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Managing Documents from Microsoft Office

Managing workspace documents using Microsoft Office is a common feature of Enterprise Content Management Systems. Using sensenet ECM you are able to create, modify or delete documents within Office. Editing and publishing documents into a workspace is as easy as managing tasks or links as well. There’s no need to learn how to upload documents or other files into sensenet workspaces manually, it’s done automatically while you’re using Office.

Document management in MSWord 2013

This feature is fully compatible with Microsoft Office 2013, 2010 and 2007.

The feature has been tested with Microsoft Office Word 2013, Microsoft Office Word 2010, Microsoft Office Word 2007, Microsoft Office Excel 2013, Microsoft Office Excel 2010 and Microsoft Office Excel 2007. The following information is only valid for these versions of these two programs. Please note that Office 2013 support has been introduced in sensenet ECM 6.3, Office 2010 support in sensenet ECM 6.1, versions prior to this only support Office 2007.

- From the 1st of September 2015 Chrome does not support NPAPI plugins any more. 
- This issue has been fixed in sensenet ECM 6.5 by using another technology, but the 
- Edit in Microsoft Office feature will not work in Chrome in sensenet ECM versions prior to 6.5.

Configuration

Authentication

sensenet ECM supports the following authentication schemes with Office integration:

Please note that support for Basic authentication has been introduced in sensenet ECM 6.1. Earlier versions must use Windows authentication for using WebDAV.

- sensenet ECM requires Windows authentication or SSL HTTP connection in order to manage Office documents. 
- Otherwise you will see a greyed out menu item in document action menus. 
- To learn how to configure and create your own self signed certificates, click the following link:
Trusted sites

Office may not allow you to open documents from sites that are not in the list of Trusted Sites. To set up your site as a trusted site open Internet Explorer then go to Internet Options. On the Security tab select Trusted sites then click Sites. In the following window add your site’s url to the list.

Permission settings

Only users with sufficient permissions are allowed to use Office protocol functionality. The system files that handle Office protocols are located under /Root/System/WebRoot/DWS folder. Add See and Open permissions to users in order that they can access document management functionality from Microsoft Office (see WebRoot Folder for details and examples)! Also, sufficient permissions have to be granted to users on Content Repository Workspaces and Documents for them to be able to access and open documents, and to Applications for them to be able to invoke certain Office document management functionality via actions.

How to open a document from sensenet ECM UI

Prerequisites: this section is about a feature that requires the SenseNet.WebPages component or the full sensenet ECM 6.5 application to be installed.

You can open a document from portal by clicking on the Edit in Microsoft Office action from the action list.

Edit in Microsoft Office sensenet ECM 6.5

The Edit in Microsoft Office action appears only for File types of specific extensions. If you’d like to, you can expand the list of supported document types by editing the key WebdavEditExtensions under sensenet/webdav section in Web.Config:

<add key="WebdavEditExtensions" value=".doc;.docx;.rtf;.xls;.xlsx;.ppt;.pptx;.xlsm;.xltx;.ods;.odt;.odp;.ppd;.ppsx;.rtf" />

If you have Microsoft Office 2010 or Microsoft Office 2013 on your computer, you can open documents with ‘Edit in Microsoft Office’ action. It works in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. If you have Microsoft Office 2007, you can use this action only in Internet Explorer.

How to open a document in Windows Explorer (WebDAV)

Please check out the WebDAV article about configuring and using WebDAV with sensenet ECM. Opening a file by double-clicking it in a mapped network drive in Windows Explorer opens it automatically in Office the same way as you would open it from the UI.

How to open a document from Word

Word open file dialog

Edit in Office Windows Explorer

You can always use the Favorites folder on the left side of the navigation bar to store the location of the server simply by right clicking Favorites and selecting Add current location to Favorites - to avoid typing the url of the sensenet server all the time when opening a document from Word.

Document Workspaces tab contains shortcuts to all document workspaces in the Content Repository. By clicking on them the window will be navigated to the selected workspace where documents can be found under the DocumentLibrary folder.

How to publish a new document to an existing workspace

If you have opened a document from the Content Repository, you can simply save and checkin the document from Word, just like you used to with documents (see information on versioning and checking in/out documents later). In case you have created a new document and want to upload it to an existing sensenet ECM Workspace, or you want to publish an existing document to a different sensenet Workspace Document Library, you can publish the document right from Word:

Publish to document management server

Publish to document management server 2010

Edit in Office publishing

In the Save as dialog type the url of the document server into the File name text box then press enter. A custom sensenet ECM workspace window will appear where you can select the desired Document_Library folder you want to save your document in.

You can use the Save as dialog similarly as the Open dialog: if you don’t want to type the url of the server, you can store the address in the Favorites folder. This option however is only available when selecting Save As, and is not present with the Publish feature.

- After publishing or saving a new document to an existing document workspace, it should instantly be checked out manually, 
- as Office does not check it out automatically in the current implementation! 
- The Check Out button in this case is only available in the Office button / Server menu. 
- See the 'Document source control' section later in this page.
Creating a new Document Workspace in Microsoft Office 2007

You can also create a new workspace for your document with Microsoft Office 2007. To do so click on the Office button then select Publish \ Create Document Workspace instead. The Document Management pane will appear. Choose a name for the workspace then type the url of the document server into the Location for new workspace text box. Click Create to finish creating a new workspace.

Create new workspace

New workspace

The Location given is treated as site relative, so entering myworkspace and http://localhost will create the new workspace with the path /Root/Sites/DefaultSite/myworkspace. You may as well give absolute url’s: http://localhost/Root will create the workspace directly under the /Root content.

