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6Aug/114

Fix it – Office Web Apps couldn’t open the document for viewing because of an unexpected error

Posted by Joy

I tried Office Web Apps with SharePoint 2010 when the product was in beta and I was thrilled with the features introduced. I also setup a virtual machine with SharePoint 2010 and Office Web Apps on the very next day after they released the RTM bits of SharePoint 2010 and Office Web Apps. I did few articles on the same topic using that virtual machine and recently I updated it with Service Pack 1 bits.

I applied SharePoint Foundation 2010 SP 1, SharePoint Server 2010 SP 1 and Office Web Apps SP 1 and I tried opening a Word document using browser and then boomed. I got the following error when I try to open a Word document within browser. The error says "Word Web App cannot open this document for viewing because of an unexpected error. To view this document, open it in Microsoft Word".

Office Web App error

Office Web App error

Usual troubleshooting exercise started by going to ULS logs. ULS logs stated that Word Viewing Service cannot access the database server and also it stated that App Pool account doesn't have write permission to C:\Windows\Temp directory. Next, I checked the Windows Event Viewer and it also stated that the database server is not accessible and the related content database is not accessible by the App Pool account.

I went and checked the SQL Server security and found out that App Pool account already has been given right set of permission and then checked the file permission to C:\Windows\Temp directory. What I found out was that write permission was assigned to a group called WSS_ADMIN_WPG and when I checked closely I saw that my App Pool account was part of the same security group. Then where was the issue?

I started Googling and found out that some of the users encountered this when you have Active Directory also running in the same machine. Then I found out some PowerShell scripts from http://www.dilukj.com/2011/04/setup-office-web-apps-for-sharepoint-2010/ to configure Word Viewing Service and PowerPoint Service Applications to disable Sandboxed execution which is preventing Office Web Apps to function properly in a machine in which we have both Office Web Apps and Active Directory configured.

I ran those commands there was no luck and then I was breaking my head for few minutes to find out why is this happening? Then I remembered that I have another service account which I have configured to run all the Service Applications in my farm and I went and checked SQL Server security again for the content database for the same account. Damn, that account didn't have access to the content database. I added the same service account which I have configured to run all my Service Applications as a new login to the content database and assigned the "db_owner" role.

Wow, Office Web Apps started working nicely as I expected.

I thought of sharing this experience so that when you get the above error, now you now what are the things you need to check to fix the problem.

24Aug/108

Article – Office Web Apps Part VI – Configuring and Consuming Word Viewing Service

Posted by Joy

We have already discussed about the OWA features and the deployment with SharePoint 2010. Word Viewing Service is one of the brand-new Service Application which gets deployed as a part of OWA setup and it will facilitate users to work with Office Word documents via browser.

Let’s talk more about Word Viewing Service and its features.

Configuring OWA Service Applications

The OWA installation adds the following 03 service applications to the list of service applications in SharePoint 2010:

  • Word Viewing Service application
  • Excel Calculation Service application
  • PowerPoint Service application

Every Service Application part of OWA is implemented based on the new Service Application Model concept and has the following components to support its functionality:

  • Service application
  • Service instances
  • Service application proxies

SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard (PSConfig) and Farm Configuration Wizard will configure the above components depending on the services we have selected to consume within in the farm.

Configuring Word Viewing Service

Let’s examine the default configuration for Word Viewing Service application and how we can alter them depending on the requirement.

  1. Go to SharePoint 2010 Central Administration site and select Manage service applications link from Application Management group.
  2. Page will show all the Service Applications installed currently within the farm. Scroll down until you see the Word Viewing Service application instance and its application proxy.

    Word Viewing Service application

    Word Viewing Service application

  3. Select the Word Viewing Service application name and you will be prompted with a page where you can configure the settings of Word Viewing Service application.

    Word Viewing Service application and Proxy

    Word Viewing Service application and Proxy

  4. In case if you don’t get the page to manage the Word Viewing Service, alternatively you can select Word Viewing Service from the list of Service Applications and select Manage option from the Ribbon.

    Managing Word Viewing Service

    Managing Word Viewing Service

  5. Word Viewing Service application settings page will be displayed as follows.

    Word Viewing Service applicating Settings

    Word Viewing Service applicating Settings

  6. You can change the values for Word Viewing Service application as per your need and save them to take effect within your farm. You can configure what file formats are supported by Word Viewing Service, whether you want to enable or disable embedded fonts, etc…

Consuming Word Viewing Services

Having configured Word Viewing Service with your own settings, let’s examine how we can really consume it.

