Does Microsoft Office work on a Chromebook?

Microsoft Office is the world’s most popular productivity suite. If you’re using one of the best Chromebooks as a daily driver for work or school, you’ll probably want to run at least one Microsoft app. From word processing to calculation tasks with Excel, Office has everything you need to get the job done. While Microsoft doesn’t offer a native Chrome OS app, there are several viable options for running Office apps on a Chromebook.

Run Microsoft Office 365 on Chromebook using web apps

The best option for running Microsoft Office on a Chromebook is to use the Microsoft Office 365 web application suite. You can use Office for the web in your browser to create, edit, and collaborate on files from your Chromebook. This approach also seems very natural since your Chromebook was designed for cloud computing. One of the main advantages of web apps is that you don’t have to install anything, which saves storage space on your device.

Microsoft Word web app on Chrome OS

Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote are all present as web apps, as are Outlook, OneDrive, Skype, People, Calendar, Sway, and Forms. All of these web apps have limited free functionality, but to get the full feature set you will need to pay for a Microsoft Office 365 subscription. If you are a student or teacher, you can probably get Office 365 for free through your school or university. Anyone can also get a one-month free trial of Office 365.

Those planning to use the web apps approach for Office should consider adding web app shortcuts to your app drawer. You can also pin them to your shelf if you want Office to always be just a click away. There’s also a nifty Chrome extension for Microsoft Office, allowing even easier access right in your browser.

What about Microsoft Office on Chromebook through Android apps?

Once a viable option, Microsoft has removed the ability to run its Android apps on Chromebooks. They announced this policy at the end of August 2021 and the ban on Android Office apps for Chromebooks is now in full force. This policy is the result of Microsoft’s attempt to attract more users to Office 365 subscriptions and take full advantage of the full Office suite in the cloud. While this is a logical decision for many Chrome users, it is a shame that you can no longer edit Office documents, spreadsheets, or presentations without an internet connection. At this point, web apps are your best bet for running Office apps on Chrome OS.

Run Microsoft Office on Chromebook through Parallels

Maybe you want to run the full Windows version of Microsoft Office? This is also possible using Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS. It is important to understand that at this time, Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS is only available to business customers. For business users, this is definitely a worthwhile option to consider. Parallels software runs a full version of Windows 10 in a container on your Chromebook.

start page for Parallels Desktop on Chrome OS

With a full version of Windows installed on your Chrome OS device, you can easily download and run the full desktop version of every Office app. There are a few key advantages of this method. Most importantly, you retain the full power of Microsoft applications. Some of the professional features, such as Data Analysis ToolPak in Excel, are missing from both the web app and the Android app. Running Parallels on your Chromebook provides access to all of the features that can only be found in desktop apps.

    Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS
    Parallels Desktop is a fully featured Windows container that runs natively on Chrome OS. This software allows you to run the full version of Windows on your Chromebook.
    Microsoft Office
    The most popular productivity suite, Office has everything you need for school or work, with Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote included. Make sure you have a copy of Office for use with Parallels.

There are several great options for running Microsoft Office apps on your Chromebook. If you are an individual user, the web app or Android app approach is probably the best. Business users may want to explore the option of using Parallels Desktop to run Windows 10 on Chrome OS. Either way, if you work with spreadsheets and documents all day long, consider a nice docking station to streamline your workflow. Let us know in the comments how you access Microsoft Office on your Chrome OS device.

Jose C. Birney