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Microsoft Brings Office Online Apps to Chrome Web Store

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 15.29.35Launchers for Microsoft Office Online apps are now available to install through the Chrome Web Store. 

Web-based versions of ‘Word’, ‘Excel’, ‘PowerPoint’, and task/notes app ‘OneNote’ are ready for users to install in Chrome or Chrome OS.

The addition of these apps through the store is somewhat surprising given the derision Microsoft has levelled at Chromebooks in the past year or so.

‘Works Great’

So why the change? Well, Office Online already works in Chrome. In fact, it works in any web-browser, on any platform.

“For those of you who use Chrome, you can now add Word Online, PowerPoint Online and OneNote Online to your Chrome App launcher to create new Office documents online with a single click from your desktop. As easy as that.”

There’s nothing particularly special about the ‘apps’ themselves. Microsoft hasn’t given them offline support or baked in any sort of Google integration. Yes; unsurprisingly, that means you won’t find Google Drive integration on offer here.

But for those times when Google Docs is fudging a Microsoft Office file format or you just need something familiar to hand, these app shortcuts should prove useful.

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 20.58.54

Rolling out alongside the handy app launchers for Chrome is a raft of improvements to the services themselves, in particular to Word Online. 

Install Office Online in Chrome

Office Online apps are (mostly) free to use but do require a valid Windows Live Account before they can be accessed.

 Word Online on Chrome Web Store  OneNote Online on Chrome Web Store  Microsoft PowerPoint Online on Chrome Web Store Excel Online on Chrome Web Store

  • Francisco Gómez García

    So that is useful. Right?

  • I appreciate the Word app. It reads my Word documents (with equations) perfectly in preview mode, unlike Drive.

    • Roland

      I prefer Google Drive over Office Online due to the Offline capabilities of Google Drive, but I’ve still got the Office Online apps installed just for if I need to create a Word document that needs to be formatted a certain way.

      I’d like to see Google add integration for OneDrive, Box and Dropbox to the files app so I don’t have to keep opening OneDrive just to open files stored on OneDrive, would also make opening Microsoft Office files stored in downloads easier as I’d be able to simply drag an Office file to OneDrive and open via the correct Office web app instead of having to open OneDrive, upload the file then go into the Office app I need.

      Also why can’t Google Allow the opening of Office files directly from within the files app when the Office web apps are installed instead of forcing the QuickOffice viewer to be used?

  • Roland

    Can install Word & OneNote, but PowerPoint won’t install due to a conflict with Word.

    • Because Microsoft ist to stupid to give two apps two different IDs….

      • Heimen Stoffels

        Yeah, because everybody else is perfect, no one else makes a tiny mistake, only Microsoft. [/sarcasm]

      • Damon McClellan

        I agree with iCON they are a professional company. This kind of thing is something a amatre would do. No everyone else isnt perfect, but seriously Microsoft how can you make such a stupid mistake.

        • Roland

          Google didn’t make that mistake with the Google Docs Apps, I’m surprised that they didn’t get an error when they compiled the Launchers. It doesn’t make sense that you can install PowerPoint before Word but not Word before PowerPoint.

    • miri

      Uninstall Word, install PowerPoint/Excel then re-install Word. That worked for me.

      • Roland

        That worked perfectly.

  • Correcting Tom

    Typo, “Install offline online in Chrome”

    • Heimen Stoffels

      I see what you did there. (hint: your username)

  • moe

    how do i add the chrome os app folder to mac, like in the pic above?

  • sonicyoof

    I’m sure they are scared of losing all those ChromeOS users to Google Docs.

    • David

      That’s certainly evident by the addition of collaborative editing to the online Office suite, honestly I might use Office online if I only used an online productivity suite for creating files which only I will be editing, but due to the fact that such a case is almost never true, all of my peers use Drive and likely have never heard of Office online, I suppose Microsoft has to do what they can to try and reel in users.

  • I wonder if Microsoft will bring Skype to web (or at least as a Chrome App)? That would be convenient.

