Downloading Praat for Chromebook

1. Praat on a Chromebook? First install Linux

You can install Praat on several types of Chromebooks, though probably not on all. We do not (yet?) provide an Android edition of Praat, which, if it existed, you would be able to install via Google Play. What we do provide are various Linux editions of Praat.

To install Praat-for-Linux on your Chromebook, you first have to make sure that Linux has been installed: click on the right bottom of your screen, then on the Settings wheel, then scroll all the way down to Linux (beta) and click on it. If you see a button Remove or Uninstall, then Linux was apparently already installed. If instead you see a button Install, then click that and wait until Linux has been installed.

If Linux is installed correctly, a folder called Linux files should appear in your Files window. To see the Files window, click your Launcher (bottom left of your screen), then click on the up arrow, then click on Files. Under My files, you should then see the folder Linux files.

2. The easiest installation of the latest Praat version on a 64-bit Intel computer

Once Linux has been installed, click on the Launcher (bottom left of your screen) and type Terminal. You see a Terminal window on you screen, showing a prompt like


The Terminal window is an app for typing Linux commands, and to install Praat you will have to type some Linux commands into this Terminal window. The first thing to get to know is the type of processor that your computer has. After the penguin prompt, you type

   uname -a

(which stands for something like “give me all of the system name”), followed by pressing the Enter key. You should get an answer similar to what I got on my 2019 HP Chromebook:

Linux penguin 4.19.69-06666-gfkhsdgfh #1 SMP PREEMPT Fri Sep 6 22:15:24 PDT 2019 x86_64 GNU/Linux

In this example, the next-to-last word is x86_64, which means that my HP Chromebook is powered by a 64-bit Intel processor. If you also see x86_64 on your Chromebook, then you are lucky, because a Linux edition for 64-bit Intel processors is available from the download page that you are reading now. Here it is:

praat6116_chrome64.tar.gz (6 June 2020; 14.8 MB)

When you download this file, it will appear in your Downloads folder, which is another folder under My files. Then drag this file from your Downloads folder to your Linux files folder.

After you confirm that your Linux files folder contains praat6116_chrome64.tar.gz, you are ready to install Praat via the Terminal. Thus, open your Terminal app again and type:

   ls -al

which stands for something like “list all files”. After you press the Enter key, the resulting list shows a number of hidden files, with names that start with “.”, but it should also show you the file that you downloaded, probably in a line like this:

-rw-r--r-- 1 yourname yourname 14764270 Nov 7 09:52 praat6116_chrome64.tar.gz

Here, 14764270 is the size of the file in bytes (i.e., the file is 14.7 MB big), “Nov 7 09:52” is the date and time at which the file was created (i.e. downloaded or copied), and “yourname” is the name of the owner of the file, i.e. you.

This file is not yet the Praat app. The extension .gz means that the file has been compressed by gzip, so you have to uncompress it by typing the following command into the Terminal window (i.e. type the text, followed by Enter):

   gunzip praat6116_chrome64.tar.gz

After this command, do

   ls -al

again, and you see that the file has been unpacked to something that is 51.9 MB big:

-rw-r--r-- 1 yourname yourname 51900928 Nov 7 09:52 praat6116_chrome64.tar

This file is still not the Praat app. The extension .tar means that the file has been archived by tar, so you have to unpack it again with the following command:

   tar xvf praat6116_chrome64.tar.gz

where xvf stands for eXtract - Verbose - File. After this command, do

   ls -al

again, and you see that finally a file called praat has been created (the tar is also still there; you can also see both files in the Linux files folder):

-rwxr-xr-x 1 yourname yourname 51899104 Oct 16 22:14 praat
-rw-r--r-- 1 yourname yourname 51900928 Nov  7 09:52 praat6116_chrome64.tar

You see that the file praat has the date and time at which it was originally created by the authors of Praat. The three little xes in -rwxr-xr-x mean that the file praat is executable, so you can now type


and Praat may show up with its Objects window and its Picture window. If you use Praat for the first time, choose Intro from the Help menu.

In case you wonder where you are, try the command


which means something like “Print Working Directory”. The answer will be something like


This is the name by which the Linux files folder is known to Linux! So they are the same folder, known under two different names, depending on whether you look from the ChromeOS side or from the Linux side.

You no longer need the file praat6116_chrome64.tar. You can throw it away by typing

   rm praat6116_chrome64.tar

where rm stands for “remove”.

3. What can go wrong?

3a. If you do not see the xes

If instead of

-rwxr-xr-x 1 yourname yourname 51899104 Oct 16 22:14 praat
-rw-r--r-- 1 yourname yourname 51900928 Nov  7 09:52 praat6116_chrome64.tar

you see

-rw-r--r-- 1 yourname yourname 51899104 Oct 16 22:14 praat
-rw-r--r-- 1 yourname yourname 51900928 Nov  7 09:52 praat6116_chrome64.tar

then the file praat is not executable, i.e. the command


gives you an error message. This situation can happen if you change the above procedure, for instance if you unpack Praat in the Downloads folder or in a folder under Google Drive. This is because ChromeOS wants to protect you against unknowingly putting programs (e.g. viruses) on your computer: any file you download is made non-executable by removing the xes. Only the Linux part of your computer does not have this protection, which is why you can install Praat under Linux files.

If you do end up with a non-executable praat in your Linux folder, you can make it executable by typing

   chmod ugo+x praat

(which stands for “CHange the MODe for User, Group and World to eXecutable”) into your Terminal, and confirm that you got three xes.

3b. If Praat complains that some libraries (dependencies) are not found

The correct installation of Praat relies on the presence of several software libraries, which may or may not be present on your computer. If Praat complains that something is missing, then you can try to install some additional components with the following commands:

   sudo apt-get install gtk+-2.0
   sudo apt-get install asound
   sudo apt-get install pulseaudio

and then try to start Praat again (please notify us if anything is still missing).

4. How to start Praat the second time

After installation and the first run have succeeded, then the next time you only have to start your Terminal and type


Even easier: you right-mouse-click on the Praat icon when Praat is running and fix Praat to your bar, so that you only have to click the Praat icon next time.

5. Installing other Chromebook editions (under Linux)

If you do not have a 64-bit Intel processor, you can still probably install Praat, by typing

   sudo apt-get install praat

into your Linux terminal. At the moment of writing (November 7, 2019), this will give you Praat version 6.0.22 (November 15, 2016).

If you want a newer version, you can get that from Debian or Debian. Recent upstream versions of the Praat package backported to the stable and testing distributions of Debian are available in an APT repository. These methods are probably for experts only.

6. Phonetic symbols

If you want to see good phonetic characters, it is best to install the Charis SIL and the Doulos SIL font:

   sudo apt-get install fonts-sil-charis
   sudo apt-get install fonts-sil-doulos

7. Running Praat from the command line

To run Praat from a terminal window, write a Praat script and specify that script on the command line, optionally with arguments, e.g.:

   praat --run playsinewave.praat 377 0.9

For details see Calling from the command line in the Scripting manual.

8. Known possible problems, and their solution

8a. Sound recording does not work

As far as we know (November 2019), Linux for Chromebook does not yet support the microphone (it’s a privacy issue: Linux for Chromebook also doesn’t support the camera yet). Audio output should work fine.

8b. No window titles

As a Praat user, you are accustomed to seeing the name of a Sound object in the title bar of the window that pops up when you do View & Edit. On the Chromebook this is invisible (it’s a design issue: ChromeOS likes tabs, not window titles).

by Paul Boersma.
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