download Google Docs again.

Google Docs not downloading 2

If that works, add Google Docs to the extension’s whitelist to avoid future conflicts.

4. Try incognito mode

Chrome’s Incognito Mode can help bypass various browser related issues caused by outdated browser caches or problematic extensions. Open the Chrome menu and click New incognito window to switch to incognito mode. Next, sign in to Google Docs with your Google Account credentials and try to upload a document.

Google Docs not downloading 3

If it works, you can clear the entire Chrome browser cache. Go to Chrome Settings> Privacy & Security> Clear Browsing Data. Just make sure you don’t delete your passwords or autofill your data while you’re at it.

Also, turn off your Chrome extensions: Open the Chrome menu, then click More tools> Extensions. Follow up by re-enabling them one at a time to identify extensions that are preventing Google Docs from working properly.

5. Request download permissions

Are you trying to upload a shared document? You may not have the necessary permissions for this. A greyed-out download option in the File menu in Google Docs indicates this.

Google Docs not downloading 4

In this case, you have no recourse but to ask the owner of the file for permission to download the document.

6. Logging out of other Google accounts

If you’ve signed in to multiple Google Accounts in Chrome, it’s best to sign out of all of them except the one you use to access Google Docs.

Click on the profile portrait in the upper right corner of the Google Docs web app, then click “Sign out of all accounts.”

Google Docs not downloading 5

Follow up by signing back in with the correct Google Account, then try uploading a document to Google Docs.

7. Divide the document

Google Docs may not download large documents (those with lots of images, for example), especially when it comes to exporting them to PDF.

Try to split the document into several parts and upload them separately. You can always combine split PDFs afterwards.

8. Print in PDF format

If splitting files into multiple parts seems complicated, you can “print” them to PDF instead. Open the File menu in Google Docs, select Print, and then select the Save As PDF option in the Print dialog box. The resulting files would, however, be quite large.

Google Docs not downloading 6

You can also select PDF printers such as Adobe PDF or Microsoft Print to PDF as opposed to Chrome’s built-in Save as PDF option.

9. Disable hardware acceleration

The forum chatter says Chrome’s hardware acceleration feature is a likely reason for the failed downloads. To check if this is the case, open Chrome settings, expand Advanced, click System, turn off the switch next to “Use hardware acceleration when available,” and click Relaunch.

Google Docs not downloading 7

Suppose Google Docs starts downloading documents normally afterwards. In this case, you should look into updating Chrome (as a way to fix known issues) as keeping hardware acceleration disabled can negatively impact browser performance.

10. Use another web browser

Google Docs works best in Chrome. But if you still have trouble downloading documents, try using another web browser like Firefox, Edge, or Safari.

If that fixes the problem, you might want to reset Chrome. Restoring misconfigured browser settings to their default values ​​could likely fix download issues with Google Docs for good.

Start download

Google Docs upload failures are relatively easy to fix for the most part. Make sure to validate common fixes in memory (like clearing Google Docs cache, using incognito mode, checking automatic download permissions, etc.) so you know what to do next time you encounter problems. similar problems.


Still familiar with Google Docs? Try these awesome tips and tricks to use it like a pro.

Last updated on August 8, 2020

The above article may contain affiliate links that help support Guiding Tech. However, this does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains impartial and authentic.

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