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Does Microsoft Office work on a Chromebook?

Microsoft Office is the most popular productivity suite in the world. If you use one of the best Chromebooks as your daily driver for work or school, you’ll probably want to run at least one Microsoft app. From word processing to math tasks with Excel, Office has everything you need to get the job done. Although Microsoft does not offer a native ChromeOS app, there are several viable ways to run Office apps on a Chromebook.

Run Microsoft Office 365 on Chromebook with web apps

The best option for running Microsoft Office on a Chromebook is through the Microsoft Office 365 suite of web apps. You can use Office for the web in your browser to create, edit, and collaborate on files from your Chromebook. This approach also feels very natural since the Chromebook is designed for cloud computing. Plus, you don’t need to install anything, thus saving storage space in the process.

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

Those who plan to use the web app approach in Office should consider adding shortcuts for them to your app drawer. You can also pin it to your shelf if you want Office always in one click. There is also neat Chrome extension for Microsoft Office, allowing easier access right within your browser.

How about Microsoft Office on Chromebook via Android apps?

While it used to be a viable option, unfortunately, Microsoft has removed the ability to run Android apps on Chromebooks. This policy was announced in late August 2021, and is in full effect for the ban on Android Office apps for Chromebooks. This policy results from Microsoft’s attempt to get more users to have Office 365 subscriptions and enjoy the full benefits of the full Office suite in the cloud.

While this is a logical step for many Chrome users, it is doubtful 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 via Parallels

You probably want to run the full Windows version of Microsoft Office. This is possible thanks to Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS. It’s important to note that at the moment, Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS is only available to enterprise Chromebook customers, so this is a useful option for business users.

The splash page for Parallels Desktop on Chrome OS

Parallels runs a full version of Windows 10 inside a container on a Chromebook. With a full version of Windows installed on your Chrome OS device, you can easily download and run the full desktop version of each Office application. There are some major advantages to this method. Most importantly, you retain all the power of Microsoft applications. Some pro features, such as the Data Analysis ToolPak in Excel, are missing from the web and Android apps. Running Parallels on a Chromebook gives access to all the functionality found only in desktop applications.

Parallels Desktop is a full-featured Windows container that runs natively on Chrome OS.  This program allows you to run the full version of Windows on your Chromebook.
Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS
Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS

Parallels Desktop is a full-featured Windows container that runs natively on Chrome OS. This program allows you to run the full version of Windows on your Chromebook.

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 to use with Parallels.
Microsoft Office
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 to use with Parallels.

There are fewer options for running Microsoft Office on Chromebooks than there used to be, but there are still ways to get access. Most users will have to use the web app, while 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, consider a nice docking station to streamline your workflow. Tell us in the comments how you can access Microsoft Office on your Chrome OS device.