Cue the grumpy, old tech writer: “Back in my day, you did get to use Microsoft products on a Chromebook. As a matter of fact, we went out of our way to NOT use MS anything!”
Yeah, that really was the mindset in the early days of ChromeOS because frankly, there was a distinct line of division between Windows users and those looking to make things work in the cloud. Thankfully, those days are gone and even good ole’ Microsoft has embraced the cloud-centric lifestyle by offering many of its most popular apps as web-based solutions via the Microsoft 365 portal.
While not a fully interchangeable solution, Chromebook users can quickly access, create, edit, and even collaborate on the web with apps like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote. That means that these Microsoft web apps are right at home on ChromeOS and the teams at Google and Microsoft are working to make the experience even better.
Simply named the “Office App,” Microsoft 365 can be installed as a PWA so that it looks and feels more like a native application on ChromeOS or any device using the Chrome desktop browser. This is a much better solution than the clunky Android app that initially arrived for ChromeOS users. You can log into your MS account and use the Office App as your default “application” for any and all supported Microsoft files you manage from your Chromebook.
Today, the Chromebook Beta community announced that a new integration for Microsoft 365 PWA will arrive later this year that will make the Office/ChromeOS ecosystem even more fluid to work with. This will include a new setup flow for the Office App PWA
Users will be offered a guided setup experience that takes them through the process of installing the Microsoft 365 web app and connecting Microsoft OneDrive to their Chromebook Files app. Files will be moved to Microsoft OneDrive when opening in the Microsoft 365 app.ChromeOS Beta Tester community
There has been a lot of beef between the Microsoft and ChromeOS communities over the years but let’s be honest, both operating systems have their redeeming qualities and necessary use cases. I, for one, am very happy to see the two platforms playing nice. When this kind of stuff happens, it benefits everyone and that’s a very good thing. Kudos to Microsoft and Google for focusing on a better all-around user experience.