  1. Upload a Word document to your document library.
  2. Select the Down Arrow which is next to the Name of the document you just uploaded and it will show you the Edit menu for the document. Select the View in Browser option.

    Consuming Word Viewing Service

    Consuming Word Viewing Service

  3. SharePoint will contact Word Viewing Service and it will render the Word document into images and open it in the browser. 
    Consuming Word Viewing Service

    Consuming Word Viewing Service

  4. You can experience a subset of Word viewing features such as paging, searching and zooming. Following figure shows how we can use Find feature to search content and how search query highlighting helps us.
    Word Viewing Service - Search

    Word Viewing Service - Search

  5. Click Edit in Browser to experience authoring features. You will see the Word ribbon and it contains most of the common authoring options for us to author Word document via browser. Home tab of the ribbon contain most of the document authoring features we need such as Font formatting, Paragraph formatting, Styles, etc…
    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

  6. Insert tab helps us to insert tables, pictures from both clip art and from computer.
    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

  7. View tab helps us to switch between Editing View and Reading View.
    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

  8. Following figure shows the way ribbon gives us additional options based on the context we are working. Try inserting an image and select the image to see Picture Tools ribbon which allows us to manipulate the image.
    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

  9. After you are done with your changes, you can click File | Save to save your document or File | Open in Word to open the document in the full-blown version of Word (if it’s installed in your machine).
    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

28Jul/100

Article – Office Web Apps Part V – Configuring Document Library for OWA-Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote

Posted by Joy

Having installed and configured OWA and Word Viewing Service, Consuming Word Viewing Service is super easy and let’s examine the same. This is same across all the service applications come with OWA. You will follow the same set of steps to configure your document library for consuming OWA for all-Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.  

  1. First we need to do a little configuration to our Document Library. It will decide when to consume OWA features for the documents hosted within that document library.
  2. Navigate to the document library’s Library tab in the ribbon. Select Library Settings option in the Settings group to navigate to Document Library Settings page.

    Configuring Doc Lib for Office Web Apps

    Configuring Doc Lib for Office Web Apps

  3. Select Advanced settings link to bring up the Advanced Settings page.

    Configuring Doc Lib for Office Web Apps

    Configuring Doc Lib for Office Web Apps

  4. Advanced Settings page for the selected document library will have a section for configuring when to use OWA and Word Viewing Service when opening Word documents.
    • Selecting “Open in the client application” option will always look for the locally installed version of Word client to open the documents. Users can always use Document’s Edit menu (which will drop down when selecting down arrow next to the document Name) and “View in Browser” option to consume OWA and open the document in browser.
    • Selecting “Open in the browser” option will allow SharePoint to communicate and consume Word Viewing Service application of OWA and it always opens in the browser using OWA even when user clicks the document Name from the document library.
    • Selecting “Use the server default (Open in the browser)” is the same as the previous option.

      Configuring Doc Lib for Office Web Apps

      Configuring Doc Lib for Office Web Apps

  5. Select “Open in the browser” option and click OK to finish configuring the document library process. Now onward all the Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents will start consuming OWA and opening in browser. 
27Jul/101

Article – Office Web Apps Part IV – Configuring Word Viewing Service application

Posted by Joy

We have already discussed about the OWA features and the deployment in SharePoint 2010. Word Viewing Service is one of the brand-new Service Application get deployed as a part of OWA setup and it will facilitate users to work with Office Word documents via browser.

Let’s talk more about Word Viewing Service and its’ features.

Configuring OWA Service Applications

The OWA installation adds the following 03 service applications to the list of service application in SharePoint 2010:

  • Word Viewing Service application
  • Excel Calculation Service application
  • PowerPoint Service application

Every Service Application part of OWA is implemented based on the new Service Application Model concept and have the following components to support its functionality:

  • Service application
  • Service instances
  • Service application proxies

SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard (PSConfig) and Farm Configuration Wizard will configure the above components depending on the services we have selected to consume within the farm.

Configuring Word Viewing Service

Let’s examine the default configuration for Word Viewing Service application and how we can alter them depending on the requirement.

  1. Go to SharePoint 2010 Central Administration site and select Manage service applications link from Application Management group
  2. Page will show all the Service Applications installed currently within the farm. Scroll down until you see Word Viewing Service application instance and its’ application proxy.

    Configuring Office Web Apps

    Configuring Office Web Apps

  3. Select the Word Viewing Service application name and you will be prompted with a page where you can configure settings of Word Viewing Service application.

    Configuring Office Web Apps

    Configuring Office Web Apps

  4. In case if you don’t get the page to manage the Word Viewing Service, alternatively you can select Word Viewing Service from the list of Service Applications and select Manage option from the Ribbon.

