Quick answer? Yes, you can use Microsoft Word on a Chromebook.
However, the sting in the tail is that Microsoft reserve the best, most fully featured version of Microsoft Word for use on a Microsoft Windows computer.
OK. So what Microsoft Word versions can I use on a Chromebook?
You’ve got two easy options*.
The first is free but requires an internet connection.
The second requires a valid Microsoft 365 subscription (i.e. will cost you) but will work with and without an internet connection.
Both options will likely have all the functionality you need in a word processor, but are missing a feature or two from the full Windows version (such as advanced grammar correction and a ‘reading ease’ calculator).
So without further ado, here’s more about both versions easily available on a Chromebook.
Option 1: Microsoft Office online (free)
This option allows you to use core MS Office apps for free within the Chrome browser. It’s breathtakingly simple. You just go to:
Sign in with your Microsoft account (if you don’t have one, sign-up is quick and free via the ‘No account? Create one!’ link) and you’ll be presented with an array of software to use that will look a little something like this:
Click on the icon of the app you want to launch which in this case will be Word.
Once open, don’t be afraid to poke around and click on all the menu buttons to see what Word Online can do. You’ll benefit from being able to save all your Word Docs to Microsoft’s cloud called ‘Onedrive’ so you can access them anywhere. And you’ll be able to see anything else you previously saved to Onedrive.
Option 2: Microsoft Office Google Play Android version (subscription)
The first thing you need to know about the Android version of Microsoft Word is, to use it you’ll need a valid Office 365 subscription. That’s if your device has a 10″ screen or larger. However, Android Word on an Android smartphone with a 6″ to 9.9″ screen is free to use.
Anyway. Think of this as the Android version of Word. Your Chromebook will need to support the Google Play Store for this to work. Most modern Chromebooks now support the Google Play Store.
With the Play Store app open on your Chromebook, click into the search field and type ‘Microsoft Word’.
Click on Microsoft Word and you will now see:
Click install and when successfully installed, click on ‘open’.
The next thing you’ll see if this:
You’ll then be presented with a sign in screen:
You can either choose to sign in with your pre-existing Microsoft account, sign up for a new Microsoft account, or click ‘sign in later’. Whichever option you choose, you’ll be taken to the Word main screen. For the purposes of this guide, I chose not to sign in.
If you signed/sign in with your Microsoft account with a valid Office 365 account attached, you’ll now be able to create new documents or edit existing ones. If you don’t have a valid Office 365 subscription, it’s not the end. You can still use this setup to view existing Office documents.
Go play and have fun!
Epilogue: Microsoft will be Microsoft
Unless you signed into Android Word with your Microsoft account and valid Office 365 subscription, all you’ll be able to do is ‘read only’. If you try to start a new Word document, you’ll see:
However, did you know you can use Google’s very own free, built-in word processor called ‘Google Docs’ to open and edit Microsoft Word documents for no cost? This is a whole other topic that I won’t go into here, but if you need free offline Word doc editing ability, use Google Docs to open and edit your Word document.
As ever, if you need any help, let me know in the comments section, or via the contact page here: https://www.chromechronicle.co.uk/findoutmore-contact/
* There’s actually a secret ‘third option’ that involves installing emulator software from the Play Store, then using that emulator software to install a Microsoft version of Word onto the Chromebook. However, this method is long and convoluted and beyond the scope of this guide which is meant to offer realistic options for the average user.