Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ultimate debugging guide for SharePoint 2013 on-premises Office Web Apps (OWA)

When used with SharePoint 2013 on-premises, Office Web Apps (OWA) provides updated versions of Word Web App, Excel Web App, PowerPoint Web App, and OneNote Web App. Users can view and optionally edit Office documents by using a supported web browser on computers and on different mobile devices, such as Windows Phones, iPhones, and iPads. In addition to Office documents OWA can also support PDF view in browser.

After you follow Microsoft instructions to install OWA to facilitate users to view different documents in browser, users might run into issues quite often. Here is the ultimate debugging guide for SharePoint 2013 on-premises Office Web Apps when you have issues.

1. Whenever you have issues on OWA, the first thing to check is if OWA is available. You could use the following URL to verify if OWA is available. If the OWA is available, the result should be similar as the screenshot.


2. Next you will need to verify if SharePoint still connect to OWA servers. You could run the following command from SharePoint WFEs.

Get-SPWOPIBinding -Server "OWASERVER.MYCOMPANY.COM"  (If you know the OWA server URL)

Get-SPWOPIZone | Get-SPWOPIBinding (If you do not know the OWA server URL)

The result should be list of file type configured for OWA to support.

3. The third step is to check the  OWA zone by running the following Powershell.


If the zone is not correct, please set to the correct like this in our environment.

Set-SPWOPIZone -zone "external-https"

4. The third step is to very OWA version. We found different OWA versions may support different type of the files. The easiest way to verify OWA version is to run the following Powershell. You can find the OWA version from the result as highlighted.


Key                                                                                                Value
---                                                                                                -----
X-CorrelationId                                                                                    dfed84e9-ca53-4be6-bec8-399d5e61c9fc
X-OfficeFE                                                                                         5632742190694a8bba2353f6ddea79d8
X-OfficeVersion                                                                                    15.0.4937.1000
Accept-Ranges                                                                                      bytes
Content-Length                                                                                     6241
Cache-Control                                                                                      public,max-age=31536000
Content-Type                                                                                       text/html
Date                                                                                               Thu, 20 Jul 2017 17:22:54 GMT
ETag                                                                                               "01bbdc714e9ce1:0"
Last-Modified                                                                                      Sun, 24 Nov 2013 12:57:50 GMT
Server                                                                                             Microsoft-IIS/8.0
X-Powered-By                                                                                       ASP.NET

There are two other way to verify OWA build number you might use. 

A. If you are end user and do not know how to use Powersell, you can use browser  to hit the URL like below in the browser.

https://owaserver /op/servicebusy.htm

Then you can use Fiddler or F12 to check the request header header as described in the article.

B. You can also use server Powershell to verify the OWA version as described here.

5. The forth step is to verify if any file type are suppressed in the OWA. You can run the following Powerhsell. You should find the suppressed file type as the screenshot.


When OWA Server view mode is used to view workbooks, the following BI features will not be available.

  • Excel Web Access Web Part
  • Refresh OData connections
  • View and interact with Power View reports
  • View and interact with PowerPivot data models
  • Refresh PowerPivot data models
  • Refresh data by using the Excel Services unattended service account
  • Refresh data by using Effective User Name connections
  • Kerberos delegation
You will following the instruction provided by Tom to suppress the excel from OWA to avoid these issues. The Powershell is described in Tom's Microsoft TechNet site.

New-SPWOPISuppressionSetting -Extension "XLS" -Action "view"
New-SPWOPISuppressionSetting -Extension "XLSM" -Action "view"
New-SPWOPISuppressionSetting -Extension "XLSX" -Action "view"

6. The fifth step is to verify the web application "Permissive mode in browser file handling" setting. You could refer this article to verify.

7. The sixth step is to verify if site collection feature "Open Documents in Client Applications by Default" enabled. You could refer to Microsoft instruction to enable it from Powershell or UI.

8. The seventh step is to verify the library setting if  you have correct setting for "Opening Documents in the Browser".

One note to point out is OWA upgrade or patch process. You have to pull the OWA server and upgrade or patch. After that you need to bind the SharePoint server again! Remember to do this after the upgrade or patch. You could use the steps listed above to verify the OWA after each upgrade or patch.

OWA provides document view/edit inside the browser. After you know the tips and tricks, users can enjoy this function.

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