    • David

      I think Skype is something which Microsoft will keep the best of for Windows devices, and if they do create a web version, it will be “Optimized for Internet Explorer”, with a barely functional version available to users which try to access Skype through other browsers. If they didn’t do this, and made an effort to not only create a Web app AND integrate it nicely in their Office applications, it could be an amazing success.

      • I suspect they will create some kind of version for Chrome OS. They can’t afford not to (bear in mind Skype is a revenue stream, more users = more profit).

        Given that they already support Android, iOS, Mac and Linux with dedicated apps. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some kind of packaged app for Chrome OS (if it manages to keep building momentum). In fact, it would be a pretty canny move and reduce development overhead. A chrome app/web-based version would run on Mac and Linux as well as Chrome OS, no more need for individual apps.

        We’ll see, I guess.

        • Ryan Karolak

          I agree, and I think Microsoft recently has started to remember that as they are now getting Office on more platforms, like the iPad and web. They make OneDrive clients for most platforms.

          I’m sure they’d love if everyone bought a Surface, but they’d ultimately want people to just use and buy their services more. The more you use Microsoft services, even free ones, the more likely you’d be to buy more Microsoft products or upgrades in the future.

      • Seriously now?

        Have you actually seen the Windows version of Skype? As far as the desktop versions are concerned, few people will argue that it’s the worst version of the service out there. The Mac version is a beauty in usability, look, and just about everything else. The Linux version is simplistic, but also ‘just works’.

        The unified “app” version that appears on Windows (Phone) 8, Android, iOS is another topic. No one will tell you it’s better than the Mac version, but at least it tries.

        • David

          I’m not saying that Skype for Windows is the “best” version of Skype, nor could I, as I have never tried ALL of the versions of Skype. I’m just speaking from the general concept that Microsoft considers Skype for Windows to be the superior version of the Skype software. Perhaps the Mac version of the software is better, but I can’t speak from experience, as Macs are not a part of my office or personal setups.

    • Boothy

      There is a web version of Skype, but requires a Windows and Mac only installable plugin…….

  • Twelk

    No Chromebook love? “This application is not supported on this computer”

    • Boothy

      Just continue through that error, it works fine. You get the same error installing onto windows as well………….

    • calden74

      I haven’t seen this error message and I installed it one 4 machines so far.. Which machine are you trying to run it on?

  • So you can put these MS-Office Web Apps in a folder in the Chrome OS start menu now: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, and OneDrive. It also means you can set them to open as a regular or maximised “window”, which I don’t think was an option before. I like to have text editors and now Word open as maximised windows by default.

  • Seriously now?

    Classy move from Microsoft. Now it’s easier to read those weird .DOC or .DOCX files non-computer savvy people send you instead of .PDFs.

  • calden74

    Love these apps, I converted two people to a Chromebook because of them. It’s actually quite amusing that Office online makes ChromeBook a more viable replacement to a normal laptop than Googles offerings. OneDrive is absolutly fantastic, I personally use it as my primary storage for work and photos. Why photos, because I have a Nokia 1020 and the level that OneDrive is integrated in that handset is so superb that it makes iCloud look like a toy. Which I guess isn’t too hard but that shouldn’t lessen the appeal none the less. As the lead programmer for my firm I spend most of my time writing up specs and editing mauals to make them readable by humans. We use Office 365 and MS’s online Office apps for everything now, it is such a joy to have all of my documemts at my fingertips at any given time. I have actually written entire chapters while riding the train using the Office app on my Nokia 1020, then walk into my office, fire up my Chromebook and continue exactly where I left off. Yes I know you can do this with pretty much every device out there but nothing I have used comes close to the ease, speed, power or the work flow fluency that OneDrive and MS Office online offers. Our company, well bank, has recently moved away from iPads and replaced them with Lenovo’s Thinkpad 8 and HP’s ElitePad 1000. When using MS Office or Google Doc’s online we quickly found that using an iPad for these online apps was liking trying to commit Seppuku with a Tea Spoon. We also needed a tablet that could run our new trading front end which comes in two flavors, Java or .net. We toyed around with making a iOS app but we quickly dropped that idea when we saw the power of the Windows 8 tablet and the fact thst iOS just has to many short comings when it comes to enterprise. The iPad made sense two years ago when there weren’t to many options but now the iPad is a very, very poor choice for enterprise. Its a consumer product and these articles of how companies are still using the iPad are idiots in my book. Especially when there are much better options like forementioned tablets. Unfortuantly, there isn’t a ChromeTab yet but many and myself included still use a Chromebook as our daily work machines. Our entire banks IT infrastructure is now in the Cloud, including programming so it make sense. Though I will probably go with the HP ElitePad as my main work machine, with accessories like the docking station, keyboard case, security case and connection case, add in 4GB RAM, 128GB storage, 64BIT CPU/OS, constructed like a tank in a absolute beautiful body its pretty hard to ignore. Then I’ll just use my ChromeBook for working at home and on the go.

