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How to run Microsoft Office on Chromebook
Chromebooks are affordable, fast, and simple, but they lack some desktop-level software many of you need. Office users can do just about everything through Google Drive. As great as that is, most of us are used to Microsoft Office apps like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Luckily, it’s still possible to use Microsoft Office on Chromebook devices.
You can’t install desktop versions of Office on a Chromebook, but you still have options. Depending on what software you run on your Chromebook, you’ll be able to use Office in a somewhat limited capacity.
To use Microsoft Office on your Chromebook, you can use Microsoft Office on the web in Google Chrome. You can also stream it from your PC or use CrossOver to use the Windows version of Microsoft Office on your Chromebook.
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Editor’s note: All instructions in this tutorial were put together using a Lenovo Chromebook Duet running ChromeOS version 93.0.4577.85 and an Asus ZenBook Pro Duo running Windows 10 Pro. Keep in mind steps may differ if you’re using different devices or software versions.
Microsoft Office mobile apps on Chromebook
Microsoft used to offer Microsoft Office mobile apps for Chromebook but has now retired them. The recommended way to use Office on your Chromebook now is to use Microsoft Office on the web.
If you have the apps installed already, they will continue to work until the versions are no longer supported. However, you cannot install the apps anymore. Thankfully, Microsoft Office on the web is pretty solid, and you can follow the instructions below to use it on your Chromebook.
Microsoft Office on the web
Microsoft Office on the web, previously known as Microsoft Office Online, is the online version of the suite. With this, you’ll be able to work on, edit, and share Office files directly in your browser. You need to be connected to the internet to use Microsoft Office on your Chromebook, which may not be ideal, but it means you have an alternative to Google Drive.
The best part is that you can access OneDrive and Microsoft Office web apps with a free account. You get more benefits and extra services if you pay for an Office 365 account, but it’s unnecessary to use Microsoft Office apps online. The good news is that these web apps are really close to their full desktop counterparts.
All you have to do is sign up for Office online for free, and click the Upload and open… button to open the Office document you want to view or edit.
Stream from your PC to a Chromebook
Another option is to run Microsoft Office on a PC and stream it to your Chromebook. This might be beneficial because you get the chance to run the full desktop version made for a PC. It will have all the features and no compromises. The main downside is that you need another computer, in which case you might as well use the device with a full desktop OS. However, it’s an excellent way to use Microsoft Office on Chromebook computers when on the go.
Before you start, make sure you have Microsoft Office and Google Chrome installed on your PC. Also, make sure you have a stable internet connection on your PC and Chromebook.
- Open the Chrome browser on your PC and visit the Chrome Remote Desktop website.
- Click the Set up remote access option.
- Install the Chrome Remote Desktop extension on your PC.
- Return to the original tab on your PC and name your computer.
- Click Next and create a PIN with at least six digits.
- If prompted, enter the PIN you created on your PC.
- Now you can use your PC remotely using your Chromebook.
You could also use a PC cloud service like Shadow. This company offers Windows machines you can access remotely through any compatible device. Supported operating systems include Windows, macOS, Ubuntu, Android, and iOS. You won’t see Chrome OS on the list, but remember, Chromebooks can run Android apps. Once set up, you could install Photoshop on your remote Windows machine and stream it. Just keep in mind Shadow isn’t exactly cheap — prices start at $29.99 a month.
Related: The 15 best Chromebook games
Crossover runs Windows apps
Did you know it’s possible to run full Windows apps on a Chromebook? Code Weavers makes a service called CrossOver, which allows you to run Windows programs on macOS, Linux, and ChromeOS machines.
The software costs a good penny, but it can run many Windows apps on your Chromebook computer, including Microsoft Office ones. The purchase also includes support, which could be great if you need any help setting things up.