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ChromeOS can now be used to open and edit Microsoft 365 files directly on Chromebooks

onedrive in chromebooks

In January 2023, Google announced that it was working on a new feature for ChromeOS. It would allow Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to be edited directly in the OS via the Chromebook's Files app. At the time, Google said this feature would roll out later in 2023.

2023 came and went without this promised addition to Chromebooks. Today, over a year after it was first announced, Google said this feature is now rolling out on ChromeOS. Today's blog post reveals how this new functionality will work:

When you get access, you can just open an Office file then choose to open it in the Microsoft 365 app when prompted. From there you’ll be guided through a one-time setup experience to install the app and connect Microsoft OneDrive to the Chromebook Files app. That’s it! We’ll remember your preference and you’ll have quick and easy access to your files.

You can try it today (if you haven’t already) – just search for and enable the “#upload-office-to-cloud” flag.

This could be a huge improvement for Chromebook users who may have wanted to use Microsoft 365 apps but previously had to launch the Chrome web browser to access those apps. Integrating them more directly in ChromeOS could lead to more use of those apps versus the previous method.

The blog post says that Google has just started rolling out this feature so if you use a Chromebook and don't see this integration, you might have to wait up to a few weeks longer to get it on your device.

Oddly enough, another third-party company, Dropbox, just announced today it would add some more direct Microsoft 365 integration features as well. Specifically, it can now support real-time co-authoring inside Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps while the files themselves are stored on Dropbox cloud storage accounts.

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