Saving Word Document in SharePoint shows blank metadata screen

Was recently investigating a problem with SharePoint 2007 (MOSS) – when saving “new” documents in a document library.   This is only a problem when using Word 2003 – relating to the completion of “meta data” (required fields).

The simple run-down of the problem is as follows :

  • Click to create a NEW Word Document
  • Using dropdown menu in SharePoint doc lib

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  • Enter words/text – eg. hello world !
  • Click “Save As”
  • Enter a file name – to be saved within the document library (SharePoint)

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…and here’s the problem – the next screen displays the “meta data” values to be entered.  

But – the screen is BLANK (WTF ?)   

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There should be a drop down to select the content type – as well as a bunch of meta data fields.  

So – can’t save the document, as the required fields aren’t filled in.

A further quirk – this only happens when using multiple content types.   If only one content type – then all is fine.

Also – the server has been re-formatted, re-installed, etc – SharePoint environment re-built – and the problem is *STILL* happening !

NOTE – when saving from Word 2007, the document information panel is used instead – there’s a message box shown, prompting the user to enter the required metadata.

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So – how to fix this ??!?

  • Use FIDDLER to determine the page url being shown – within the dialog box from Microsoft Word.
  • Note that this is an output from “OWSSVR.DLL”

http://sharepoint/DocLib/_vti_bin/owssvr.dll?location=Site/DocLib/docname.doc&dialogview=SaveForm

  • Copy the URL, and view within Internet Explorer.
  • Can now use IE Dev Toolbar – to view the HTML, CSS and so forth.  
  • By selecting turn off “CSS”, I can see that the fields are actually there – just “hidden”

Next steps were to do some debugging (this was via Microsoft support)

  • Determine where (within JS code) the field/s are being hidden
  • Check the “IF” condition, and values

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It turns out that there’s an expected field called fReadOnly – and the value is “missing” – should be either TRUE or FALSE. 

This then throws off the JavaScript (bform.js) – and the fields remain as “display:none”.   This is NOT a problem with ONE content type, as the fields are always displayed, not conditional (depending which content type chosen / refresh)

After some more poking & investigating, we determined that the “SCHEMA.XML” file buried within the SharePoint 12 Hive had been changed. 

The folder contains a “SCHEMA.XML” and also “ORIGINAL_SCHEMA.XML”.

For some reason, the “field” for fReadOnly had been removed.   And so, the JavaScript couldn’t determine the value/logic – meaning that the HTML wasn’t outputting correctly (always hidden).

So – why was the SCHEMA.XML file changed ?   What’s different ?   

After some wondering, blame-storming, and hair pulling – it ended up that the reason the SCHEMA.XML file had been modified was due to a 3rd-party add-on being installed.

The Outlook PowerTool (Echo Technology) is a free add-on that adds some extra checkboxes and options to the context menu’s within a Document Library. 

SharePoint delivers plenty of functionality out of the box that enhances the collaboration experience.

The ability to Send Links of documents directly from the interface is now provided out of the box.

However, this functionality is limited to only one file at a time.

This FREE tool from echoTechnology will allow you to select multiple documents from your document library send links and document attachments via your default browser.

Very cool – I’ve used it previously for a SharePoint 2003 installation – and it’s FREE – and very functional.   But, probably no support, as it’s FREE.

BUT – and this is what’s caused a few days of tail-chasing – the installation includes a JavaScript (JS) file – and a new SCHEMA.XML file.

The instructions for installation mention to replace the existing SCHEMA.XML file contained in this folder :

C:Program FilesCommon FilesMicrosoft Sharedweb server extensions12TEMPLATEFEATURESDocumentLibraryDocLib

And – as the MythBusters would say – “well THERE’s your problem !!”

To be fair, I haven’t checked to see if there’s an updated version (yet) – or if it’s a KNOWN issue when using Word-2003 – but, the resolution was to re-instate the old file – which means meta-data can be entered.

Luckily, was just a rename of XML files, and IISRESET.

Unfortunately, this means that some of the functionality for the Outlook PowerTool doesn’t work as expected – will have to see if we can piece together a correct SCHEMA.XML file – and/or contact Echo to see if this is a known issue.

Took a lot of fiddling (pun intended) – and some JavaScript debugging to work out the problem !  

Hopefully that helps someone out there – with a similar problem…

🙂

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