How to Run Microsoft Office on a Chromebook

How to get Microsoft 365 on a Chromebook

There are two ways for Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) subscribers to access Microsoft Office apps on a Chromebook. First, you may use Office Online apps to create and edit Office files in the Chrome OS browser. Second, you might be able to install and use Microsoft Office apps for Android on a Chromebook.

Not every Microsoft Office app works in a browser, and not every Chromebook and Google account allows you to install Android apps.

Use an active Microsoft 365 subscription to sign in to your account for full access to available features in Office Android apps as well as Office Online. You may purchase a Microsoft 365 subscription for your use at the Microsoft 365 site. Students and businesses can explore links to purchase Microsoft 365 editions on that site, as well.

Install Microsoft Office Android Apps

Most newer Chromebooks allow you to install and run Android apps by accessing the Google Play Store. You may look for your Chromebook make and model on the Chrome OS Systems Supporting Android Apps page. Devices listed as supporting the Stable Channel can run Android apps. 

If you use a Chromebook provided by your school or work, an administrator might control access to the Google Play Store. Check with your organization's tech support team if you have questions.

If you have access to the Google Play Store on your Chromebook, here's how to install the Microsoft Office Android apps.

  1. Access the Launcher (typically, in the lower-left corner).

    The App Launcher on a Chromebook
  2. Select the Play Store.

    The Play Store icon in the Chromebook Launcher
  3. Search for the name of a Microsoft Office app (for example, Microsoft Word).

  4. On the app page, select Install.

    The Install button in Google Play

As of May 2019, the following are some of the Microsoft Office Android apps you can install on Chrome OS:

To run an installed Android app, select the Launcher (the circle typically in the lower-left corner on a Chromebook screen), locate the app, then select the app to run it. If prompted, sign in to the app with your personal Microsoft Office account or your Microsoft 365 account.

Access Office Apps Online

You also may work with Microsoft 365 apps on the web from a Chromebook. On your Chromebook, follow the link to install Office Online from the Chrome Web Store. This extension gives you fast access to open existing Office files stored locally or on OneDrive. It also lets you create new Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files from the Chrome browser.

Or, go to Office.com and sign in with your Microsoft 365 account. From the browser, you can access Office Online apps. Microsoft also offers these apps, except Microsoft Sway, in the Chrome Web Store:

Caution: App/Browser Only

Not every app appears on both the Android app list and the Office Online app list. Skype, for example, runs only as an Android app on a Chromebook. It doesn't work in the Chromebook browser. Conversely, Sway is only an Office Online app in the Chromebook browser. There's no Sway Android app available.

Additionally, not every Office app can be accessed online or on a Chromebook. Microsoft Access, a database system, and Microsoft Publisher, a desktop publishing app, are available with a Microsoft 365 subscription, but only to install on Windows systems. Visio, a diagramming app, and Microsoft Project, a team project management tool, offer online and installable versions. Each of these apps requires an additional subscription.

Edit Office Files in Google Docs

Even if you don't have a Microsoft 365 account, you might be able to open and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents on a Chromebook using the Google editing apps, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

You can open and convert a Word file into a Google Doc, an Excel file into a Google Sheet, and a PowerPoint file into a Google Slides presentation. Once converted, you can edit and collaborate with people in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides. When you complete your work on a Google Doc, Sheet, or Slide, select File > Download as to save your work as a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file.

Alternatively, you can use the Google Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides Chrome extension to open and make basic edits to Office files while preserving the file format. That means a .doc or .docx file remains in that format, without conversion to a Google Doc, while you edit. The same is true for Excel (.xls and .xlsx) and PowerPoint (.ppt and .pptx) formats. You shouldn't need to install the extension on your Chromebook since it should be installed by default.

Starting in May 2019, Google added the native ability in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides to open, edit, comment, and collaborate on Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. For this to work, you may need to uninstall the Office compatibility app in Chrome. (To uninstall this extension, go to the vertical three-dot menu in Chrome, select More Tools > Extensions, locate the Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides extension, then select Remove.) For many people, the simplest way to work with an Office file on a Chromebook may be to open it and edit it using one of the core Google apps.