Microsoft Office for Chromebook: how to install and use it

So you have a Chromebook and you are wondering how to install and use Microsoft Office for Chromebook? Good news, you are on the right page! In this article I will explain:

  • How to install Microsoft Office for Chromebook 
  • How much does Microsoft Office for Chromebook cost 
  • How to use Excel on Chromebook
  • How to use Word on Chromebook
  • Is Microsoft Office the best suit for Chromebook?
  • Free alternatives to Microsoft Office for Chromebook

A bit of background 

Before going further into the details of Microsoft Office for Chromebook, it is important to understand the main differences between a Chromebook and a Windows device. I already explained the differences between Chromebooks and Windows laptops in great detail. So in this article I will only focus on the impact that these differences have when it comes to installing Office on Chromebook.

Can I install Office for Windows on a Chromebook?

The answer to this question is very easy: no. Chromebook devices are not powered by Windows. This means that you cannot install a software for Windows devices on a Chromebook device. Fortunately there is a special version of Microsoft Office available for Chromebook

Is my Chromebook device fast enough to run Microsoft Office?

As I just explained, the version of Microsoft Office that you will install on your Chromebook is specifically designed for Chromebooks. Office for Chromebook is really fast and it offers basically all the functionalities of the normal Microsoft Office for Windows devices.

Hopefully you now understand the difference between Office for Chromebook and the one for Windows devices. Let´s take a look at how to install Office on a Chromebook and how much it costs to do so!

How to install Microsoft Office for Chromebook

Installing Microsoft Office on a Chromebook is really easy. All available software for Chromebook is available on the Play Store. You can follow the steps below to install Office for Chromebook:

  • Click the magnifying glass on the left side of the keyboard, this will open the search function
  • Search for ¨Play Store¨ in the search function 
  • Select the Play Store App (as shown in the screenshot below)

This will open the play store. Type ¨Microsoft Office¨ in the search bar on the top left of the Play Store to search for Office. 

Microsoft Office will probably be the first one in the list. The screenshot below shows what the Microsoft Office app looks like in the Play Store. 

You might have noticed that Microsoft Word and Excel are listed below Microsoft Office in the search list in the Play Store. Later in this article I will explain how to separately install Excel, Word or any other Office software for Chromebook. For now let’s continue installing Office for Chromebook.

Click on the Microsoft Office app and then click on the ¨Install” button on the top right of the Play Store (as in screenshot below)

Congratulations, you have now installed Microsoft office for Chromebook. However, you need a valid Office subscription to be able to use Office software from your Chromebook. Let’s take a look at how this works.

Do you already have a Microsoft Office subscription? 

If you already have a Microsoft Office subscription, you can also use it on Chromebook. Keep in mind that you might already have a subscription with your work or college. If this is the case, check with your employer or school if you can use your company or college subscription for personal use as well. 

If you are not allowed to use your work or college Office subscription, you will need to buy a subscription.

How much does a Microsoft Office subscription for Chrome cost?

There are several office subscriptions available. The cheapest Microsoft Office subscription available is Microsoft 365 Personal. This subscription costs $69.99 per year and it gives you full access to the Microsoft Office apps, also from Chromebook! The only downside of this subscription is that it is valid for one person only.

If you are able to form a group of people, I would recommend you to get a Microsoft 365 Family subscription. This subscription gives the same functionalities of Microsoft 365 Personal but for up to 6 people for a total price of $99.99 per year. This means that it can be as cheap as $16.67 per year, much better right?

Excel and Word for Chromebook

As I have previously said, Chromebooks are amazing devices, but they usually have only very little memory. If you do not have enough space on your Chromebook and you only use one of the Microsoft Office apps, you can consider to only install PowerPoint, Excel or Word for Chromebook. You can install Excel for Chromebook and Word for Chromebook the same way you did for Office. Search the app you need in the Play Store and install it.

Which subscription do I need to install Excel and Word for Chromebook?

