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Microsoft Teams/Sharepoint Hell help please!

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 Phil West 14 Oct 2020

I'm hoping someone can help me before I become a luddite. I'm new to Microsoft Teams as of January this year and I absolutely hate it. In principle I think it's got merit however it just is not yet fit for purpose. Some of my problem may come from a lack of understanding so hopefully someone can put me on the right path.

Anyway, this is my problem and I'm hoping someone can help me please:

I've created an Excel workbook. It's stored in a shared area on Teams. Some days I can open it fine, other days it might take an hour or two of persistence and other days, like today, I can't get in it at all.

At the same time, I can open other Excel files in the same shared area, some of which I created, some not. Other people can open the file and it's fine for them.

It's not just this one file. It can happen to other files too. And Powerpoint, not just Excel, although Excel is the main problem as that's where I spend 90% of my time.

I navigate to the document and right click and select 'Open in app'

Then it either opens or it doesn't. If it doesn't, I get one of the following error messages:

"The document is open in another application. Please close it and try opening again"

"The app is waiting for the completion of an OLE action" - then:

"Sharepoint could not open the document for one of the following reasons - The path does not exist; the name is incorrect; It is open in another application, please close it and try re-opening it"

I've tried selecting 'open in web browser' followed by 'open in desktop app' and I've tried just clicking on it in Teams then doing the same but it either opens or I get those error messages. This happens every day. I can't use the document in Teams without opening it in Excel as the functionality is too limited.

Is this just me?

Is there something I can do to stop this happening?

Thanks in advance!

Phil

 Hardonicus 14 Oct 2020
In reply to Phil West:

It should be called Microsoft Tears judging by the amount of weeping it seems to induce for me and my colleagues.

 wintertree 14 Oct 2020
In reply to Phil West:

Normally when you start seeing OLE errors with a specific file, it's a sign that you need to cleanse the file and start again.  

The way I do this is by copying and pasting content - using "Edit > Paste Special" - "Paste as values" as much as possible - with the hope that whatever broken piece of data is lurking inside the spreadsheet file gets left behind.

Are you preparing last Thursday's surveillance report from PHE?  Is this why it's almost a week late?  Just wondering like...

 Wilderbeest 14 Oct 2020
In reply to Phil West:

You could try going to Excel > options > advanced and unchecking the DDE option 

see if this helps at all....

 gravy 14 Oct 2020
In reply to Phil West:

Yeah errm it is what it is and it's shit in many, many ways.  Don't use it to work from (as in don't store your files there) and don't store anything valuable (as in you need it or as in could be nicked) there.

The bit where it does video conferencing is generally ok and if you leave it at that you'll save you yourself a pile of heart-ache.

There a bugs galore across the product and some have been around for years but effort seems to go into making stupid features rather than creating something that works.  I've found that lots of the bugs turn out to be "design features" - example: there is a calendar, works as a calendar on a computer but on android it only shows from the present hour to the next 6 days.  If you want to know what happened last week or what happens in 10 days time you can't.  MS say it is a that way "by design" and won't fix it. The list of this stuff is practically endless.

With a bug fixing approach like this and design f*ckwittery like this you just have to give up and use what works (video calls for the most part) and not use the rest.

If you have the discretion to use something else then "slack" is way better.

 Doug 14 Oct 2020
In reply to Phil West:

One of the advantages of now being retired is that I no longer have to use sharepoint. But when I did, I found it less frustrating to download a spreadsheet, work on it with Excel on my PC and then reload the file when I'd finished if I'd made any changes which needed to be saved.

The point about paste as values is also useful, I occassionally had spreadsheets that became huge for no obvious reason & this got them back to a reasonable size

 ianstevens 14 Oct 2020
In reply to gravy:

Sounds like an Android issue tbh. Plays fine with my Mac and iPhone calendar...

 Eric9Points 14 Oct 2020
In reply to Doug:

I was about to suggest that.

Copy the file to your own hard drive and see if it works there.

The thing that bugs me about Teams us the lack of help or explanation that comes with it. It seems you've just got to learn by trial and (frequent) error.

 Phil West 14 Oct 2020
In reply to wintertree:

Yeah it's a big file but, and I was going to put this in the OP, not of the Track and Trace standard;)

It has a lot of formulas in and so I don't want to paste special. Also I'm the only person in the team who has problems with these workbooks but I'm also the heaviest user, editor.

Thanks anyway!

Phil

 Phil West 14 Oct 2020
In reply to Wilderbeest:

Already unchecked. Thanks anyway!

Phil

 Phil West 14 Oct 2020
In reply to gravy:

We have no option - our company has bought into this and we're a large organisation so it's staying, warts and all!

