Office files should work better on Chromebooks soon.
Chromebooks are designed to work with Google services first and foremost, but they also work well with everything from Linux apps to cloud gaming platforms. Google is now working to improve Microsoft 365 on Chromebooks.
Google announced that it is working with Microsoft to offer “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.” The new integration will be available sometime in the next few months, and will appear earlier in the Chrome OS Dev and Beta channels.
There aren’t many specific details yet, but it sounds like opening Microsoft Office files from local storage (like a USB drive or the Downloads folder) will display a prompt for setting up Microsoft 365 on your Chromebook. Files that are opened through this method will be moved to Microsoft OneDrive, where the changes will be synchronized in the cloud.
Google Docs already supports opening Office files on Chromebooks, so it’s unclear if this will be another option, or will replace Docs as the default handler of Office documents on Chromebooks. Not everyone will be a fan of local files being copied to cloud storage just for viewing and editing, so hopefully the Docs feature remains an option, or Google could also work with apps like Polaris Office to offer more non-cloud options.