SharePoint Document Information Panel cannot create a new, blank form

The document information panel in Microsoft Word is a great way to enter metadata for documents stored in SharePoint 2007/SharePoint 2010. Especially the combination with content types and Word Templates is a great way to make it easy to start new documents in SharePoint. But when you are changing columns in the contenttype when you have already assigned a Word Template you can run in to trouble.

You will probably get errors like “The document information panel was unable to load” or “Document Information Panel cannot create a new, blank form”

After some research I have found a pretty simple solution to this problem.

Go to the Document Type Advanced Settings

Click Edit template

In Word, go to File

Click on Inspect

Click on Remove All behind Custom XML Data

Save the template and close Word.

You’re all set. The template will not anymore throw an error when creating new documents and the document information panel will load successfully.


Disable Check Out To Local Drafts Folder

When checking out documents from SharePoint get a pop-up window with the option to “Use my local drafts folder.” Using the local draft option can potentially cause issues with the check-in and check-out process. Changing the default on this pop-up cannot be performed within SharePoint. It is a behavior specified by the local Office client.

To change the drafts folder default options you have two options

Configure locally on client

This option needs to be configured for every single client.

  • Open Microsoft Word 2007 or 2010
  • Go to the Word Options (Office Button > Word Options)
  • Under the “Save” section, change the “Save checked-out files to” option to “The web server” (Office 2007) or “The Office Document Cache” (Office 2010)

Configure for all users (within AD domain)

This will configure the setting using the group policies.

  • In Office 2007 this can be done by configuring the following entry in the registry using group policy:
    Key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Common\Offline\Options]
    Registry Value Name: Local
    Registry Value: 0 (DWORD)
  • In Office 2010 this can be set using group policy templates:
    Category: Microsoft Office Document Cache
    Policy: Check-out to local disk
    Associated Registry Key: [software\policies\microsoft\office\common\offline\options]
    Registry Value Name: UseLocalDrafts
    Registry Value: 0

After a logoff or gpupdate a client should not use the local draft by default.

SharePoint and Office Quickpart date formatting

Recently we had an issue with date formatting within Office 2007/2010. When you drop a QuickPart field which references a date field in SharePoint the date formatting will not be equal to the regional settings of the SharePoint site where the document resist. The solution to this problem is rather simple, when you have spent some time digging into Office 2010.

· If the situation that the Developer tab in Word is not enabled, enable it.
Word 2007: Word > Options > Popular
Word 2010: File > Options > Customize Ribbon in Word 2010

· In the document, insert the document property as usual.

· Click the document property, then click on its name (see figure).
Click Developer tab > Controls group > Properties

· Now you are able to modify the date formatting by selecting one of the predefined formats from the list or by defining a custom format.

· Click OK

There you go! A custom format has been set. Unfortunately this is not a solution in a multi-language environment. Every template has to be preconfigured.