    Configuring Word Viewing Service Office Web Apps

    Configuring Word Viewing Service Office Web Apps

  5. Word Viewing Service application settings page will be displayed as follows.

    Configuring Word Viewing Service Office Web Apps

    Configuring Word Viewing Service Office Web Apps

  6. You can change the values for Word Viewing Service application as per your need and save them to take effect within your farm. You can configure what file formats are supported by Word Viewing Service, whether you want to enable or disable embedded fonts, etc…
26Jul/100

Article – Office Web Apps Part III – Verifying OWA installation and configuration

Posted by Joy

Verifying OWA installation and configuration

Perform the following steps to make sure OWA has been installed and configured successfully in your existing SharePoint 2010 Farm.  

  1. Go to SharePoint 2010 Central Administration site and select “Manage server in this farm” link. It will show you something very similar to the following screen and observe the new entry called “Microsoft Office Web Apps” under SharePoint Products Installed column. Observe 02 new services-PowerPoint Service and Verify Office Web Apps listed under the Services Running column. This confirms that we have installed Office Web Apps successfully.

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

  2. Come back to SharePoint 2010 Central Administration site Home page and select link “Manage services on server”. You will see something similar to the following screen. Notice PowerPoint Service and Word Viewing Service and confirm their status. They should be in “Started” status. This confirms that we have configured the OWA in our farm successfully.

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

Activating OWA in your Site Collection

Final step is to activate the OWA feature within your Site Collection to enable OWA features in your site. Perform the following steps to do it.  

  1. Browse to your site collection and go to Site Settings page by selecting Site Actions -> Site Settings link
  2. Go to Site collection features page by selecting "Site collection features" link from the Site Collection Administration section

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

  3. You will land in the Site Collection Feature Administration page. Find the "Office Web Apps" feature and click the Activate button to activate the feature. It will activate the Office Web Apps feature and confirm the same as follows.

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

Testing OWA using the Word Viewing Service

Now that we have installed, configured and verified the deployment of OWA and it’s time to test it. Let’s test OWA with the help of Word Viewing Service which allows us to access, view, edit and share Word documents via browser.  

  1. Navigate to your site collection and go to Shared Documents document library or any other document library where you have some Word documents uploaded.
  2. Select the Down Arrow which is next to the Name of the document and it will show you the Edit menu for the document. Select the View in Browser option.

    Verify Office Web Apps

    Verify Office Web Apps

  3. If everything was setup properly, it will take few seconds and load the Word document within the browser using Word Viewing Service which is a part of OWA.

    Verify Office Web Apps

    Verify Office Web Apps

  4. Notice how Silverlight can improve the user experience with OWA. As we discussed in the previous article Silverlight will improve the performance of loading documents into the browser and it will improve the clarity of the document.

    Verify Office Web Apps

    Verify Office Web Apps

  5. This is how it looks after Silverlight is installed.

    Verify Office Web Apps

    Verify Office Web Apps

  6. Click on the "Edit in Browser" option at the top of the document.

    Verify Office Web Apps

    Verify Office Web Apps

  7. Observe the authoring features of OWA.

    Verify Office Web Apps

    Verify Office Web Apps

Conclusion

Now that you have installed and configured Office Web Apps successfully in your SharePoint 2010 Server and now it’s time to play around with all the features of OWA.

26Jul/100

Article – Office Web Apps Part II – Installing OWA in an existing SharePoint 2010 Farm

Posted by Joy

In the previous article we discussed what OWA is and benefits of using OWA within an organization. We further discussed why SharePoint 2010 is recognized as the best deployment architecture for deploying OWA. 

In this article I have demonstrated the steps required to deploy and configure OWA within an existing SharePoint 2010 Farm. These configuration steps are the high-level configuration options we perform to configure OWA within the farm and each service within OWA has its own set of configuration to perform when we subscribe to them. I will be discussing each and every service and their configuration options in detail in future articles. 

Requirements

 Following are the prerequisites for deploying OWA: 

  • Hardware
    • 64-bit Processor
    • Minimum 4 GB of RAM – though you can install on server less than 4 GB RAM, you will encounter lot of time-outs
  • Software
    • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 or Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
    • Browser
      • Internet Explorer 7 or 8
      • Firefox 3.5 on Windows, Mac or Linux
      • Safari on Windows or Mac

Installation scenarios

Depend on the state of your server, there are few different installation scenarios and the order and number of steps will vary depend on the installation scenario. 

