ShareTipOn… Datasheet Views in SharePoint 2010 – how come it works for some people and not for others?

Welcome

Welcome to my [Share-Tip-On] blog; where we should lessen our assumption-mistakes by learning from the ones made by others. Our aim is to rearrange our approach to solving SharePoint related challenges therefore [Share-Tip-On] anagrammed from SharePoint; where we believe that prevention is better than cure.

Introduction

When Microsoft designed an integrated solution such as Microsoft Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 an end user or a software solutions provider often operate on the assumption that the integration works and Microsoft is quite smart so they normally would think of everything that we can think of, so why then sometimes when a user phones me and tells me that he is not able to open a list or a library in datasheet view but the person sitting on the next desk can – how is this possible?

Tip-on… Microsoft Office 2010 Plus 64 bit

For an end user this error message could be quite cryptic and for a technically minded person new to SharePoint, this doesn’t make sense at all.

Error: “The list cannot be displayed in Datasheet view for one or more of the following reasons:  – A datasheet component compatible with Microsoft SharePoint Foundation is not installed.  – Your Web browser does not support ActiveX controls.  – A component is not properly configured for 32-bit or 64-bit support.”

What creates this error message?

Perhaps an end user might not be bothered to know this, however if you’re a technical person you probably know that SharePoint requires Windows 2008 or Windows 2008 R2 to be the 64 bit version and the same applies to SQL being used – it has to be x64.

When that above mentioned error shows when trying to use the datasheet view it could have some of these causes –

  • Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010 should be installed on the machine where the datasheet view is shown.
  • The version of office being used must have Microsoft Access included.

Not sure if anyone of you checked this already, but sometimes even though the user’s PC does comply with the above two bullet points – the same error message still shows; how can it be?  This is why –

  • The version of Microsoft Office installed on the user’s PC cannot be a 64 bit release; it can only be 32 bit.

Surprised?  I know I was.  Perhaps an end-user couldn’t be bothered by this, except that some productive time has gone down the tubes, since the simplest approach is to uninstall the 64 bit version of the software and reinstall a 32 bit version.

It’s perplexing to say the least as one would assume that if the server software is 64 bit then using a 64 bit version of Microsoft Office or/and a 64 bit version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, then everything should work.  Needless to say it doesn’t.

Admittingly, not too much research have been done into why it’s like this and perhaps any feedback or comments would be rather helpful, but from what I understand the real problem is that that the ActiveX being used is still 32 bit and cannot function when trying to use it with Microsoft Office when running the 64 bit version.

Any Solutions?

  1. If a user doesn’t really need a 64 bit version of Microsoft Office 2010, rather use the 32 bit version.

Any Workarounds?

  1. Download the AccessDataBaseEngine.exe onto that PC and install it – this adds 32 bit support to use the datasheet view in SharePoint 2010.  Please note: This creates other problems mixing up files from various versions of office to get this to work – do this at your own risk!
  2. If you have access to the proper licensing – using VMWare Player to build a 32 bit environment and access SharePoint 2010 from within that Virtual Machine. Other advantages that this adds is –
    1. When working via a VPN, internet access on the local machine is not affected.
    2. Makes joining client domains much easier, leaving the local machine unaffected.

Helpful Pages

Microsoft’s Planning Brower Support (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc263526.aspx)

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