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 & external devices

Error message: "Unknown file type"

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.

Error message: "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.
Error message: "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.
Error message: “Cable may not support displays”
Your USB-C cable doesn't support this connection. Replace your cable with a USB-C cable with a performance rating of SuperSpeed USB 5 Gbps or higher. Make sure it has one of these certified logos.
Error message: “Cable may impact performance”
You can use the USB-C ports on your Chromebook to connect to other devices such as Thunderbolt 3 and USB4 devices, but the wrong cable can limit the device’s features and performance. For best results, switch to a higher performance cable.
  • For the following messages, replace your USB-C cable accordingly.
    • “Your USB-C cable does not support USB4:” To enable a USB4 connection, replace the cable with a Thunderbolt 4 cable or a USB-C cable with a performance rating of SuperSpeed USB 5 Gbps or higher. Make sure the package of the replacement cable has one of these certified logos.
    • “Your USB-C cable does not support Thunderbolt:” Replace your cable with either a Thunderbolt 3 or higher cable or with a USB-C cable with a performance rating of SuperSpeed USB 5 Gbps or higher. Make sure the package of the replacement cable has one of these certified logos.
    • “Your device supports a higher data rate than your cable:” For best performance, replace your USB-C cable with one that supports the same data rate as the device you want to connect to your Chromebook. Make sure the package of the replacement cable has one of these certified logos.

Related resources

Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?
Search
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu
Search Help Center
true
208
false