Your SharePoint 2010 Server can be: 

  1. Not yet installed SharePoint 2010
  2. Installed SharePoint 2010 but have not yet run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard
  3. Already installed the SharePoint 2010 and have run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard

I assume most of you are familiar with installing SharePoint Server 2010 and you have already setup a testing or development server at least to try out all the new features of SharePoint 2010. 

Order and no of steps required to setup OWA for scenario 1 and 2 are more or less same and I will discuss them in a future article. 

Let’s focus on the 3rd scenario and take the existing SharePoint Server and install and configure OWA to experience the OWA features we discussed in the previous article. 

OWA deployment has 3 main phases: 

  1. Installation
  2. Service activation
  3. Feature activation

If you are looking for a detailed list of all the steps and their order we can list them as follows: 

  1. Run OWA setup and post-setup configuration
  2. Start the service instances
  3. Create the service applications and proxies
  4. Activate the Office Web Apps feature
  5. Optional – in case if we are going to use PowerPoint Broadcast Slide Show, create the PowerPoint Broadcast site

Deploying OWA - You have already installed the SharePoint 2010 and run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard

Perform the following steps to install and configure OWA in an existing SharePoint 2010 farm. 

  1. Login to SharePoint 2010 Server with a user who has local admin privileges.
  2. Double-click the Setup.exe and initiate the OWA installation wizard.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  3. Enter the product key and click Continue.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  4. Accept the Software License Terms by clicking the check-box and click Continue.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  5. Leave the defaults for the Choose a file location and click Install Now to start the installation.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  6. Installation begins and wait until it finishes the installation.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  7. When it’s done with the installation, it shows the following page.  Make sure you check the check-box “Run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard now” and click Close.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  8. Then SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard shows up and click Next and click Yes for the warning.
  9. Select “Connect to an existing server farm” and click Next.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  10. Summary page will be displayed with the name of the database server and the SharePoint configuration database name. Click Next to initiate the configuration.
  11. It will take few minutes to complete the configuration.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  12. Once the configuration is done, the “Configuration Successful” page will be displayed. Click Finish to finish the configuration wizard.
  13. It will open up the SharePoint 2010 Central Administration site and prompt you for the following. Select “Start the Wizard” option.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  14. You will be prompted with the following page which displays all the Service Applications you have already configured during SharePoint Server 2010 installation and configuration. As you can notice all of the settings of this page disabled except “PowerPoint Service Application” and “Word Viewing Service”. Make sure you have selected both of them and click Next.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  15. You will be asked whether you need a new Site Collection with all of these new settings. If you wish to create a new Site Collection, continue and fill the following form and click OK. If you already have a Site Collection, click Skip.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  16. SharePoint will start configuring the new Service Applications-PowerPoint Service Application and Word Viewing Service and it will create Service instances, service proxies as a part of this configuration process.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  17. Once it’s done -  creating Service instances and proxies for the new two  Service Applications, following page will be displayed and click Finish to go back to Home of SharePoint 2010 Central Administration site.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

24Jul/1030

Article – Office Web Apps Part I – Introduction

Posted by Joy

OWA-Office Web Applications is a brand-new product introduced by Microsoft to take information workers to the next level with their existing Office experience. It helps information workers to merge the power of Office suite with the great amount of features of Internet Browser. 

Scenario

  • You may be a large organization which has already invested a huge amount on Office licenses. But the no of productive users may be very less and thinking about the other various investment methods to cater upcoming requirements. What that means is, only a small set of people will be responsible for creating Office based documents using the full feature set of the Office client but you will need to accommodate the request of others to be able to view/ access Office based documents. It’s time to save money on licensing and at the same time catering organization requirements.
  • On top of the above scenario, you may have large amount of people who do not wish to have full Office client installed due to various other reasons. They may be factory workers, who need to just access the data, charts, etc... to carry out their duty, but they don’t wish to have any authoring responsibilities.
  • Another scenario would be, you may want to take the power of Office suite to the next level by having multi-user authoring capability, allowing users to author document on the go with a light-weight and browser-based version of office.

Resolution

SharePoint team along with Office team introduced Excel Services with the release of Microsoft Office SharePoint 2007 (MOSS) in year 2007. This was the 1st attempt trying to resolve all the above mentioned and many more scenarios. 

As the 1st release of taking Office into the web, Excel Services provided the capability of publishing Excel Workbooks to SharePoint and share them with peers. Others could view published Excel data, charts without having to install Excel in the client machine. Only requirement was the Internet Explorer. 

