Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#SharePoint | Read-only stories from the field

On of the most common problems I have encountered among end-users, yet with incredible variable cause, is without doubt the dreadful "Read-Only" message we get while opening documents.


There are multiple possible operations users try to accomplish that may cause this.
Most will result on one or more of the following bahaviour:
- Word will open with the message near the title of the document [Read-Only]

- The save disk icon does not contain the arrows (as below), but a flat disk alone

-You may get "The file [filename] has been modified by [domain\user] on [date]" or "The URL [filename] is invalid. It may refer to a nonexistent file or folder, or refer to a vlid file or folder that is not in the current web".

- You may get "Message from webpage: The document could not be opened for editing"
"A Microsoft SharePoint Foundation compatible application could not be found to edit the document."


#1 - Excel
Excel co-authoring is NOT available in SharePoint 2010.
Don't expect it to. Second user's will automatically get a read-only prompt.
If you manage to remove features such as worksheet protection, data connections and other features, you may be able to use Web Apps instead.

#2 - Unsupported browser
The only fully supported browsers are the 32 bit versions of Internet Explorer 7-11.
Features such as drag-and-drop, multiple file upload, open with SharePoint Designer and a lot others will simply not be available on other browsers.

#3 - Browser pops up open dialog (creating local version)
Internet Explorer (specially 9) will sometimes display a popup saying that it cannot open the document directly, but it will open a local copy instead, which after editing will obviously prompt to save it in the computer, or somewhere else.
I have solved this multiple times by upgrading to Internet Explorer 10.

#4 - Broken Content Type / Column
I recently had a huge problem with files opening as read-only.
Unfortunately, all the most obvious resolutions weren't working, and we eventually narrowed it down to a post-deployment issue.
Errors such as "modified by" or "the URL is invalid" were popping up like popcorn.
The problematic documents were all in the same library, so we started removing the columns one by one on a test environment until we finally figure out that the problem was a specific MMS column.

 #5 - Office 2013
It appears that right after we install any component of Office 2013 (Word, Lync, etc.), documents start opening in read-only mode, or not opening at all.
My resolution for this so far has been repairing the Office 2010 setup.
Repairing Office is also a resolution for the "for some users documents keep opening in the browser" problem.
Update: there is a registry tweak to workaround this.

#6 - Microsoft Upload Center
Another very common scenario is the upload centre cache.
Whenever a user opens an office document, this office add-in will automatically create a local backup. Should anything happen (failed connection to server), the document will be no longer up-to-date and the document will be "dettached" from the server.
We can set an option to make sure cache is cleared after we close Word, Excel, etc.

#7 - Locks
Locked documents are usually resolved by closing the document and re-trying.
For further troubleshooting, close all office instances and clear the upload center cache.
Also, consider trying to wait for the 10 minute lock.

#8 - Permissions
Finally, make sure the user getting access problems does indeed have the necessary security level (e.g. Contribute).

#9 - Checked Out Documents
If a document is checked out, usually there is a intuitite message that clearly states that the document is checked out to someone. Anyway, something to check as well.

#10 - Old office formats
It appears that documents with .doc, .xls and other formats of Office 2007 and below will not co-author. Make sure you save them with the latest format and re-upload, in order to take full advantage of the features provided in Office integration. As already stated, Excel 2010 documents still won't co-author due to software limitations (SP2010).

#11 - Windows 7 50MB file size limit

There is a key in Windows 7 that will block files bigger than 50.000.000 bytes from being copied/edited.

The fix is to increase this value in the key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SYSTEM -> CurrentControlSet -> Services -> WebClient -> Parameters -> FileSizeLimitInBytes

Complete System Reset Procedure
A few troubleshoot steps for local system problems:
  • Close all office related instances
  • Clear IE cache (uncheck "preserve favorites", check everything else)
  • Upgrade IE9 to IE10
  • Delete cached items in Upload Center
  • Delete all files in c:\windows\temp and c:\users\[username]\appdata\local\temp
  • Repair Office
  • Restart
Further troubleshooting
Clear Server Cache

Your own resolution
If you have a resolution to a read-only problem not listed, be sure to share it among the rest of us.

Document unlocker

* Update *

Custom objects
Some external objects, when added to a document, immediately turn the save icon into a "sorry, no co-authoring" icon.
So you may want to check your document for these special elements.

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