How do I periodically backup my entire online documents in Google Docs? I am looking for a tool that can download the documents to my PC. I do not need any kind of two-way synchronization, just plain one-way backup.

(I am using Windows. Feel free to suggest options for other OSes too.)

  • Just wonder, no offense... do you think that your hard disk is more reliable than Google servers?
    – Graviton
    Aug 12, 2009 at 14:58
  • 4
    Ngu: Do remember that (1) Google can go down sometimes, anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours (2) Internet access can go down in rare cases. Aug 13, 2009 at 7:29
  • 1
    Google managed to delete a large number of email accounts recently, there's no guarantee that your data is safe.
    – ocodo
    Mar 23, 2011 at 6:06
  • @Graviton: What if the doc is shared and someone else messes it up? Yes, definitely: it would be more reliable stored on my machine in this case. Oct 27, 2012 at 8:19
  • I am not so worried about the Google servers, but I am worried that I will accidentally trash my documents somehow (perhaps with a dodgy script, or while addled by strong liquor), and I would need to go back and look at a previous version. Jul 1, 2016 at 3:22

10 Answers 10


This was covered on Lifehacker:

Back up your Google Apps data

If you've jumped on the online word processing and spreadsheets bandwagon, you've probably already got a lot of docs on Google's servers (I know I do). By default, backing up those files means you'd need to download them one at a time, which is quite frankly a tedious waste of time.

Instead, Firefox users can back up all or select chunks of Google Docs and Spreadsheet files in various formats (including MS Office or Open Office formats, PDF, plain text, or CSV) in one fell swoop using the Google Docs Download Greasemonkey script. This solution requires a little diligence on your part (you'll need to regularly back up the docs yourself), but the Google Docs Download script makes the process fairly painless.


I found GDocBackup and it is working quite well for my purposes right now.

Thanks to everyone who suggested other options.

  • I can second that this: it is working well for me. It even preserves the folder structure. Note that if you have two-factor authentication turned on for your Google account, you will need to generate an application-specific password as GDocBackup (currently) cannot handle two-factor authentication.
    – rlandster
    Aug 24, 2013 at 23:55
  • 1
    This solution no longer applies. From their project page: "GDocBackup stopped working on April 20, 2015. Google stopped the old APIs used by GDocBackup."
    – tanius
    Jul 6, 2016 at 17:52

Google Docs Backup from Google Enterprise Marketplace

  • That application seems to be no longer available.
    – tanius
    Jul 6, 2016 at 18:50

There is a Python script where you can choose output format. It simply downloads ans converts you documents and puts them in a directory.

  • i've tried all the others listed here, and gdd is what i prefer. it allows me to run the backup in a cron or launchd task and only download the recently changed files as doc, pdf, xls and ppt. i then back those up like any normal document.
    – yanokwa
    Dec 30, 2009 at 22:45
  • This doesn't work anymore, presumably with the new API
    – isaaclw
    Nov 27, 2017 at 3:55

It seems the only way to do this is with Documents (text docs) only, not spreadsheets or presentations. You can select them all, then choose More Actions > Export as > Save as HTML (Zipped)...:

Export HTML


File->Download File As... and select the type, then you can save it locally to your desktop. Not really automated, but it will make a local backup.

I hope this helps.


You can use Google Takeout to mass-export your Google Docs document into a format of your choice:

  1. While configuring the archive to create, select only the "Drive" product.

  2. Click the "down arrow" icon in the line belonging to the Drive product to configure the formats to export in, and the folders to include.

Issues with this approach:

  • The export will only contain files you created, not files shared with you. This means, the approach is not useful for backup purposes in most cases – it is only useful if you created all Google Docs documents to back up by yourself.
  • The created archive will contain all your files from the selected folder(s), not just Google Docs files. There is no way to exclude files of certain types.
  • You can only select folders from the root level of your Google Drive files.

There is a new feature in Google Docs where it is possible to download all of your documents as a zip file.

Right click on any document in Google Docs, select "Download" from the pop up menu.

Change tabs from "Selected Items" to "All Items" and configure how you would like your different documents to be downloaded.

Click on the "Download" button, it might take a few minutes to prepare the ZIP file if you have a large volume of documents.

(This seems to work for both traditional Google accounts and Google Apps Premium accounts, the only ones I've got available to test)

  • This feature seems to be gone again. In the right-click menu in Google Docs, I only get these options: "Rename", "Remove", "Open in new tab".
    – tanius
    Jul 6, 2016 at 18:55
  • @tanius could you use the Google Takeout facility instead, perhaps? Jul 7, 2016 at 7:27
  • Indeed, that works. I made that into an answer.
    – tanius
    Jul 7, 2016 at 14:43

You can use the open source command-line utility drive to back up your Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets etc. by exporting them and all other files in Google Drive by downloading them.

This is my favourite solution because it can be fully automated. However, "it probably doesn't work on Windows" [source], so may not be suitable for your case.

Installation under Linux is simple because packages are provided – instructions here. Before the first usage, go to the local target directory and configure access to your Google Drive with:

drive init

Then, to back up one specific directory completely:

drive pull -export=docx,xlsx,pptx,svg "directory name"

Without the -export option, Google Docs & Spreadsheet files would end up locally just as links in .desktop files. You can configure exporting to other formats as well [see].


You can use Google Drive for mass-exporting your Google Apps files to MS Office formats: Google Docs to .docx, Google Spreadsheets and Google Forms to .xlsx, Google Presentations to .pptx.


  1. Select one or more files or folders in Google Drive.
  2. Right-click and choose "Download" from the context menu.
  3. Save and then unpack the .zip archive that will be created.

Issues with this approach: No choice of export format is possible. And if you export a whole folder, any other non-Google Docs files in it will also be included into the archive.

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