Limitations

Following are the feedback we collected from the customers who used Excel Services and most of them considered as limitations of the product: 

  • One of the major show-stopper was Excel Services features delivered through Shared Services Provider in MOSS 2007 Enterprise Edition. It was not available as part of WSS 3.0 or MOSS 2007 Standard. This ended up Excel Services being popular with very limited set of customers. If a customer wants to use Excel Services, they had to go all the way up to MOSS 2007 Enterprise.
  • From the architecture itself it was very primitive and it supported only read-access to Excel Workbooks over the browser. We could achieve some level of interactivity by creating named ranges but it was not up to the level of other competitor products. In nutshell, it didn’t allow people to author Excel Workbooks via browser.
  • One other major limitation was, as name indicates it was limited to Excel. We couldn’t open any other Office based document within the browser. Only exception was InfoPath 2007 which allowed us to gather user data via browser with InfoPath Form Services. It was meant for collecting data and initiating workflows, instead of sharing data with peers.
  • Dependency with Internet Explorer was one other major limitation among all of this. Competitors supported Firefox, Safari while Excel Services was limited to Internet Explorer.

All of above limitations encouraged customers to go for some other competitor products like Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, etc… 

New approach

Microsoft’s answer to all above mentions limitations of Excel Services and delivering Office experience via browser is Office Web Applications. 

While Excel Services is continue to deliver with most of the limitations mentioned earlier, Microsoft is delivering a brand-new product called OWA which can be combined with SharePoint and deliver a great amount of Office experience within the browser. 

Office Web Apps

Office Web Apps

Some of the features are listed below: 

  • It’s absolutely FREELY provided that you have appropriate Windows Server license.
  • OWA can be combined with any edition of SharePoint 2010 starting with SharePoint Foundation 2010 all the way up to SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise Edition. This allows small and medium level customers to use Office via browser without investing a huge amount for the full-blown server edition of SharePoint 2010.
  • Apart from Excel Workbooks, it allows us to work with Word Documents, PowerPoint Presentations and OneNote Notes over the browser. PowerPoint slide-show broadcast is one of the amazing features of OWA.
  • And it allows us to Author all of these documents via browser. This is a great enhancement over MOSS 2007 Excel Services read-only feature. This allows users to stay in the browser and shift between browse and edit mode quickly. This opens up a new experience for collaboration.
  • It supports the entire browser family including Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Safari. Though it’s not officially mentioned by Microsoft, Google Chrome also can be used as a browser to work with OWA. User experience is not going to be exactly same across these different browsers due to their different technical nature. For instance though Internet Explorer will give ribbon button to Copy text to clipboard, Firefox doesn’t. We need to use keyboard shortcuts to Copy text to clipboard.
  • It support multi-user authoring for Excel Workbooks and OneNote Notes and changes will appear near real time.
  • Accessibility features to reach audience with disabilities. OWA gives screen reader support, ensure all the functionality is accessible via keyboard and delivers high contrast with different zoom models.
  • Architected to provide subscription model. Which means this is not available by default, and we need to explicitly download and install Office Web Apps. Even after installation, it provides a mechanism to subscribe only for the features we require from time to time. Subscription and the configuration is done through SharePoint 2010 Central Administration and it’s based on the new Service Application Model.
  • 03 different offerings for personal use through Windows Live for business use through SharePoint 2010 and for businesses through hosted.

How does it work?

In simple, OWA provides a representation of each document using native browser objects such as HTML, JavaScript and Images. 

What file formats are supported by OWA?

OWA will natively support Open XML file formats such as .DOCX, .PPTX, .XLSX, DOCM, .XLSB, .XLSM and .PPSX. And also OWA will view and convert .DOC, .PPT, .DOTM, .PPTM, .POTX, .PPAM, .PPSM and .PPS formats. 

IRM protected documents will not be supported by OWA. And documents with track-changes feature enabled will provide view-only within OWA. 

Why OWA is widely used with SharePoint 2010?

Even though Microsoft has 02 offerings for OWA-Windows Live, SharePoint 2010 and hosted, commonly and most widely used scenario is SharePoint 2010 integrated mode. Microsoft recommends using SharePoint 2010 as the delivery platform for OWA mainly due to its tight integration with SharePoint 2010 user experience. 

For instance: 

  • SharePoint 2010 Document Libraries can be configured to launch Office Web App viewer for its default click action.
  • If a user doesn’t have the full-blown Office suite installed, Office Web App is launched when the “New Document” option is clicked.
  • SharePoint 2010 can be used a host for PowerPoint slide-show broadcast.
  • OWA Administration will be a part of SharePoint 2010 Central Administration interface.

Conclusion

Office Web Application provides a subset of features of Office suite within the web browser which helps us to manage licensing cost, provide multi-user authoring, cross-browser support, easy to learn and productive web experience and much more features.