  • I wish these were more capable apps for Office 365 subscribers with track changes and offline mode available for instance. I have to use Word for the final stages of my products. No getting around that since Google won’t implement proper track changes. And that add-on for Track Changes isn’t nearly powerful enough for working with an editor on large documents.

    Otherwise, I love using Google Docs. No problem until the end.

  • OJ Edwards

    Google Docs is completely free, and they don’t hold back on features, so I will use that.

    • calden74

      So are the Office web apps, completely free and contain more features than Google Docs. I would recommend you actually trying it out before commenting again.

      • Kenny Strawn

        Don’t you need an O365 subscription to use Microsoft’s online services though?

        Anyhow, pretty much the ONLY thing MSO in general does better than Google Docs is open .docx, .xlsx, or .pptx files (and even then, I personally have had absolutely zero conversion headaches between formats). Google Docs is even extensible, unlike MSO, which means, yeah, the functionality Google fails to put in there can still be introduced by third-party developers using add-ons.

        • calden74

          For someone who didn’t even know that the MS’ online Office is completely free you sure have a lot to say about it. I already know the answer to this but have you ever even used them I highly recommend you do. Simply use your Hotmail user ID or if you don’t have one just go to OneDrive and open a free account. Even if you don’t want to use it OneDrive brings a lot of functionality that would be silly to ingnore, especially when it’s free.

          • Kenny Strawn

            So, alright, no O365 subscription required… and yeah, I told a friend who needed to edit an Excel file about this online suite. He was indeed truly impressed at the availability of an online version of MSO.

            Ah, but again, what about add-ons? That’s the one thing Google has that Microsoft doesn’t….

          • calden74

            I never understand why people would buy a ChromeBook if they are ever planning on being offline. I have a 150 Mps LTE connection, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a connection. Heck even planes have WiFi now. As far as your plugins are concerned, there isn’t one that I would remotely use. Templates, you have access to 1,000’s of MS templates built into Office online, diagrams and charts, same thing, you can make a chart using Excel and simply insert it into Word, diagrams, maps, etc. simply open the app that makes them, create, export, insert. The rest are pretty useless, not that there are many.

          • calden74

            Look it’s cool you like Google Docs, I used it on my Chromebook for a while, that was until Office 365 and then OneDrive added the Office apps . My company uses it so I have access to 1000’s of docs and excel spreadsheets, I can collaborate with opened items, our trading database is connected to the back end so I can run macros and get daily trade reports, the list goes on and on. For the the casual user, sure Google Docs is more than enough but please don’t try to knock MS Office Online just because you do not see a purpose for it in your life. Believe or not this is a God send to a lot of companies, universities and even the home user who is used to using Office at work. It’s pretty cool that Microsoft gives it away for free, actually it’s been free for about two years now, though the first versions weren’t very good. Now though, it really does kick some major butt. I heard from a MS rep that they will be releasing a database client for home use as well, which will be able to connect to your local or server based MySQL DB. Office 365 already has it so I can’t wait to see it on OneDrive.