Managing workspace content in Microsoft Office 2007

After you open a document from a workspace the Document Management pane will appear. If not, you can make it visible by clicking on Server \ Document Management Information under the Office menu.

You can make the Document Management pane always visible by clicking Options… at the bottom of the Document Management pane and checking all checkboxes at the label that says Show the Document Management pane at startup when:…

The Document Management pane is only capable of displaying a single document library, a single task list and a single link list only. The name of these lists and their workspace relative paths in the Content Repository must be /DocumentLibrary, /Tasks and /Lists, respectively. It is possible however to open a document from another Document Library, other than /DocumentLibrary - in this case only the current library’s documents can be accessed from the Document Management pane.

The Document Management pane only works for documents opened from the Document Libraries of Workspaces - but not for documents under a Site, Trash Bin or a Document Library defined outside of a Workspace, even though the document source control features (see later) will work for all documents in the Content Repository regardless of their locations.

List of available members associated to the Workspace.

Document management pane members

List of available tasks in the Workspace.

Document management pane tasks

List of available files and folders in the Workspace.

Document management pane documents

List of available links in the Workspace.

Document management pane links

Members

You can not manage members directly from Word but you can still see who is available (and who is online in MSN). Members are defined by explicit permission settings on the workspace content. This means that you can add new members by adding permissions to users on the workspace (add them explicitely if you want them to be displayed on the members tab even if they are already contained in any of the groups having permissions on the workspace).

Tasks

Tasks are also important content of a workspace. You have full control on managing tasks in the current workspace within Office.

You can set a task completed by clicking the checkbox next to it’s title. An empty check box means that it’s state is Pending. A checked task refers to a Completed task. In any other cases, you’ll see a filled checkbox. Depending on the status of the task an icon is placed next to the checkbox to visualize it’s state.

In the following table you can find the proper mappings between the fields of Task Content Type and Office’s properties:

SN Task Field Office property
DisplayName Title
Status Status
Priority Priority
AssignedTo Assigned to
Description Description
DueDate Due date

After creating a new task it won’t be visible until Get Updates button is pressed.

If you create your own MyTask Content Type make sure you inherit from the base Task Content Type or any of its descendants in order to make it visible in the list.

Documents

Any documents, associated to Office, in the Document Library folder of the current Workspace is visible and can be opened, edited or deleted, if the user has enough permission for these operations. You can also create or delete folders.

Links are also supported by sensenet ECM. Create, edit or delete links in the current workspace right within Office. In the following table you can find the proper mappings between the fields of Link Content Type and Office’s properties:

SN Link Field Office property
Url URL
DisplayName Description
Description Notes

After creating a new link it won’t be visible until Get Updates button is pressed.

If you create your own MyLink Content Type make sure you inherit from the base Link Content Type in order to make it visible in the list.

Document source control

Check Out

When working with documents in sensenet Content Repository, the documents have to be checked out to the users currently editing them. This is not done automatically: when opening a document the user has to click Office button / Server / Check Out button, or click the the Check Out button placed at the top of the document - before any changes can be made to the document:

Word checkout

Word checkout 2010

Word checkin sn 6.5

You can configure sensenet ECM to automatically check out documents upon opening. This is handled by the AutoCheckoutFiles web.config key in the sensenet/webdav section. If you set it to true, documents will automatically be checked out to the current user when opened in Office and automatically checked in when closing Office.

Check In

After checking out a document and editing it, the document can be checked in by clicking the Office button / Server / Check In button, or the Check in… link placed in the status tab of the Document Management pane:

Word check-in

Edit in Office check-in

After clicking the Check in… link a dialog window will appear where the user can enter a Checkin comment and select the desired version of the document (this latter choice is only available when Versioning is switched on for the document):

Word check-in

Word check-in

Word check-in comment

A Checkin comment in Office can always be given and will be stored in the Content Repository for the given version even if checkin comments are switched of or not available for the given document on the portal.

A Checkin comment in Office is never required and therefore empty chekin comments can always be given in Office even if it is required to fill out on the portal.

Discard Check Out

Office also supports a third action called Discard Check Out. Undoing a checkout means losing all the changes made to the current document and unlocking it to others (equivalent to Undo changes on the portal). This action can be found under the menu Server.

Check-in check-out in Office

Check-in check-out in Office 2010

Edit in Office file info

Source control messages

If the document has been checked out by someone else, it can still be opened, but when trying to check out the following dialog will appear:

Word checked out

Source control message MSWord 2013

Selecting Notify will leave the document uneditable, but as soon as the other user checks in the document, a notifying dialog window will pop up indicating that the document can now be checked out. The above dialog does not indicate the name of the user who has checked out the document for editing, but you can always check it in the status tab of the Document Management pane:

Word status

There is a known issue with Office: if a document is already opened (but not yet checked out), and you open the document once more from the UI (or in another instance of Word or Excel), the document will be opened in the previous instance, and the bar at the top of the document - indicating the necessity of Checkin Out the document - will disappear, the document will be editable right-away. However, when trying to save it, the following message will appear:

Word not checked out

Checked out dialog

When this happens, simply click the Office button / Server / Check Out button, and the document will be checked out, and you can instantly check it in by clicking the Check in… link already discussed above.

Document version history

If Versioning is switched on for a document, Checking in the document will create another version of it. Always the latest version is shown to the user. If you’d like to see all of the previous versions or even want to restore a previous version then choose Office button / Server / View Version History button. The version history dialog window displaying all versions with checkin comments will appear:

Word versions

You can select any version from the list and

The Delete version operation is not supported in sensenet ECM.

Examples/Tutorials

Permission settings

You can find examples for permission settings under WebRoot Folder section.

Is something missing? See something that needs fixing? Propose a change here.