Internet Explorer for Chromebook

Internet Explorer 10Internet Explorer or IE is the default browser on Windows. If you’re looking to use this app on Chromebook to browse the web, the best advice is don’t. Chrome OS is built around the Chrome browser, which you are using to access this website, and it is a lovely replacement for IE.

However, if you need to get access to IE for testing or similar purposes, there is an app for that.

Cloud Internet Explorer

The Cloud Internet Explorer app gives you a short time accessing a remote Windows box running a version of IE (no flash enabled), so you can see how the other half sees your website.

Cloud Internet Explorer
Cloud Internet Explorer: aboutchromebook.comception!

Microsoft Paint for Chromebook

Microsoft PaintPaint has been standard issue with Microsoft Windows since its early days. It’s a great utility app for creating drawings from scratch and making quick edits to photos. Happily, there are plenty of apps you can use to do exactly those tasks and more. The simple built-in editor works great offline, but for the others you’ll need to upload your image, edit it, and download it again.

Chrome OS itself

It’s not obvious, but Chrome OS has some simple image editing tools built in. Just head into the Files app, click on your image, then click the pencil icon to flick into editing mode where you can auto-fix colour, crop, adjust brightness and rotate your image. It all works offline, so you can process your images any time.

Chrome OS image editor
Chrome OS image editor

Google Docs Drawing

If you’re creating a simple line drawing, you can use a Google Docs drawing. Just head to Drive and click Create Drawing to get started. Unlike Paint it’s made for vectors, so you’ll find better tools for lines, shapes and text, but no brushes or colour adjustment tools.

Google Docs drawing
Google Docs drawing

Photoshop Express

Adobe have their own version of Photoshop that runs on the web, called Photoshop Express. If you’re a hardcore photoshop user you’re still out of luck, but if you want some simple and neat tools for photo editing, it’s pretty good. (Quick note – if you’re running Adblock Plus, make sure you disable it on this site or it won’t load.)

Photoshop express
Photoshop express

Pixlr

Pixlr is an online image editor that works great for cropping, resizing and annotating images. The advanced mode can handle layers, automatic area selection and has multiple undo levels.

Pixlr
Pixlr

PicMonkey

PicMonkey is a smartly designed online photo editor. It’s perfect for adding filters, touching up and adding text to a photo, and it’s integrated with Google Drive so you can open images directly from your Drive rather than heading to PicMonkey and uploading. The only slight downside is that many of the fonts & filters are displayed but restricted to a subscription version.

PicMonkey
PicMonkey

PiZap

PiZap is a simple and slightly rough flash based online editor. It’s more designed for simple edits that end up in forums than creating a digital masterpiece.

piZap
piZap

Microsoft Powerpoint for Chromebook

powerpoint-160pxMicrosoft Powerpoint and its .ppt and .pptx files are hugely popular in and out of the business world. You can’t exactly run Powerpoint on the Chromebook, but you can get pretty darn close.

Google Slides

Slides is Google’s presentation tool. Everything’s online and it’s totally free. Slides can read .ppt and .pptx files, but it’s not perfect. If you have some funky formatting in your file, Slides will try its best, but the output can be illegible. Simpler documents and straight up formatting are usually no problem, and you can also save out to a Powerpoint file for anyone else. There’s one huge advantage to Slides – multiple people can edit one single version at once, even at the same time – you’ll see their cursor and what they’re doing as they type. You can also do a presentation over the web, and see what slides the other participants of your meeting are looking at – neat!

Google Slides
Google Slides

Office web apps

If you’re used to the look and feel of Powerpoint, and you aren’t using complex documents, Microsoft provide a version of Powerpoint for the web. It’s in beta, but it works pretty well. Just head to My Office on office.com, sign in with your Microsoft account and get rolling. While it’s easy to create new documents and export them, to open existing documents you’ll need to upload it to Microsoft’s Skydrive and open it from there.

Microsoft Powerpoint on the web
Microsoft Powerpoint on the web

rollApp

rollApp runs LibreOffice and OpenOffice on the web, so you can use them on your Chromebook. Opening Powerpoint files in LibreOffice Impress is easy – you can connect to your Dropbox or Google Drive and open them like regular files. You also have access to some more complex features that you might be used to from Powerpoint. The downsides are that, similar to Google Slides, it doesn’t interpret files perfectly, particularly for more complex documents. It’s also not hugely stable yet, being still in beta, and free accounts are limited to three documents at a time, and an automatic shutdown after 10 minutes idle.

rollApp running LibreOffice Impress
rollApp running LibreOffice Impress
rollApp opening from Drive
rollApp opening from Drive

QuickOffice

If you’re one of the lucky few with a Chromebook Pixel, you have QuickOffice installed which can read (but not edit) Word documents. We should get editing enabled in the next few months, and a rollout to other Chromebook devices from there.

