File types and external devices that work on Chromebooks

Chromebooks can use the following file types, external devices, and cloud storage systems.

Important: If you use your Chromebook at work or school, some devices or files might not work with your Chromebook. For more help, contact your administrator.

File types

  • Microsoft Office files: .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt (read-only), .pptx (read-only). Learn more about how to view and edit Office documents.
  • Media: .3gp, .avi, .mov, .mp4, .m4v, .m4a, .mp3, .mkv, .ogv, .ogm, .ogg, .oga, .webm, .wav
  • Images: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .webp
  • Compressed files: .zip, .rar
  • Other: .txt, .pdf (read-only)

External devices

Compatible accessories for Chromebook

Important: Make sure you have the latest version of Chrome OS. Learn how to update your Chromebook.

Chromebooks can connect to the following accessories:

  • Adapters 
  • Docking stations
  • Drawing tablets
  • Ethernet dongles
  • External storage (SD and USB hard drives, thumb drives, USB CD-ROM, and read-only DVD-ROM)
    • To remove a storage device safely, select Eject .
  • Gaming controllers
  • Headsets
  • Huawei mobile dongle
  • Keyboards (wired, wireless and bluetooth)
  • Mice with left button, right button, and scroll wheel (wired, wireless and bluetooth)
  • Microphones
  • Monitors with DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, USB-C, or VGA connections
  • MP3 player or mobile phone with a USB cable
  • Printers (Learn how to set up your printer)
  • SD & microSD cards
  • USB-C cables
  • USI Stylus on USI-capable Chromebooks only
  • Wall chargers 
  • Webcams 

For best results, look for accessories that are certified Works With Chromebook. These accessories have been tested and proven to meet Chromebook compatibility standards, to ensure they work seamlessly with your Chromebook. 

Codecs

 

Container Video codec Audio codec
ogv Theora --
webm

VP8

VP9

Opus

Vorbis

mp4 H264 --
  MPEG4 --
mov MPEG4 --
  H264 --
avi MPEG4 MP3
  DIVX MP3
  XVID MP3
3gp H264 AAC
  MPEG4 AAC

Important: AMR and GSM are no longer supported on Chromebooks.

Filesystems

You can access files on external devices connected to your Chromebook if they use the following types of filesystems:

  • FAT (FAT16, FAT32, exFAT)
  • HFS+ (read-only on journaled HFS+)
  • ISO9660 (read-only)
  • MTP
  • NTFS
  • UDF (read-only)
Cloud storage

Chromebooks work with cloud file systems, like Google Drive, Box, or SMB. To connect to an SMB file share:

  1. In the corner of your screen, select the Launcher and then Up arrow .
  2. Open Files .
  3. In the top right, select More .
  4. Select Add new service and then SMB Shares.
  5. A window will open. Select Add File Share. Fill out your info.
  6. Select Add.

To connect to other cloud file systems:

  1. In the corner of your screen, select the Launcher and then Up arrow .
  2. Open Files .
  3. In the top right, select More .
  4. Select Install new service.
  5. To install a new cloud file system, choose a system and follow the onscreen steps.
Phones

Chromebooks can connect to certain phones. You can unlock your Chromebook with an Android phone.

Troubleshoot problems with file types and external devices

When I try to open a file, I get an "Unknown file type" error message

This error means that this file type isn't working on your Chromebook at this time.

Instead, try saving the file to Google Drive or another web application, then opening it in your browser.

I see an error: "Sorry, your device is not supported at this time"

Your Chromebook might not support the external storage device you're trying to use. Make sure your external storage device's format is supported.

If your storage device is supported, make sure your Chromebook is using the latest version of Chrome OS.

If your Chromebook is using the latest version, and no updates are available, try using Google Drive to view the files:

  1. Plug your storage device into another computer.
  2. Upload the files from the device to a cloud file system, such as Google Drive.
  3. Open your Chromebook, then open Google Drive to view the files.
I see an error: "Sorry, your device was not recognized" or "Sorry, at least one partition on your device could not be mounted"

You'll need to reformat your external storage device before you can use it with your Chromebook. Follow the steps below.

Important: These steps will erase all your files stored on the storage device. Make sure to back them up somewhere else before erasing.

  1. In the corner of your screen, select the Launcher and then Up arrow .
  2. Select Files .
  3. On the left, select the external storage device.
  4. In the window that appears, select Format.

Related resources

 
 
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