Microsoft Office is Now Available on Chromebooks

This article has nothing to do with genealogy. However, I have written often about Chromebooks, the inexpensive laptop computers. (See http://bit.ly/2zNe4HY for my past articles about Chromebooks.) This is a follow-up to the earlier articles.

Perhaps the most common question about Chromebooks is, “Can it run my favorite Windows (or Macintosh) programs, such as Microsoft Word?” The answer was “No.” However, that is changing.

Chromebooks are designed to be used with the cloud and run programs that are stored on servers in the cloud. There are thousands of such programs available. See https://play.google.com/store/apps?hl=en for a list of the available apps that run on Chromebooks. The genealogy apps may be found at: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=genealogy&c=apps&hl=en.

HOWEVER, Microsoft has now released versions of Microsoft Office (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneDrive) written especially for Chromebooks. The Chromebook versions have most of the functionality of the Windows and Macintosh versions, although a few features may be missing.

This is the first time Office has been available to Chromebook users as a general release, although a few users had been previously been able to get Microsoft Office to run by installing the beta version of Microsoft Office that was previously available in the Google Play Store.

Microsoft has a rather strange pricing structure for all versions of Microsoft Office: it is available free of charge for computers that have a screen size of 10.1 inches or less. However, Microsoft charges full retail prices on any versions of Microsoft Office that run on larger screen sizes. Chromebook screens might be smaller or larger than 10.1 inches, depending upon the model purchased.

Anyone with a larger Chromebook device will need an Office 365 subscription (starting at $6.99 US dollars per month for the basic version) to unlock the Microsoft programs.

You can obtain the Office apps at: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/Microsoft%20Office?hl=en&_category=apps

As for me, I think I won’t bother with Microsoft Office. I don’t use those programs very much on my bigger computers anyway. I’ll stick with the FREE Zoho Writer, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. They all work well on Chromebooks and have always worked well for me.

2 Comments

I couldn’t live without the “full” Microsoft Excel. I am a geek. I use macros and Excel’s Power Query to extract / format data from sites like FamilySearch.org / Ancestry.com

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If I do not have Microsoft, I often find I cannot open documents without a lot of trouble when I am shared them, so I pay for it.

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