Nivio

If you absolutely must have a full version of Powerpoint, you can try Nivio – it’s a web service that lets you run a remote Windows instance. It’s a paid service starting at $50 per month if you want access to Office (it’s Office 2010).

Nivio for Chromebook
Nivio for Chromebook

Microsoft Excel for Chromebook

excel-160pxExcel is still the gold standard for ad-hoc analysis up to anything that needs a database. It’s also hugely popular for holding lists of anything.

Google Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets is, no surprise, an online spreadsheet. It can read and save to .xls and .xlsx files, but complex analyses and anything with VBA won’t work out well. Those more complex functions just don’t exist in Spreadsheets yet. Simpler files, up to and including Pivot Tables, work great. The big advantage of Spreadsheets is that multiple people can edit one file at the same time, which is super useful for compiling data in a team, or ensuring there’s only one copy of the file (no more merging changes). There are a few neat touching for pulling live data in, like live currency conversion data, that Excel isn’t so great at.

Google Sheets
Google Sheets

Office web apps

If you’re used to the look and feel of Excel, and you don’t need the more hardcore analysis tools, Microsoft provide a version of Excel for the web. It’s in beta, but it works pretty well. Just head to My Office on office.com, sign in with your Microsoft account and get rolling. While it’s easy to create new documents and export them, to open existing documents you’ll need to upload it to Microsoft’s Skydrive and open it from there.

Excel on the web
Excel on the web

rollApp

rollApp runs LibreOffice and OpenOffice on the web, so you can use them on your Chromebook. Opening Excel files in LibreOffice Calc is easy – you can connect to your Dropbox or Google Drive and open them like regular files. You also have access to some more complex features that you might be used to from Excel. The downsides are that, similar to Google Spreadsheets, it doesn’t interpret files perfectly, particularly for more complex documents. It’s also not hugely stable yet, being still in beta, and free accounts are limited to three documents at a time, and an automatic shutdown after 10 minutes idle.

QuickOffice

If you’re one of the lucky few with a Chromebook Pixel, you have QuickOffice installed which can read (but not edit) Word documents. We should get editing enabled in the next few months, and a rollout to other Chromebook devices from there.

Nivio

If you absolutely must have a full version of Excel, you can try Nivio – it’s a web service that lets you run a remote Windows instance. It’s a paid service starting at $50 per month if you want access to Office (it’s Office 2010).

Nivio for Chromebook
Nivio for Chromebook

Microsoft Word for Chromebook

word-160pxMicrosoft Word and its .doc and .docx files are hugely popular in and out of the business world. You can’t exactly run Microsoft Word on the Chromebook, but you can get pretty darn close.

Google Docs

Docs is Google’s version of the word processor. Everything’s online and it’s totally free. Docs can read .doc and .docx files, but it’s not perfect. If you have some funky formatting in your file (e.g. a particularly complex table), Docs will try its best, but the output is often illegible. Simpler documents and straight up formatting are usually no problem, and you can also save out to a Word file for anyone else. There’s one huge advantage to Docs – multiple people can edit one single version at once, even at the same time – you’ll see their cursor and what they’re doing as they type. No more horrid merge changes!

Docs on the Chromebook does work offline. It doesn’t work fantastically well, but it works well enough for you to jot down some notes when you’re on the Underground or out in the sticks.

Google Docs
Google Docs

Office web apps

If you’re used to the look and feel of Word, and you aren’t using complex documents, Microsoft provide a version of Word for the web. It’s in beta, but it works pretty well. Just head to My Office on office.com, sign in with your Microsoft account and get rolling. While it’s easy to create new documents and export them, to open existing documents you’ll need to upload it to Microsoft’s Skydrive and open it from there.

Microsoft Word on the web
Microsoft Word on the web

rollApp

rollApp runs LibreOffice and OpenOffice on the web, so you can use them on your Chromebook. Opening Word files in LibreOffice Writer is easy – you can connect to your Dropbox or Google Drive and open them like regular files. You also have access to some more complex features that you might be used to from Word. The downsides are that, similar to Google Docs, it doesn’t interpret files perfectly, particularly for more complex documents. It’s also not hugely stable yet, being still in beta, and free accounts are limited to three documents at a time, and an automatic shutdown after 10 minutes idle.

QuickOffice

If you’re one of the lucky few with a Chromebook Pixel, you have QuickOffice installed which can read (but not edit) Word documents. We should get editing enabled in the next few months, and a rollout to other Chromebook devices from there.

Nivio

If you absolutely must have a full version of Word, you can try Nivio – it’s a web service that lets you run a remote Windows instance. It’s a paid service starting at $50 per month if you want access to Office (it’s Office 2010).

Nivio for Chromebook
Nivio for Chromebook