SharePoint files moved into root folder

Tech Trek – 2016 January

PROBLEM –
Users reporting that files are missing in their respective child folders, and eventually being moved into the root folder of the document library.

TROUBLESHOOTING –

  1. Identify if the affected SP 2013 site/library is being accessed via SharePoint Workspace (formerly Groove) client and your content is not over these file restrictions.
  2. Make sure that the following patch is applied for Workspace 2010 client
    SharePoint Workspace 2010 hotfix – February, 2012
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2597939
  3. To temporarily address the automatic transfer into the root folder –
    Set Offline Client Availability to No under Advanced Settings for the affected Document Library.Missing-Files-Offline

RESOURCES –

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MS Excel Add-Ins

Tech Trek – 2016.03.14

PROBLEM –
One or more MS Excel COM Add-Ins are not loaded correctly even after enabling items in Excel Options dialog.

RESOLUTION –

  1. Check whether the add-in is listed under Disabled Items in File … Excel Options.

    Excel-COMAddIns

  2. Otherwise, open registry editor and find the affected Add-Ins in the following registry key path. Change the LoadBehavior value data into 3 (Load at Startup).

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Excel\Addins\
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Word\Addins\Excel-LoadBehavior

DISCLAIMER:
Make registry updates with care since changes can render your system into an unusable state. Make sure you have a system restore point, or necessary backup before doing changes.

SharePoint Foundation compatible application could not be found.

Tech Trek – 2014.02.13

Recently, our remote users have been frequently getting the following issue when opening Microsoft Office documents within SharePoint.

In Word Web App,
“To open this document, your computer must be running a supported version of Microsoft Word and a browser that supports opening files directly from the Office Web Apps.”

In Excel Web App,
“To open this workbook, your computer must have a version of Microsoft Excel installed and your Web browser must support opening files directly from Excel in the browser.”

WebApp-Word-Error

I’ve outlined how to troubleshoot the issue so that hopefully you wouldn’t get crazy in attempting to decipher the misleading message and find out what happened to the user’s PC.

Note, we have the following basic assumptions —

  • Microsoft Office was installed in the first place.
  • Internet Explorer 7 (32-bit) or higher is used. Non-IE browsers will open files locally by default and results into the error message below.

First, try opening the affected file using Edit in Microsoft Word (or Excel) from the list item menu. If you get the following message, then, it confirms that this isn’t just an Office Web Apps issue.

SharePoint error

Second, try opening another document with a different file format, e.g. PDF document, or ZIP file. Then, open Microsoft Word/Excel application and load the document by accessing the site URL directly.

If you were able to succesfully open files from SharePoint, proceed to the steps below.

  • Open Tools … Manage Add-ons in Internet Explorer
  • Make sure that the following SharePoint add-ons are enabled especially SharePoint OpenDocuments class.

SharePoint-AddOns

Most of the time, this will resolve the issue. Close and re-open the browser window to load these add-ons properly, then, try opening Office documents again.

Third, open Office Upload Center via Taskbar icons, or from Microsoft Office –> Office Tools in the Start Menu. Check if there are Pending or Cached Files that have failed recently from the list. Follow the steps below to delete cached files:

  • Click Settings and select Delete cached files button. Try to re-open the document to see if it helps. I’ve found most of the time this doesn’t properly delete files in the hidden folder.

Lastly, the following steps should be performed by technical personnel since it involves a couple of steps.

  • Exit SharePoint Workspace from Taskbar icons.
  • Start Task Manager and click End Process for the following: MSOSYNC.exe, MSOUC.exe, or GROOVE.exe (if SP Workspace is still available).
  • Open Windows Explorer and proceed to Users folder in your local hard drive. Make sure that hidden files is selected under View tab of Folder and search options.
  • Expand to the following location —
    \Users\<userId>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\<Office version>\OfficeFileCache
  • Delete the entire folder.
    Close any Microsoft Office applications if you’re unable to delete the folder successfully.

By this point, most of the issue should be resolved. A workaround that you may instruct end-users is to open files via Open with Explorer under Library ribbon menu, or use SharePoint Workspace to open the site.

InfoPath template publishing issues

Tech Trek – 2012.01.22 Sunday

I’ve recently updated an InfoPath form template for a project and ran into the following Microsoft Support issue KB2554288.

Columns published from InfoPath fields are recreated when the same InfoPath form template is re-published to more than one document libraries in a SharePoint site

I read this knowledge base article after I had already re-published the InfoPath template into a second form library so I can test” the changes before applying them in production. In my case, I’m not re-publishing the template as a Site Content Type, or creating Site Columns.

I proceeded to delete the second library even before re-publishing the production form template. As mentioned in the article, the promoted columns were re-created when publishing a form more than once within the same SharePoint site. In my situation, this resulted into the following issues to the original form library:

  • Promoted columns were removed in list views
  • Calculated columns resulted into invalid values (#VALUE) even if column names are the same
  • Custom workflow lookups didn’t resolve the promoted columns

Luckily, my form was not too complex but I had to perform these steps to correct the form library:

  • Re-create the list views
  • Re-create the calculated columns
  • Modify custom workflows in SharePoint Designer and later re-published them to the site

GAPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
It was a good thing that I had backup of the configuration settings so I will able to re-create them as needed. Thus, it would be nice to have a SharePoint tool to create documentation about  configurations. Also, the ability to restore custom workflow would be helpful in case of a worse-case scenario of re-creating the library or list.

