Stop Excel documents opening in the browser on SharePoint

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I had to spend a little time today stopping Excel documents opening in the browser. Following the advice on the web didn’t really help and I was sure I had done the steps required. I was starting to doubt my sanity…

The error message

The client doesn’t want or need Excel Calculation Services (certainly not right now away) so it isn’t setup or configured but documents were still trying to open in the browser for all site collections on a single web application, yielding this error message:

image“Unable to process the request. Wait a few minutes and try performing this operation again.”

Clearly this was never going to work in a few minutes…

 

 

Two levels of settings are always mentioned for this issue – the site collection level and, if necessary, at the document library level.

Neither of these resolved the issue for me.

The Fix

1. Go to Central Administration. Click on Site Actions > Site Settings. Under Site Collection administration, click on Site Collection Features and activate “Open Documents in Client Applications by Default”. (mentioned here, and yes… it doesn’t make sense as to why this should be the case)

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2. Go to the Site Collection in question, Click on Site Actions > Site Settings. Under Site Collection administration, click on Site Collection Features and activate “Open Documents in Client Applications by Default”. (covered here in detail)

3. Go to the Document Library in question, Click on Library Settings, Advanced Settings and select either “Use the server default” or “Open in client application”.

imageFrom here on, Chrome will download the file and IE will prompt to open it – Read Only or Edit.

 

 

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