Actually, Your Chromebook Can Run Microsoft Office
There are still many misconceptions about what Chromebook computers can do One of the strangest is this Chromebooks cannot run Microsoft Office. While it’s still true that Windows or Mac software can’t be installed directly on a Chromebook — including the desktop versions of Microsoft Office programs — that’s not the only option when it comes to using Microsoft’s suite of productivity software.
I’m not talking about the Android versions either. Although Chromebooks can run millions of Android apps from the Google Play Store, the Android versions of Microsoft Office, Outlook, OneNote, and OneDrive are no longer supported on Chromebooks. However, when the Android apps were no longer supported on Chromebooks, another option (and in my opinion a better one) took their place.
Progressive web apps are like mobile app versions of a website, but with more features like offline use, the option to pin it to the taskbar, support for push notifications and updates, and access to hardware features. You can find Microsoft Office 365 PWAs like Outlook and OneDrive, and they work great on Chromebooks. Here’s where to find and install them so you can still use Office on a Chromebook.
Sign in to Office 365
Open the Chrome browser and go to Office.com, which is the landing page for Microsoft Office 365 online. If you already have an Office 365 account, sign in as usual. If you don’t have an Office account, you’ll need to create one. You can use any personal email you want for the account, and setting it up is a simple process: enter your email, set a password, verify your email and prove you’re not a robot not.
Install the Office 365 PWA
Once you’re signed in to Office 365 in Chrome, an Install icon will appear in the address bar at the top right. It looks like a computer monitor with a down arrow. Click on it and it will open a prompt to install Office 365. Also, if you only want a single application like Word or Outlook, the same installation option will appear in the address bar when you point the browser to the specific applications.
The installation happens quickly. In a matter of moments, a window opens that looks exactly like the online version of Office 365. It’s essentially a browser window, but with the features of Microsoft Office mobile apps.
Ready to work
Since the PWA behaves like installed software, you can do things like pin it to the taskbar, get notifications, work offline, and easily resize it. The rest of the experience is the same as using the web versions. I actually prefer the PWA versions over the full Office downloads for most things.
Now, if after using the PWAs you miss the look, feel and tools of the desktop software, well, you still can’t install it directly on the Chromebook. But you have other options to running Windows software on a Chromebook.