SUMMARY
The intent of this post is to shed light on some of the nuances of InfoPath development as compared to the traditional deployment procedures into a test or staging environment. Thus, it introduces additional work for SharePoint Administrators when applying “change control” practices and poses a challenge when trying to adhere into legal compliance scenarios.

It does take a different mindset coming from strict software configuration management (SCM) principles in my previous work experience. What we’ve done in our organization was to store application configurations in transactional database tables and XML files coupled with version control system which made auditing changes more feasible.

Disable or hide SharePoint “Send To” and “Open with Explorer” menu options

Tech Trek – 2011.08.15

PROBLEM:
I was building an InfoPath form that requires security from certain users of the solution. One of those involve preventing access to the following context menu and ribbon menu options:

  • Send To … Download a Copy
  • Open with Explorer

Unfortunately, these options becomes a loophole if they are available for the security mechanism that I was planning to enforce through browser-based form services. Note, configuring the “Default open behaviour for browser-based documents” in Advanced settings of form library doesn’t prevent a user from selecting the “Edit in InfoPath” option from item menu.

Downloading a local copy allows the end-user to see any restricted views while allowing the “Open with Explorer” option opens the WebDAV folder that could give access to other files in the form library. Not good!

SOLUTION:
As I conduct my research, it’s amazing how many programmers came up with different solutions to resolve such issue. Although, some are simple to implement one key criteria that I had in mind is a “no-code” solution since that is what SharePoint offers in the first place. So with that principle applied, I ended with configuring the permission levels to disable or hide such menu options in both the 2010 ribbon menu and item dropdown without opening SharePoint Designer that could affect any future upgrade issues.

Note, I’m not going to provide the steps here since most SharePoint administration references would walk through such configuration but the key site permission options to note are the following:

  • Use Remote Interfaces
  • Use Client Integration Features (removes Edit in … option)

The best practice is to copy a default permission level and remove the particular permissions that you want to exclude. Just a reminder that disabling the above permissions may include other features that you may want for your site so make sure to “test early and test often” with different accounts that would use the system. Lastly, I created a separate list view page that is similar to the All Items view in a secure document library so that only site administrators have access to it for additional security measures.

The end result, problem solved without custom coding.

References:
Technet User Permissions and Permission Levels (SharePoint 2010)
Technet Configure custom permissions (SharePoint 2010)

Launch PowerPoint files into slideshow mode

Tech Trek – 2011.07.06

I was researching for methods to launch PowerPoint documents into slide show mode from a SharePoint document library. In SharePoint 2010, a document will launch into presentation mode once you save the file as “PowerPoint Show” format i.e. resulting into ppsx file extension.

Unfortunately, the side effect of this approach launches the dialog box below and prompts the user to confirm the operation for security reasons.

More interestingly, I’ve noticed that there is a feature with the new PowerPoint web viewer to start the slide show. By default, you will have to manually click a button when using the “View in Browser” option.

It caught my eye that there was a “PowerPointView=ReadingView” parameter being passed to the URL. After some research, I was able to find that there are a couple of options for this property. Viola! I was able to launch the slide show mode by replacing the value of the parameter into “SlideShowView” (camel-case required).

http://site/_layouts/PowerPoint.aspx?PowerPointView=SlideShowView&PresentationId=url

To that end, no dialog prompt was needed since the document was not opened using PowerPoint application. Unfortunately, launching this the first time will take time since it loads the viewer and the file into memory. Also, you will have to create such links manually, or may resort into creating custom menu actions to make it available to users.

MSDN resource: PowerPointView

InfoPath 2010 Improvements

Tech Trek – 2011.04.27

Finally, I got into doing another InfoPath 2010 form where I’ll highlight a couple of new features that I liked in a current project.

Design Templates
One of the great new design elements is the availability of commonly used templates. This makes form building quicker so that as a Developer, you don’t have to come up with a layout from scratch.

New Controls
If you had a chance to work on InfoPath 2007 or earlier, you will welcome a couple of new built-in controls that were unavailable in previous versions. A couple of them that are useful are the following:

  • Person/Group Picker – though, I’d wish for an easier method of returning Active Directory profile properties
  • Date & Time Picker
  • Browser-based support for combo boxes, lists, etc.

Rules Designer
It will be very much hard pressed creating a form without some formatting (hiding/showing elements) or data validation requirements. An improved rules designer and inspector are now available in 2010 version which makes it more easier to define these in the form.

Data Connections
This leads to an existing feature that InfoPath extended since most likely forms require connecting to an existing SharePoint list, database, XML, and the newly added REST web services.

Ribbon UI
One thing that drives me nuts is the lack of consistency for application interface, although, this maybe a cliché at this point with Microsoft. Finally, they have caught up InfoPath, Visio, and Project with the rest of its product family so you’ll have to re-orient yourself again.

Publishing Options
There are a couple of new options when publishing forms into a SharePoint site and by far Quick Publish will likely be taken for granted but a nice addition especially since it makes it easier to push the changes to the server.

This is not meant as a comprehensive list and not all of them maybe perfect but I’ve touched only a couple of the elements that have been useful to me by far. A couple of new features that is next on my list is to integrate a digital signature solution that I spearheaded for our organization and the ability to create custom forms for a SharePoint list.

In summary, we are now able to realize the n-tier application architecture that has been promoted more than a decade ago because of the maturity of technologies that are not necessarily built by Microsoft. What I like about it most is the ability to quickly develop fancy looking functional business forms so that you can give it a “form” (no pun intended). This is not something new in Visual Studio and other “drag & drop” development tools but good luck on teaching that to business users, or those who may not have the team to build them.

Now, if it can only be as pervasive as the PostScript Document Format.