SharePoint Slow Performance or Size Warning on Excel Files

Symptoms: Users report slow upload or download of Excel Files, or report that SharePoint refuses to upload an Excel file, prompting the user to save the file locally instead.

Cause: Formatting or adding formulas to whole rows or columns causes Excel to recalculate or reformat thousands of empty cells on each save and makes the size of the Excel file grow exponentially. While technically not a SharePoint issue, users first notice the disproportionate file growth when the workbook size reaches a point that causes performance issues when communicating with the SharePoint server or when the default SharePoint upload limit of 50MB is exceeded.

Solution: Clear unneeded formatting and calculations from the workbook’s empty rows, as described in this post Users may also wish to save the file as an ODR file, which will remove the blank cells. The user can then save the file back as an xlsx with the same file name. In one instance, the size of the workbook was reduced from 52MB to 235K.

People Picker in SharePoint 2010 Throws “Unexpected Error” on Some Client Machines

Symptoms: Some users report that attempting to use the People Picker in a SharePoint List Item results in an “Unexpected Error” message.  The affected users have either recently upgraded to IE9 or have new client hardware. Other users are able to use the People Picker without error.

Cause: Security settings in IE9 prevent the tool from fetching the required user information.

Solution: The SharePoint site should be added to a trusted or intranet zone in the browser settings, as described in this post on avoiding multiple authentication prompts in SharePoint.   

SharePoint 2010 Export to Excel 2010 Fails to Export All Fields in Some Views

Symptoms: Users report that on some views in a SharePoint 2010 document library or list, the export process results in an Excel table with the first column missing. Additionally, the first column in the table is Content Type, regardless of the view’s original column order. No error is reported by the application. Users of Excel 2007 are able to export the list without missing data and without errors.

Cause: Bug. Possibly because Excel 2010 is not able to sucessfully convert the object data in the Content Type field to text.

Resolution: Remove the Content Type field from the columns to be displayed in the view. (Switch to the view>Modify View> uncheck the box next to the field “Content Type”>OK).  Note that you will still be able to filter, but not sort, the results by Content Type, even if the Content Type field is not displayed.

BPC 2013 Presentation: Business Impact of the SharePoint Upgrade

Is your business ready for the change to a new version of SharePoint? This presentation goes beyond the technical requirements to consider how best to approach the tasks of planning, training, and testing the new system from a business perspective.

View on SlideShare:

SharePoint Best Practices Conference

I’m excited to present a session May 17, 2013 at the Best Practices Conference. The session discusses the business impact of SharePoint upgrade and shares some school of hard knocks lessons learned from our 2007 to 2010 upgrade.

Your technical team may be well prepared to execute the upgrade plan, but it is the end users and business leaders who must evaluate the new enviornment and provide feedback on whether it meets their needs. With proper planning, you can minimize down time and find workarounds for know “gotchas” in the upgrade process.


SharePoint “Open with Explorer” Button Intermittently Disabled

Symptoms: Users find that in some instances of Internet Explorer, they are able to use the “Open with Explorer” button on the SharePoint List or Library tab.  In other instances, the button is disabled. Closing and reopening the library sometimes corrects the problem.


Cause: The “Open with Explorer” button is not available in the 64-bit version of IE. When the problem is intermittent, it usually means that the client has both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of IE available on the same machine, perhaps with the shortcut to one on the task bar and a shortcut to the other on the start menu or desktop. The button availability changes based on which shortcut the user chooses.

Solution: Delete any shortcuts to the 64-bit version of IE. Replace them with shortcuts to the 32-bit version of IE.  Note that with system generated shortcuts, the 64 bit version will be titled, “Internet Explorer (64-bit). If needed, search for “Internet Explorer” from the start menu to find both versions in the search results, right click the result which does not say “(64-bit)”, and choose “Pin to task bar” or “Pin to Start Menu”.