There are two options to use Excel (or Word) on your Chromebook. One option is to purchase Excel (or Word) as a separate software and the other is to purchase a subscription to the complete Office 365 suite. Purchasing Excel (or Word) separately would costs you a one off payment of $139.99 per program (you can use this link to purchase Excel and this link to purchase Word). If you choose to purchase the full Office 365 suite, this will cost you $6.99 per month. Personally I recommend to purchase the full subscription as you will most likely end up needing all the software in the Office suite at some point. In addition by subscribing to the Office 365 suite, you will always have the latest greatest version of Office on your Chromebook.

How to use Excel on Chromebook

Using Excel on Chromebook is really easy. After installing it, you just need to search for ¨Excel¨ in the Chromebook search function (the magnifying glass on the left side of your keyboard) and open it. As you are using an Microsoft Office subscription, you will be able to open all your Excel files from any of your devices. The reason for this is that all your Excel files are saved ¨in the Cloud¨. Saving your files on Drive will also save precious space on your Chromebook device.

When it comes to functionalities, Excel for Chromebook is pretty much the same as Excel for Windows. So no big surprise there!

How to use Word on Chromebook 

Anything I said about how to use Excel on Chromebook is also valid for Word. Just open Word on your Chromebook device, write your documents and save them on the Cloud!

Is Microsoft Office the best suit for Chromebook?

We just saw that Office works perfectly on Chromebook, but is Microsoft Office really the best suite for Chromebook? As usual, the answer to this question is that it depends on your needs! For example, Microsoft Office for Chromebook is the best option if you want to work on the same file using office both from a Windows device and from your Chromebook. In fact, other free tools (like Google’s G-Suite) are compatible with the Microsoft suite, but there are always some little limitations. 

Let’s face it, most documents on the internet are in Microsoft Office format. By installing Microsoft Office 365 on your Chromebook you will be able to open and read all the documents that you need. Without Office installed your Chromebook will never completely replace a Windows PC! So I would really recommend to install Microsoft Office to enable the full potential of your Chromebook.

The advantage of using OneDrive on Chromebook

As I already explained, Chromebook devices do not have much internal storage space. By purchasing a Microsoft 365 office subscription, you will also get 1 TB storage space “in the cloud” of OneDrive. This means that all your Office files can be saved in OneDrive instead of saving them on the (scarce) memory of your Chromebook. This will save valuable local memory and make your Chromebook perform much better!

Free alternatives to Microsoft Office for Chromebook

If you bought a Chromebook to save money you might not want to spend a lot of money on a Microsoft Office subscription. As I just mentioned, I do not really recommend this as not having Microsoft Office installed would really limit the potential of your Chromebook. A good way to keep the price of office down is to team up with some people and share an Office family subscription. This way Office would only cost you $1.67 per person per month! But in case you really do not want to install Office on your Chromebook, the Google G-suite is probably the best (free) alternative. Google G-suite offers similar functionalities to Microsoft office for free! The Google G-Suite is not only completely free, it also does not require you to install anything on your laptop. As a Chromebook has very limited storage space, the G-Suite is the perfect alternative to Office for Chromebooks.

The G-Suite for Chromebook 

The fact that the G-Suite is such a good option for Chromebook is not really random. In fact, both Chromebook devices and the G-Suite are offered by Google. So it is logical to expect that the two work perfectly together! As I just explained, the G-Suite does not require you to install anything. To use the G-Suite on Chromebook, just open Chrome and go to https://gsuite.google.com/!

The good side of it is that you will save precious storage space, but the downside is that you will need an internet connection to enjoy full functionality. Without an internet connection you will only be able to keep editing files that you already opened in your Chrome browser.

Google Docs, Sheets slides and more for Chromebook 

Google G-Suite offers an alternative to most Microsoft Office software. In the list below you will find the most used G-Suite alternatives to Microsoft Office software:

  • Google Sheets: alternative to Microsoft Excel
  • Google Slides: alternative to Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Google Docs: alternative to Microsoft Word

Conclusion 

You now know everything about Microsoft Office for Chromebook. You also learned how to install Microsoft Word and Excel on Chromebook and how much this will cost. In case you are not interested in spending some money to purchase Microsoft Office for Chromebook, you discovered a great free alternative offered by Google, the G-Suite!