Troubleshooting Office core application client/server integration with SharePoint

Troubleshooting Office core application client/server integration with SharePoint

This article mainly applies to core applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, and Publisher. Some content may refer to Outlook but only in the case of opening or synching documents with SharePoint. Outlook uses other protocols to interact with the mail server. Either POP3 or Exchange. Usually they use RPC calls instead of HTTP which is what Word, Excel, PowerPoint all use to interact with and open documents from SharePoint, which we'll be discussing here.

Other protocols that core Office apps will use include FPRPC (FrontPage RPC), WebDAV (Windows Component) and Rosebud or as it's branded Microsoft Data Access Internet Publishing Provider (MSDAIPP).

Internet Explorer is the web browser of choice when invoking an Office app by clicking on a hyperlink.

Refer to MS-OCPROTO open specifications on MSDN for more information on protocols used by Microsoft Office applications.

Microsoft's knowledgebase contains information on how Microsoft Office applications open files from a web server.

Many of these same steps also apply to integration with third-party web servers or IIS web sites that are not running SharePoint on them. Either an ASP.NET web application they developed and deployed to IIS or a third party solution like IBM WebSphere with Oracle or third party web server like Apache (Linux/UNIX).

TOP ISSUES: Most common issues with Office client/server integration with SharePoint.
1. Authentication prompts unnecessarily popping up (Windows Security dialog). Usually thrown by the Office application's process (WINWORD.EXE) after an HTTP response by the web (IIS) server, usually a 401 or something the app doesn't get like 302 redirects or 207s.
2. Files open Read-Only from the server. Expecting Read-Write mode in the Office application. User can't edit. Simply allows them to Save As locally.

DATA COLLECTION: This is the data to collect, questions to ask, things to consider and rationalize.
*I use onenote and paste lots of screenshots.
What seems to be the issue?
What operating system? Windows version and service pack
Office versions? Mixed? Apps, check programs and features, document all, compat pack?
Client machine having issue? Hostname, user logged in, time, URL.
New issue? Did this start happening recently?
Screenshots of issue?
Remote Assistance to verify steps? (helpdesk)
WebClient server? (client pc)
LAN settings? IE
Web Browser? Should be using IE.
Clear cache? Just temporary internet files, leave cookies, uncheck the preserve box at the top in IE cache settings
Verify the site is in Trusted Sites and the zone has Protected Mode turned off. Do NOT turn off Protected Mode for any other zone but Trusted Sites, the default for the Trusted Sites zone is Protected Mode off.
Verify you don't have any mixed versions of Office suites or standalone apps on the affected client machine.
Repair Office
Restart the WebClient service on the client.
Check IIS logs on web front end
Add entry to HOSTS file on client directly mapping load balanced hostname (host header) to a web front end, bypassing the load balancer (applicable only to SP farms, with more than one WFE).
Test other clients.
SSL? Test over HTTP instead of HTTPS if possible, web admin should be able to help with this, if they can.
Certificates? Don't require certificates, test that setting in IIS.
Authentication Method? Basic or NTLM or Digest or ADFS (claims)
Authentication mode? Classic or Claims
Permissions in SharePoint? Check with administrator
New library, new subsite, new site collection, new web app?
Staging or test farm to reproduce issue?

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