Open, save, or delete files with the Files app

Use the built-in Files app on your Chromebook to access files, like documents, PDFs, images, and media that you've stored on the device or on the web in Google Drive.

Check out the Help Center to see the growing list of file types and formats that work on your Chromebook.

Find and open a file

  1. Click the apps list button apps list button and select Files to open the file manager.
  2. Choose the file collection you'd like to browse from the left.
  3. Double-click a file to open it.

You can also connect an external storage device to access its files. Some tips on finding your file:

  • Search for your file by using the search box in the upper-right corner. Your search results will show you matches from the folder you're in.
  • Preview your file by using the thumbnail view. Use the icons in the top-right corner of the app to toggle between the list view and thumbnail view.

Use specific apps and extensions to open certain types of files

For example, if you have any Google Drive apps installed, you'll be able to use them to open your Google Drive files.

  1. If you haven't already, sign in to your Chromebook.
  2. Click on the apps list button apps list button and select Files to open the file manager.
  3. Select a file that you'd like to open.
  4. You should see a button at the bottom that lets you open the file. Click the menu arrow in the button to see the apps you can use to open the file. The app you select will be used to open similar files in the future. To change this default setting, simply click the arrow and select another app from the menu.

We'll also show you a list of apps or extensions from the Chrome Web Store that you may be able to use to open the file you've chosen.

Troubleshoot file errors

  • "Unknown file type": If you see this message, that means your Chromebook can't open your file (such as files with .psd or .vlc extensions). Save the file to Google Drive or another web application, and try opening it within your browser. See a list of supported file types for your Chromebook.
  • "Google Drive cannot be reached at this time": Check your Internet connection. See more troubleshooting suggestions
  • See suggestions for viewing Office files.

Save a file

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

  • To save the file to your Chromebook, choose the Downloads folder. Note: Downloaded files may be automatically deleted if your Chromebook is running low on space.
  • To access the file online anytime, from any device, choose the Google Drive option. Your file will be downloaded to Google Drive, which you can access from any computer.
  • To set a default location for all your saved files, follow these instructions:
    1. Click the status area in the lower-right corner, where your account picture appears.
    2. Select Settings.
    3. Click Show advanced settings at the bottom of the page.
    4. In the "Downloads" section, click the Change button to select a default download location.

Accessing your Google Drive files offline

If you know you'll need access to a file in your Google Drive later on, make it available offline. Making files available offline means you can open and edit them when you're on a bus, or a plane, or camping, or anywhere else you're not connected to the Internet. See instructions for enabling Google Drive offline

Saving executable files

If you're saving 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 step helps prevent malicious software from being downloaded without your knowledge. Keep in mind that your Chromebook wasn't designed to run software for traditional computers, like .exe files.

Delete a file

  1. Click on the apps list button apps list button and select Files to open the file manager.
  2. Right-click (or click with two fingers on a Chromebook) the file or folder you want to delete.
  3. Select Delete in the menu that appears.

You can also use the keyboard shortcut Alt+Backspace.

Next steps

Because the Files app is integrated with Google Drive, it's easy to share files.

See more information about using the following types of files:

Get tips on using the Files app to manage your files.