Open, save, or delete files with the Files app

You can access files like documents, PDFs, images, and media on your Chromebook, Google Drive, or an external hard drive with the built-in Files app. See a list of file types that work on your Chromebook.

Open a file

  1. Sign in to your Chromebook.
  2. Click the launcher icon apps list button.
  3. Select the Files app icon .
  4. Choose the file collection you'd like to browse from the left menu.
  5. Double-click the file to open it.

You can also find files on an external storage device.

Here are some tips on searching for files:

  • Use the search box in the upper left corner. Your search results will show you matches from the folder you're in.
  • Adjust how you see files by clicking the Settings icon. Preview files with the thumbnail view, or view them in a list with list view.

Use specific apps and extensions to open certain types of files

If you have Google Drive apps installed, you can use them to open your Google Drive files.

  1. Sign in to your Chromebook.
  2. Click the apps list button apps list button.
  3. Select the Files app icon.
  4. Select a file.
  5. Use the menu button at the bottom right of the screen to see the apps you can use to open the file. The app you select will be used to open the same kind of files in the future. Clicking the arrow to select a different app will change this setting.

To find more apps and other tools developed for Chrome, visit the Chrome Web Store.

Troubleshoot file errors

  • "Unknown file type": This usually means your Chromebook might not support the file you're trying to open (such as .psd or .vlc files). Try saving the file to Google Drive or another web application, then opening it in your browser.
  • "Google Drive cannot be reached at this time": This usually means that your Chromebook isn't connected to the Internet.
  • "Sorry, your device is not supported at this time": Make sure your device's format is supported by checking this list of supported filesystems If your device is supported, then make sure you're using the latest version of the Chrome operating system by checking for system updates. If no updates are available, use another computer to access files on the external device and upload them to a web app, such as Google Drive. You can then access the files online on your Chromebook.
  • "Sorry, your device was not recognized" or "Sorry, at least one partition on your device could not be mounted": You can try reformatting the external device to fix these errors. To reformat your device, follow these steps:
    Note: Following these steps will erase all the files stored on the external device.
    1. Click on the launcher icon apps list button and select Files to open the file manager.
    2. Select the device from the left-hand side.
    3. Click Format in the lower-right corner of the window.

Save a file

To save the page you're viewing as a file, press Ctrl+S and choose the best location for your file in the Files app.

  • To save the file to your Chromebook's hard drive, choose the Downloads folder. (Downloaded files may be automatically deleted if your Chromebook is running low on space.)
  • To access the file online anytime, from any device, choose Google Drive. Your file will be downloaded to Google Drive.

To set a default location for your saved files, follow these instructions:

  1. Click the status area, where your account picture appears.
  2. Select the Settings icon.
  3. Click Show advanced settings at the bottom of the page.
  4. In the "Downloads" section, click the Change button to pick a default download location.
Move files from "Downloads" to Google Drive

You can copy individual files (or select multiple files at once) from "Downloads" to Google Drive by clicking and dragging them into the Google Drive folder in the Files app.

Access your Google Drive files offline

To access files in Google Drive without an Internet connection, make them available offline.

Save executable files

To save an executable file (such as files with .exe, .dll, or .bat extensions), first confirm that you want to save the file in the panel that appears at the bottom of your screen. This confirmation helps prevent malicious software from being downloaded without your knowledge or permission. Remember, your Chromebook wasn't designed to run software for traditional computers, like .exe files.

Delete a file

  1. Sign in to your Chromebook.
  2. Click the apps list button apps list button.
  3. Select the Files app icon.
  4. Click the file or folder you want to delete.
  5. Click the trash icon or use the shortcut Alt+Backspace.

Next steps

You can share files with other users with Google Drive, and use PDFs, images, and other media files such as audio files and videos.

You can also get tips on using the Files app to manage your files.

Contact a Chromebook agent

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About the author:
Arneil is a Google Chrome OS expert. Help him improve this article by leaving feedback below.

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