How to install Excel for Android on a Chromebook (for now)

After digging around, reaching out to many folks and researching the strange issue that doesn’t allow Excel for Android installations on some Chromebooks, there’s positive news. Microsoft has been working on a fix which is available in a beta version of Excel for Android. And it appears that some Chrome OS devices are no longer seeing the app incompatibility message in the Google Play Store.

Here’s what I found out. Roughly three weeks ago, Microsoft explained it knew about the issue and created a beta version of Excel for Android to fix the Chromebook installation issues. I don’t know the root cause of the problem but I can tell you that the beta version installed fine on my Pixelbook.

So it appears that when the beta app is added to the Google Play Store, the problem should be fully resolved.

Indeed, some Chromebook owners who originally couldn’t install Excel are today reporting that they can today:

Clearly if you need to install Excel on your Chromebook, you should first try the Google Play Store at this point. If you still see the incompatibility message and want to install the beta version of Excel, here’s what to do:

  1. Visit the Office Insider for Android Google+ group and join it.
  2. Then visit this Microsoft page specifically for Excel beta testing and opt in.
  3. You should then be able to view and install the Excel beta app in the Google Play Store.

To opt out of the beta in the future, simply visit the same page as in step 2 above and uninstall the Excel beta. At that point, you’ll see the generally available version of Excel in Google Play.

One way or another then, you should be able to get Excel for Android working on your Chrome OS device.

I’m a bit disappointed that I had to spend hours contacting people and figuring this all out when I asked the Microsoft Helps Twitter account for assistance over a week and a half ago. I even repeated and retweeted my request but I never heard from them at all. I understand they have a massive user base to support, but an issue like this could cause lost revenues: If you’re a paying Office 365 customer but can’t access the Office apps you need on your device, that’s a good reason to consider canceling the subscription, or at least considering other options.

Regardless, between the short term and long term fix, we should all be able to enjoy “spreadsheeting” again!

 

 

20 thoughts on “How to install Excel for Android on a Chromebook (for now)

  • August 15, 2018 at 2:31 pm
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    Enjoy spreadsheeting is an oxymoron;-)

    Reply
    • August 15, 2018 at 2:59 pm
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      LOL! I figured after all this anguish, I’d get what little fun out of this situation that I could. 😉

      Reply
  • August 16, 2018 at 2:21 pm
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    Thank you for posting this!

    Reply
  • August 18, 2018 at 3:37 pm
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    Beta is working great on my c302

    Thanks for figuring this out ,😃

    Reply
  • August 20, 2018 at 7:03 am
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    Still not possible to install the beta version devices running under Google Coral, s.a. Acer CP315-1H series.

    Reply
  • August 20, 2018 at 7:12 am
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    Stil not possible to install beta version on devices running under google coral, s.a. Acer Spin 15 CP315-H1 series.

    Reply
  • August 20, 2018 at 1:59 pm
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    Not working on my c302:( Is it because I’m on chrome 68?

    Reply
    • August 21, 2018 at 10:38 am
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      Hmmm… it shouldn’t have anything to do with the Chrome OS version. Does the Play Store show the beta version of Excel as incompatible too? If so, I’d surface that to the Office Insider group on Google+ and see what they say.

      Reply
      • August 21, 2018 at 8:22 pm
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        Given I’m in the same boat, I can confirm that the Google Play Store, as accessed via the link from the Microsoft beta testing page (https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.microsoft.office.excel) states that the beta version is incompatible with my C302.

        I note that the same page states “Note: It can take up to a few hours before you can download the app’s public version.”, but I can’t imagine that is relevant here, given my C302 is greyed out.

        I’ve also tried seeing if moving onto the beta of ChromeOS would make a difference (also done to see if I can sort out the random freezes the C302 is subject to on a daily basis), but nope.

        Look forward to any more direction on what options are available to people in our situation!

        Reply
        • August 23, 2018 at 5:20 am
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          Give it another try. I reported the C302 issue to Microsoft and just heard that it may be fixed now. Let me know!

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          • August 23, 2018 at 7:30 am
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            It’s installing now!

            Thanks very much

  • August 21, 2018 at 5:49 pm
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    Thanks so much for this post – the only one I came across that provided a solution! I’m yet to try to get the beta version, but am hopeful this will work on my C302.

    I had put my Chromebook into developer mode to be able to sideload Excel, but found there appears to be no easy way to stop it trying to boot back into ‘standard’ mode – and my son, who also uses the laptop, let it reboot this way. So sticking in developer mode didn’t seem to offer a long-term (let alone safe) solution, so so glad you’ve posted of this immediate fix.

    Reply
    • August 21, 2018 at 6:16 pm
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      Ok, I wrote too soon!

      Signed up to use the beta version of Excel only to be told that this version is incompatible with my Chromebook – an Asus C302 – despite others above reporting that they’ve managed to use it on the same laptop.

      There is one other poster above reporting it’s not working on their C302 either. Any ideas as to why this may be the case?

      Reply
      • August 21, 2018 at 6:21 pm
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        I think we may have been too slow! The Google plus page is full of people with the same problem…. I feel of it was possible for some then it will be possible for us all soon. At least I hope so, I only signed up to office 365 to get excel on the my 302!

        Reply
        • August 23, 2018 at 5:21 am
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          Give it another try. I reported the C302 issue to Microsoft and just heard that it may be fixed now. Let me know!

          Reply
          • August 24, 2018 at 5:14 pm
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            That’s great – thanks for letting us know; it was ‘fixed’ between my last post and your post, as it certainly wasn’t installing prior! Great to have it back working on the Chromebook.

          • August 24, 2018 at 5:23 pm
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            Awesome – glad it’s working for you and other C302 owners now! 🙂

          • August 24, 2018 at 5:34 pm
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            Now, if you could only get the C302 from frequently locking up and requiring a hard reboot I’d be even more in your debt! A laptop costing over NZ $700 shouldn’t be this unreliable. Has not proven to be the best introduction for me to Chromebooks, given the Excel and freezing issues…

  • August 23, 2018 at 7:31 am
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    Installing now. thank you very much

    Reply
  • September 11, 2018 at 10:53 am
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    Last month I bought a brand new 2 in 1 Acer Chromebook and installed excel with no issues… but this excel and even the online version with an Office 365 subscription is worthless to me. The version is so much different and missing so many features I need that I will be returning my otherwise amazing Chromebook today.

    Reply

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