Tips for Excel Services Beta 2

I just wanted to share some things that I learned while implementing a proof of concept on Microsoft Office SharePoint Services (MOSS) 2007 beta 2 and more specifically regarding the Excel Services feature.

First of all, if you got the beta for MOSS, Excel Services will be available as soon as you configure a Shared Services Provider (SSP) for your farm. After that, you only need to configure the trusted locations, which is an option under the SSP Admin.

One last thing you might want to do is to configure the Advanced Settings of the Document Library to show documents in the web, since the default is to offer to open in the application (Excel 2007 in this case), if you have it installed.

I did all that but kept getting an error message showing an error message telling me that the document was corrupt. I really couldn't figure it out for a while and thought I missed some undocumented configuration step.

It turned out that I had two issues. First of all, I wanted to use regular XLS files, and those are not supported by Excel Services beta 2. You need to save those using the new XLSX file format to be able to render them by the server. There is an add-on to allow previous versions of Excel to read and write these new XMLX files.

Second, I am already running a post-beta2 version of Excel 2007 and the files generated by this version do not work either. You need to use matching versions of Excel Services and Excel 2007 to make it work. If you are planning to use the Excel 2007 beta 2 TR, make sure your MOSS is also updated to the beta 2 TR.

Most of the Excel 2007 client features work well with the Server version, including all kinds of complex formulas, pivotables, charts and data connections. You will need to create a server-based data connection library. Some things won't work, like macros and VBA code.

With those things in mind, my MOSS 2007 test server is now up and running. Now I can start playing with all the features, like publishing just specific ranges or using parameters...

Here are a few interesting links on Excel Services