      • Magneira

        the problem is that you have to be in the microsoft ecosystem, to me, who has an android smartphone a chromebook and a fedora machine, there is no real use for ms office… I can edit my documents in real time from my android and chromebook or fedora, but with office that would not be seameless or integrated, also for a normal user, who does not use marcros and etc, there is no real benefit in using office, heck in fedora I dont use libreoffice because google docs does what i need..

        • calden74

          Great, all that just to tell us you have no need for something, what exactly was your goal here.

      • ChiTownEdge

        Office web docs can’t be saved locally and synced when you get an internet connection.

      • joedoe47

        owncloud is completely free… even as in open source. You can add any features you want and remove what you don’t want. I would recommend you try it…

        p.s. you can save owncloud docs locally (manually download them) or sync them automatically using developer mode… but too messy IMHO.

        • calden74

          I’ve used OneCloud since it’s incarnation, I have it installed on a FreeNAS server. Though it’s great for maintaining your own cloud service, the Office functionality is pretty sparse when compared to Google Docs or Office Online. That and most ChromeBook users are not developers nor can you expect someone to maintain their own server just to use an online word processor.

      • BKarno

        Does anyone know how to zoom a Word document in the MS Office online apps. I can do this with Google Docs but can’t find anything for Word. Make things a lot easier when working on a 11.6″ screen.

        • Eric Fleming

          Late answer to the question above, but the standard zoom in/out function of your browser should work. For me, in both Firefox and Chrome, that both scales the page itself as well as the interface itself, such as buttons, icons, etc…

  • Zactu

    I don’t about anyone else, I’m glad to use the Chromebook & to get away from Microsoft stuff, so I think this headline should read ‘Microsoft brings Office Online Apps to contaminate Chrome Web Store’. Anyway, I don’t need it.

  • Ivo Zivkov

    Is it compatible with Google docs?

    Of course I am saying this tongue-in-cheek. For most people in the Google ecosystem, this is completely is irrelevant. It is good to see that finally MS is forced to compete fairly. If MSO can take market from Google Docs, all power to them.

  • Peter

    At least, with Office Online you can edit real archives (doc, docx, odt…), but not with Google Docs. I’m waiting to QuickOffice for the browser.

  • BKarno

    I’ve had a SkyDrive (now OneDrive) app on my Chromebook since I first bought it last year. I guess these links save a click or 2 but I think the significance of these shortcuts is being overblown. I use the service to work on MS files that others send me, but I’ll never pay for a MS Office Product again.

  • Why are most people here unaware that there is no Google Docs equivalent for OneNote?
    OneNote is actually a very useful tool, it’s free on all phones/tablets and syncs with all of them.

    • view2share

      Keep is used for notes on Google, but I use Evernote, which is fine and free.

      • “Fine” → “Awesome”. :P

  • College student

    I am looking at purchasing a Chromebook and using this app for my college projects. The only thing that hangs me up is the programs saves in .docx can you convert them to other formats? Also, can I upload these files to a different cloud storage to turn my assignments in?

    • You can upload DOCX files to Google Drive, and convert them to other formats. Formatting will be a little bit screwed, but not too much, if the files are not super complicated. You can export to PDF directly from Office Online.

      Moreover, you could consider using Teamlab Office, another online suite which deals quite well with Office files.

  • This article was almost perfect, except that you forgot that the “Windows Live” branding has been dropped from Microsoft’s online services. It’s now “Microsoft Account”.

  • caroline

    I have a word based family tree program that want work on my chromebook can i download an app so i can run the program thanks Caroline

  • Alba

    no me deja descargarlo, ¿qué puedo hacer?

  • daniel

    can I start a document offline and then upload it?

    • Daniel

      i dont know

    • Andrew Dilks

      Yes you can, although you will be required to upload the file to MS OneDrive