A couple of days ago, I got a phone call by a customer, saying they had problems opening certain Excel files in SharePoint 2010 for a specific user and document library.
Excel documents with the XLS extension got opened in Excel without a problem. Opening XLSX documents however generated an error in the browser.
I logged on to their server and took a look at the specific document library. When the customer selected a Excel document with a XLSX extension, SharePoint tried to open the Excel document in Office Web Apps, the ‘online’ version of the Office suite. And he got a “Unable to process the request” error.
Because we wanted all Office documents to be opened in the Office Client, we didn’t have a Excel Services Application running. So it’s no wonder the error occurs when SharePoint wants to open the document in Office Web Apps…
Nope, everything looks fine. The Server default behavior is used (“Open in the client application”). Even changing this specifically to “Open in the client application” didn’t make any difference.
Then the customer asked me if it would make any difference if the user would use the Internet Explorer 32-bit version? Ahaaa…, then it dawned on me…
That specific user was using the 64-bit version of Internet Explorer. Now, as far as I know, this will cause problems because IE X64 doesn’t have the necessary ActiveX controls.
I’m not sure why XLS documents did get opened correctly, but I advised the customer to stick to the IE 32-bit version for now. Problem solved.
N.B. Does anyone know if IE 64-bit does play nice with Office 2010 64-bit? Or why XLS documents did get opened in Excel and XLSX not? Please let me know.