Switching to Chromebook: 15 Apps and Extensions to Replace your Desktop favorites

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Switching to Chromebook: 15 Apps and Extensions to Replace your Desktop favorites. That is what this post is about.

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More than 30 million Chromebooks are used in education. This growth has been supported by many countries education systems choosing to use Chrome OS devices and G Suite — 9to5google.

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What is a Chromebook?

A Chromebook is a laptop or tablet operating on the Linux-based Chrome OS as its operating system. Chromebooks were at first made to heavily rely on web applications for tasks using the Google Chrome browser.

However, they have since broadened to be able to run Android and full-fledged Linux apps. All the supported apps can be installed and launched alongside each other.

Chromebooks can work offline. Apps like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Keep, and Google Drive synchronize data when reconnecting to the Internet.

Why use Chromebooks?

The first reason why chromebooks are used is because of their price. They are affordable. They are also easy to use. How? You know how family members keep borrowing your PC to do something. With a Chromebook, you can use Google Family link where there they can easily log into their accounts and access their stuff from their, not yours.

Additionally, it is very hard for Chromebooks to be compromised by viruses or other malware. And when it is not running right, you can reset it with Chrome’s Powerwash feature and in a few moments, the system is clean and fresh. 

Switching to Chromebook: 15 Apps and Extensions to Replace your Desktop favorites

Are you switching to Chromebook? Below are 15 apps and extensions to replace your desktop favorites. The reason this post is being written is that you might notice some of the apps on Windows and MAC PCs are not available on Chromebooks.

Worry not, there are other apps on Chromebooks that will accomplish the same tasks as previously done with other PCs:

1. Screen CapturingAwesome Screenshot and Screen Recorder
2. Video PlayingVXG Media Player
3. TorrentingJSTorrent
4. Text EditingCaret
5. Music PlayingEnjoy Music Player
6. Notes & To DosGoogle Keep
7. Bootable USB MakerChromebook Recovery Utility
8. VPNZenMate Free VPN
9. Image editingPhotopea
10. Distraction free writingWordFlow
11. ChattingWhatsGreen Multi Messenger
12. DrawingVectr
13. Compression ToolZIP Manager
14. SpreadsheetsGoogle Sheets
15. Presentations Google Slides
Table summarising Chromebook apps with their uses

1. Awesome Screenshot and Screen Recorder

This app is used to capture and record your Chromebook screen. You can record videos of your entire desktop or a single tab and change the resolution and storage location for captured videos.

In the same way, with screenshots, you can take screenshots of the whole desktop or a selected area. Awesome Screenshot and Screen Recorder additionally offers annotation tools to highlight an element or define something in a captured image.

2. VXG Media Player

This Media Player allows you to stream videos from the cloud. It is a feature-packed media player that supports many different video formats.

You can control the latency of streaming videos and auto-reconnect to the streaming server while using VXG Media Player. Additionally, the app allows you capture your favorite scenes through its screen capture feature.

3. JSTorrent

This app lets you download torrent files on your Chromebook. It is fast and handles large files easily. You can also select individual files that you want to download from a torrent.

The app lets you download large torrents easily for hours without interruption as it can prevent standby. It also allows you to stream videos from torrents.

4. Caret Chromebook app

Caret is a useful app for editing text on Chromebook for writers and programmers. You can open your text files from your local storage directly into Caret.

The app has syntax highlighting features for all major programming languages. It also supports key bindings, so you can assign keyboard shortcuts for various actions. You do not require to have an internet connection to use Caret as it has complete offline support.

5. Enjoy Music Player

This app lets you listen to local music from your device storage. You can also listen to music online from streaming services. It is a light weight app that runs smoothly on all Chromebooks.

The app has all the major music player features such as equalizer, music shuffle, playlist, and fade in and out. It has Google Drive support too, meaning you can listen to music from your Google cloud storage.

6. Google Keep Chromebook app

Keep is a very popular note-taking app that you can install on your Chromebook. You can easily write your notes by typing or transcribing using our voice. It also lets you add labels to your notes to categorize them.

Google Keep is linked to your Google account, so all your notes are saved in the cloud. It allows you to add photos and other attachments to your notes and you can share your notes with your friends and colleagues to work in collaboration.

7. Chromebook Recovery Utility

You do not have to look for third-party apps to make a USB bootable. Chromebook has its own bootable USB maker called Chromebook Recovery Utility.

Recovery Utility is a useful extension which assisted you to reinstall your Chrome OS to recover the device. You can also use this tool for installing Chrome OS or other OSes on another device using a USB.

8. ZenMate Free VPN

It can be rather difficult to find a decent VPN when using a new OS. ZenMate is a free VPN available as a Chrome extension for your Chromebook.

It changes your IP address and allows you to access region-blocked content through the browser. It also allows you to stay secure from trackers and threats on the internet. You have unlimited bandwidth with ZenMate.

9. Photopea Chromebook app

Photopea is a great alternative to Photosop for editing images. You can edit all popular image formats such as PSD, XCF, HJPG, PNG, and many more using Photopea.

The app lets you easily import image files from the web as well. It also has built-in templates to help you create new images, along with handy cloud support.

10. WordFlow

This app is an excellent tool for writers who want to brainstorm ideas or want to write something without distractions. It has a clean interface, both light and dark, that keeps you focused.

The app works offline and has support for various keyboard shortcuts. It lets you save files in TXT and MD file formats.

If you are a Scrivener user, you might like WordFlow. Unfortunately, Scrivener is not available for Chromebook or Linux, meaning the only way to install it on Chrome OS is through Wine, which is a hard task.

11. WhatsGreen Multi Messenger

This app supports all the major messaging services that you can access from a single Chrome extension.

The sidebar of the extension allows you to easily access your favorite messaging clients. You can also access some social apps, such as Instagram. As you don’t have to open multiple tabs in WhatsGreen Multi Messenger, it is faster to use than most browsers.

12. Vectr app

You can create and edit vector graphics on your Chromebook using Vectr. It has various drawing tools such as freehand and pen tools to easily draw artistic shapes.

Vectr allows you to modify the shapes, group multiple layers, and tweak them, to create various designs. You can also view your previous work through the app’s history.

13. ZIP Manager app

Compression tools are probably one of the most used utilities on a PC. ZIP Manager is a Chrome extension that allows you to extract and open multiple compressed file formats such as ZIP, RAR, and 7-Zip on Chromebooks.

You can compress or extract local files and open ZIP files from the internet easily using ZIP Manager.

14. Google Sheets app

You can easily work on your spreadsheets on Chromebook through the Google Sheets app, which has tons of features.

The app lets you access all the Sheets features and import your MS Excel files into Google Sheets. All the data is saved to your Google cloud storage, keeping it safe and secure.

15. Google Slides app

You can create presentations on your Chromebook using the Google Slides app. It has various templates to help you create unique presentations. You can even import your MS PowerPoint slides as well.

Everything is stored on your Google cloud storage, so you never lose your slides. You can also share your presentations with friends and colleagues to collaborate and work on the same file.


The fact that Chromebooks have some apps that are different from the ones you may have been using on other PC operating systems may seem like a red flag. But it is not, I have used some of the Chromebook’s apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Keep notes, etc.

Chromebook apps are easy to use and you will easily and comfortably get used to them in no time.

Let us know what Chromebook apps and extensions you have used so far and how you found the experience in the comments section.