Chrome: the Swiss Army Knife of Operating Systems

Chrome: the Swiss Army knife of operating systems

We hear it all the time. From our YouTube channel to our blog, it’s always the same comment: “But you can’t run Photoshop/Word/Linux on a Chromebook!” It’s time to realize that seven years on, the Chromebooks of 2018 aren’t the same as that first (but we do miss the Samsung Series 5’s 3G radio!) You CAN run Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office on a Chrome device, and we’re here to help you through it.

Microsoft Office

We love how easy it is to collaborate with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides but also understand some traditionalists don’t want to stop using Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, even though G Suite designed the apps to mirror their Office counterparts. A couple years ago, it pretty difficult getting Office on your Chrome device. Now, it’s very simple, though you’ll have to figure out how to bring back Clippy on your own.

Google Play Store

Microsoft Office products in Chrome operating system

Does your Chrome device have access to the Google Play Store? If so, you can either check out Microsoft’s section in the Store or use the search bar to find the specific Office app you’re looking for.

Chrome Web Store

Microsoft Office on the Chrome Web Store

If your device uses the Chrome Web Store, you can use it to install Office Online to create Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. While Office Online does have some limitations, it should still be familiar.

Note: According to Microsoft, devices with screens larger than 10.1 inches require an Office 365 subscription in order to create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Subscriptions start out at $6.99 a month.

Related: The Beginner’s Guide to Chrome

Adobe Creative Suite

Before you get started, know that your Chrome OS needs to be at least version 53 to run Android apps and Adobe applications. To check which version of Chrome OS your Chrome device has, go to your Chrome browser, type “chrome://help/” in the URL bar, and then press enter.

Google Play Store

Adobe on the Google Play Store

Installing Adobe apps on your Chrome device is just as easy as installing Office (and again, no Clippy). Similarly, you can find Adobe Creative apps by navigating to Adobe’s section of the Google Play Store or by searching for a specific app. There are currently over two dozen different applications available to install. It’s time to get Photoshopping!


We understand that some employees will require Linux or Windows OS, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t use Chrome devices. Through virtualization, people can access all the programs they need, while still using their Chrome devices and G Suite. This is an involved process, but here are a few of our favorite resources that will walk you through setting up virtualization.

What About The Limited Storage Space?

Floppy diskYou’ve now got Office, Adobe, and a virtual machine running on your Chrome device. But where and how do you store everything?

No! Please don’t bring back floppy disks!

Depending on your model choice, your Chrome device might have limited storage space. However, there are many great options to expand the space that you have. Here are a few of our recommendations that will increase your storage while staying within your budget:

Google Drive and Cloud Storage

Fact: Cloud storage is cheap and easy to use. Google Drive automatically gives customers 15GB for free, but if you need a little more space, there are individual pricing plans ranging from $1.99 per month for 100 GB to $99.99 a month for 10 TB. That’s a lot of space for a meager amount of money!

External Hard Drive

If you’re not interested in cloud storage or need an option for when you’re offline, external hard drives are a great choice and getting cheaper and cheaper. At the time of writing, Amazon has a 1TB hard drive for as low as $50. They are easy to set up and to move files from your Chrome device’s internal hard drive back to the external.

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