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The library has 50 Chromebooks students can check out for a semester. For information on how to request a Chromebook, visit this page.

Chromebooks don’t really allow for installation of full applications the way you might on a desktop computer, but there is still a lot you can do using Google Play and Chrome Extensions. This guide will walk you through the process of initial setup and ways you can use the default Google Apps to get Office software and do more with browser extensions.

Contact Information for Further Help

DCTC Library

(651) 423-8366
library@dctc.edu

For Help Regarding This Guide

Danielle Hoveland
(651) 423-8654
danielle.hoveland@dctc.edu

Logging In

After you boot up one of the library’s Chromebooks and connect to the wifi (if you checked it out in person at the service desk, we walked you through connecting to eduroam), you will see this screen. If you have a Google account already, you can log into it here. If you don’t, you can either create one or click the “browse as guest” button at the bottom. By browsing as a guest, you are limited to a direct Chrome browser link, but if you are doing everything online and Cloud based (Office 365 online, Google Docs, D2L, email) this is all you will need.
If you decide you want to use your Google log in after all, you will need to get back to that initial login screen. You can either click on the taskbar in the bottom right corner (where you connect to wifi)…
Or press the power button on the keyboard until the screen below appears and select “exit guest”.
Once you are logged in to a Google account, you will have not only Chrome, but Gmail, the Play store and Google Docs available from the main screen. Now you have the option to install apps via either the Play store or Chrome Extensions. Click on the tabs above for examples of installing Word/Office via the Play store and using Extensions for apps like Zoom.

Microsoft Office (Play Store)

Once you are logged in to the Chromebook, you should see quick launch options for the Chrome web browser, the Google Play Store, Gmail, Google Docs and YouTube on the bottom bar of the home screen. As you have already logged in to your Google account, these will all be logged in automatically.
Let’s go over your options for one of the biggest functions you will probably need from a Chromebook as a student: word processing. Obviously, as noted above, you have easy access to Google Docs, which you are already logged into. If you already use Google Docs, your files will be right there. Google Docs reads Office files, so if you need to upload files you already created in Office (documents, spreadsheets…) to edit here, you can.
If you need to use official Office software, you have a couple options. For both of these, you will use your Office 365 login (provided for you by the college). Use the following login information:

Username: [StarID]@go.minnstate.edu
Password: [your Star ID password]


Staff and Faculty: omit "go." from the username
If you are comfortable using Office entirely online and saving files to the Cloud, open the Chrome browser and go to office.com.
Click “sign in” and enter your Office 365 login. For more information about how to use Office Online, check out our guide.
Alternatively, you can download Office apps and work within them whether or not you are connected to the Internet, saving your work on a USB device so that you can access them even after you return the Chromebook.
Click on the Google Play button at the bottom of the home screen (the white circle with the multicolor triangle) and search for “Office”.
You can get the entire office suite (second choice above), or you can download only the programs within the suite you need (Word, Powerpoint, Excel). I only need Word, so I will install just that app.
Once the app is installed, you can either open it directly from the Play Store…
…Or you can find it on the home screen of the Chromebook by clicking on the circle in the bottom left corner.
Use your Office 365 login when you first open the app.
You can use this as you would normally use Word on any computer, but saving files may look a little different if you are not familiar with Chromebooks.
The default save location is your OneDrive. You can leave it that way, or you can change the location by clicking “save as” and choosing “this device”. You can save directly to a USB device (storage), or to the Documents folder on the Chromebook (transfer these to another location if you want to keep them before you return the Chromebook as everything saved on the Chromebook itself will be wiped).
To locate files saved on the Chromebook, click on the bottom left corner from the homescreen and choose “Files”.
Documents saved on the Chromebook are saved under “Play files”. 
To open a saved file in the Word app, click on it once to highlight it, then choose Word from the Open drop down menu next to the trash can.

Google Extensions (Zoom)

Chrome extensions can be used to enhance web browsing, manage passwords or run certain applications. For an example, I will walk through the process of installing something many of us are using right now: Zoom.
Open the Chrome browser and go to chrome.google.com/webstore/category/extensions.
Search for Zoom, open the installation page and click “add to Chrome”.
After it is finished installing, Zoom will automatically launch and you can use it as you would on any other device.
You can now find the program in the start menu, which you can open by clicking on the dot in the left corner of the screen.
Here are some other Chrome Extensions you might find useful (and psssttt: you don’t need a Chromebook to use these. Just a Chrome Internet browser):

Zoom Scheduler – Now that you have Zoom, you can use this extension to sync all your meetings or classes to Google Calendar.

Pocket – Save files and links as you are researching or just browsing the web.

Clip To – Similar to Pocket, but adds the ability to highlight and take notes on the pages saved.

Google Black Menu – Easy access to all Google apps in the toolbar. Copy to Google Docs, save to Google Drive, or just quickly access the search bar without leaving your current page.

Easy Bib – Provides citation information for the web page you are on and warns you when you may be about to cite a source that isn’t credible.

MyBib: Free Citation Generator – Build a bibliography and download it directly into Word.

Google Results Previewer – Saves you having to click into every link in your Google search results page. Just hover over it and you can see whether the link is what you were searching for or not.

Dark Reader – Turns on Dark Mode for any web page, which can reduce strain on your eyes.

Print Friendly – Turns any page into a printer friendly page.

Google Scholar – Search for academic articles on Google Scholar. Save articles to a folder to read later or get citations right within the app.

Ghostery – Blocks annoying pop ups on web sites.

Creative Commons – Need free web images for a presentation? Search for copyright free images with this tool.

Drawr – Take a screenshot of a web page and draw on it. Useful for presentations or highlighting.

Google Translate – Any interpreter can tell you the risks of using Google Translate, but it can be handy if you run across a word you don’t recognize on a page.

Grammarly – If you are using Google Docs or Office Online to write your papers, this extension can check your grammar as you type.

Minimal Reading Mode – Makes any page infinitely easier to read. Includes dark mode.

CSSViewer – View the CSS code of any website easily without leaving the page. Great for web designers.

Eye Dropper – Do you wish you could use the Photoshop color picker tool on any website. With this extension, you can!

What Font – Identifies the font used on any web page.

Cats New Tab Page – Every time you open a new tab in Chrome, instead of a blank screen with a search bar, you will get a picture of a cat. That’s it. That’s all it does. It's basically a stress reliever.

Dogs Wallpapers – Same as above but for dog lovers.

Save to Google Drive – Does what it says on the tin. Save pictures, documents and whole web pages to your Google Drive.

RSS Reader Extension – Manage your RSS feeds, podcasts, Facebook and Twitter posts all in one place.

LastPass – Manages all of your login passwords so you don’t have to try to remember them all.