I've discovered that there are still a number of organizations that are confused about what is required to integrate various aspects of SharePoint with the Microsoft Office suite of client applications. So, I'd like to address a few key integration touchpoints to clear up any misconceptions about what must be done on the SharePoint server and what's required on the client.

Here are five touchpoints you need to know when integrating SharePoint with Office:

  1. In order for a user to view a list as a datasheet, the Windows SharePoint Services Support component of Office must be installed on the client. Without it, users won't get the Datasheet view when they click the Actions button on a SharePoint list and choose Edit in Datasheet or when they create a Datasheet view using the Create View command. If you open Programs and Features (Add/Remove Programs in XP) and open Office from there, you'll find Windows SharePoint Services Support in the Office Tools branch of the component tree. If you performed a custom installation of Office and left out the component, you can simply add it later and the Datasheet view will start to work.
  2. There was a time when you had to install OneNote in order for the indexer to be able to open OneNote files. No longer. The SharePoint server can index Office document formats, including OneNote, without installing Office on the server. Simply download and install the Microsoft Filter Pack. All Office document formats will then be indexed without a local install of Office.
  3. Integration commands that appear in the SharePoint UI—commands such as Export to Spreadsheet, Open with Access, and Connect to Outlook—appear whether or not you have the client installed. They simply fail when chosen if the client isn't installed. Sadly, there's no out-of-the-box way to remove those commands from the menus if you have users without the client applications or if you don't want users executing those commands.
  4. Version mixing isn't possible on a single client. Although you can have Office 2003 and Outlook 2007 running on a client, for example, only one version of the DLL interacts with SharePoint. So, you won't be able to interact with SharePoint from multiple versions of Office applications on the same client.
  5. Excel Services does not require Excel to be installed on a server. Excel Services does require the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) in the Enterprise flavor. All of the other integration touchpoints I mentioned can be on Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) or any flavor of MOSS.

Have I missed any integration touchpoints? If so, let me know at dan.holme@intelliem.com.