I got a text from my husband the other day looking for help for a coworker. She had a presentation in a PowerPoint file on a USB drive that she needed to access, but she had a Chromebook. If you aren’t familiar with Chromebooks, these devices look like a laptop but act more like a tablet. They are designed as a web appliance and only run apps from the Google Chrome store.

Here are the two quick options I came up with. My first suggestion would be to use the free Office Online PowerPoint App. ( That’s largely due to the fact that I like Office so much better than Google office apps. If you’d rather use the Google Suite, scroll down a bit) If you’ve already got an Outlook, Hotmail, MSN, or LiveMail email address or Microsoft ID, you have an account. If not, just click here and choose to create an account. You’ll have to enter some basic information and you’ll be good to go.


To access Office apps from your Outlook online inbox, click the square of squares in the upper-left corner. A pop-up will open offering you a choice of Office apps. We need to upload that PowerPoint file from the USB drive to OneDrive cloud storage before we get started. So click on OneDrive.


When the OneDrive window opens, choose Upload.


Select the USB drive where the files are stored, pick the files, and then hit open. It’ll take just a minute or so to upload. I apologize if these directions might seem a bit over-detailed to some. But sometimes when trying something new, people get intimidated.  What seems like a simple step totally leaves their minds.


Once that’s uploaded, go back to that square of squares and choose PowerPoint.


PowerPoint online will open.


At the lower left, you’ll see the option to open from OneDrive or to add another place. In addition to OneDrive, you can also add a DropBox cloud account by clicking Add a place. Since we uploaded to OneDrive in the previous step, let’s select Open from OneDrive.


Then select your file.


The interface should be familiar to PowerPoint users. You have the option of playing or editing the presentation.


Another option is to use Google Slides, which is part of the Google Drive office suite.   Open Google Drive either from your browser or by opening the Drive app on your Chromebook


Open the Files app on your Chromebook.


When the Files app opens, the USB drive will appear on the left. Find the PowerPoint file and copy it to GoogleDrive by dragging and dropping or using Ctrl + C to copy and Ctrl + V to paste.


Once the file appears on Google Drive, right click on it.


Choose Open with from the menu that pops up. Then select Google Slides.


I was able to play and edit the presentation, but I can’t promise that everything will work exactly the way it does in PowerPoint.

This same method will also work for Word and Excel files.