Monthly Archives: November 2013

Patching an Office Web Apps 2013 Farm

Recently I brought the patch level of an Office Web Apps server up to March 2013 PU. Microsoft updates the Office updates listing here:

There is a cardinal rule when applying updates to an Office Web Apps 2013 farm and if you get one thing from this post make sure it is this..Remove the machine from the farm (Using PowerShell: Remove-OfficeWebAppsMachine) prior to patching. This means that after applying the updates you must “recreate the farm” using the New-OfficeWebAppsFarm PowerShell command. The updates apply really fast..for a PROD environment I only took 4 minutes!

For a normal Office Web Apps update this is ALL that is needed (SharePoint’s binding to the office web apps farm is based on the server name so usually you do not have to even log on to a SharePoint server). Pretty simple..unless there are more servers and Office Web Apps needs to be HA (See this post if that is the case:

Since the March 2013 PU is not just your average update (See list of changes/added functionality here: you need to do slight configuration on the SharePoint servers. I know the KB article was for February CU, but we are applying March PU – which only has a few incremental changes plus it’s a PU, which means it was more thoroughly tested.

Steps to follow for March 2013 PU to add WordPDF functionality:

  1. After applying the update, you need to log into a SharePoint server to add a binding for the new PDF viewer:

    Note: This seems to place a binding in the internal-http(s) zone, which is no good in scenarios (such as ours) using external-https. In this case I needed to remove all bindings and then add all bindings and everything will be updated to external-https as it should. I tried changing the zone name property, but it is a read only field (and the –allowhttps=$true only switched it from internal-http to internal-https)

    1. After applying this new binding you need to create a new result type for PDF Files:
      1. Site Settings > (Search) Result Types and then finding the PDF Result Type. Choose to Copy the Result Type.
      2. Give the new Result Type an appropriate name, “PDF with Preview” for instance. Then scroll down to Actions and in the “What should these results look like?” drop-down, choose to use the Word Display Template.

     Here’s a couple of sweet PowerShell scripts I came across (From Wictor Wilén) to obtain the version number for Skydrive/O365 Office Web Apps Server:

    US (Current Version is 16.0.2130.1021):

    EUC (Current Version is 16.0.2130.1021):

    Just to put things in perspective – March 2013 PU is version number 15.0.4481.1005

SharePoint 2013 – Images Showing up as a Red or Black X

We recently ran into an issue when trying to display images from another site collection and it appears the root cause was MDS. Here’s some things to note if you run into an issue with the dreaded red x:

When an image is uploaded into SharePoint, it auto creates 2 jpg files (One for a thumbnail and one for an image preview). Sometimes the thumbnail and preview work, but the actual image (png) does not.

  1. This is because the PNG image was saved with a CMYK color profile and browsers can’t display CMYK images. Thus, the red X. The thumbnail and the preview are .jpg files (see above) so they look fine.
  2. To solve the issue, open up the image with an image editing software (I used mspaint) and save it as an RGB image.

When selecting the image please remove all of the start.aspx# stuff. This is from a new feature in SharePoint 2013 (Minimal Download Strategy) that helps the SharePoint pages load quicker by only loading incremental changes of content in the page, but items should still be referenced using direct links or “simple URLs.”

  1. For example: When I did my test I referenced the image located at /sites/resources/images/picture.jpg
  2. Referencing it at /sites/resources/_layouts/15/start.aspx#/images/picture.jpg would cause the red “x”

The last thing to make sure is that relative URLs are being used instead of full URLs (pretty self explanatory).


These guys…….
SharePoint X Bros