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File types and external devices that work on Chromebooks

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

Note: If you're using 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 viewing and editing 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; you won't be able to edit these files)
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 AMR-NB
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)
Storage devices
  • USB hard drives and thumb drives
  • USB CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives (read-only)

Remove a storage device safely by clicking Eject Eject.

Cloud storage
In addition to Google Drive, Chromebooks support other cloud storage systems, such as Box or SMB. To add, go to Files Files app > Add new services.
Peripherals

Chromebooks can connect to the following devices:

  • MTP devices (can read & write files)
  • USB keyboards (Windows and Mac versions)
  • USB mice with the following features: left button, right button, scrollwheel
  • USB hubs
  • Certain Bluetooth devices
  • Monitors with DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, or VGA connections
  • USB, DisplayPort, and HDMI audio devices
  • Headset with a 3.5 mm jack
  • Webcam with a USB cable
  • MP3 player or mobile phone with a USB cable (can be used for charging)
  • Huawei mobile dongle

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. Click the Launcher Launcher.
  2. Select Files Files app.
  3. On the left, select the external storage device.
  4. In the window that appears, click Format.

Get more help

Casey is a Chromebook expert and author of this help page. Help her improve this article by leaving feedback below.

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