Phil

 Phil West 14 Oct 2020
In reply to ianstevens:

Yeah we're on windoze PCs as it's for work otherwise it would be Macs all round if it was my call!

Phil

 Phil West 14 Oct 2020
In reply to Eric9Points:

Yeah I can make copies and rename and they work fine but that defeats the object of having shared files which everyone can update at once. Except it seems, they can't!

Phil

 Phil West 14 Oct 2020
In reply to Phil West:

Oh and I'm in it now. It must have been that mug of soup over Bargain Hunt that fixed it! I tried again and it opened first time. Only been trying since 8am...

Until next time!

Thanks everyone!

Phil

 wintertree 14 Oct 2020
In reply to Phil West:

> It has a lot of formulas in and so I don't want to paste special. Also I'm the only person in the team who has problems with these workbooks but I'm also the heaviest user, editor.

Okay; one other suggestion is to save it as an "Excel 97-2004 Workbook (.xls)" which may re-format the internals enough to jettison the nugget of trouble, then save it back as a modern one.  Of course, as suddenly everyone now knows, if you've got more than 256 columns or 65,536 rows, that looses data...

Do you have an Office 365 online login you can use to use the online Excel editor?  Does that have the same problem?

The worse case situation I had with a document like this, I found the problem by "bisection" - copy the file in Explorer, delete half the content and save it.  Re-open - does the problem persists?  If so, try deleting the other half.  If that fixes it, repeatedly bisect the remaining half until you find the nugget of trouble.  This was with Word - with Excel, I'd do that at the level of tabs.  Then, when you find the "evil tab" (if that is the problem), move all the other tabs to a fresh file by right clicking on them.

I'm assuming the problem here is in the spreadsheet file itself and not Teams/Sharepoint.  That may not be a good assumption but the OLE error suggests it.   Edit:  At least it's not a DDE error...

Post edited at 13:43
 nniff 14 Oct 2020
In reply to Phil West:

We use it extensively - my work life is pretty much all Team now.

Main rules that I work to are:

Have a 'Team' and a 'Channel' within that which is the main repository for files, structured with folders as you would normally.

Have other Channels with a repository for files on which people will be working collaboratively, so that you can have chat and files in the same area.  Do not work on files 'emebedded' in Chats.  Copy a link from the file location if a pointer is needed.  keep your file structures nominally simple so that you know where things are.  Move things to the main repository once the chat element is obsolete.

Never work on a file directly in Teams - always in an app, and especially Word.  Break the fingers of anyone who does not follow this rule.

Always make sure that Autosave is on.  Break the fingers etc

If moving/copying files, open in Sharepoint to do that.  It's generally easier (i.e. some things are not possible in Teams)

Don't assume that the problem is caused by you - chances are it's caused by someone breaking the rules.  Once you lose version control (i.e. there is more than one live file with nominally the same content in existence) then life gets difficult.

Post edited at 13:40
 Phil West 14 Oct 2020
In reply to wintertree:

Thanks, the only thing is that I'm the only person who has this problem and it's not just with one workbook although there are two workbooks I virtually live in and it happens to both, I just never know when it's going to happen. One of the documents gets saved 'as' with a different name each month and the old one password protected and archived.

I don't have an Office 360 account as I was trying to keep things simple(!) as I'm not sure I've got Teams working properly yet...

Phil

 Phil West 14 Oct 2020
In reply to nniff:

Thanks, some great points there. That's the stuff that no-one tells you when you start with all this isn't it!

All our files are in 'Team name'/General/Files

and then saved in various folders there.

I always work in them there as most functionality is missing when you try and open it in Teams so I always open it in the app itself, however I can't guarantee that the other 15 people who have access do that. I will be checking...

Autosave is always on.

I noticed early on that moving more than one document isn't possible in Teams and to go to Sharepoint. As I don't need to do any bulk moves anymore, I do tend to move within Teams as I'm already in it and don't need to open a browser for Sharepoint.

I checked with most of the team that I was accessing the docs the same way as they were and it did seem to be the case - I thought I was opening things wrong at first but ten months down the line I don't think so!

Thanks again,

Phil

In reply to Phil West:

> Thanks, the only thing is that I'm the only person who has this problem

Sounds like a PEBKAC error ;-)

 wintertree 14 Oct 2020
In reply to Phil West:

> One of the documents gets saved 'as' with a different name each month

“Save as” with the default format likely makes a copy of the document file including any broken, hidden state.  If you change the format to .XLS or .ODS when doing a “Save as” forces some sort of parsing and internal conversion of the file that hopefully leaves the gremlin behind.

Or it’s a teams issue not an excel issue and I’m barking up the wrong tree...  Still an OLE error strongly hints at an error inside the file itself...

 Phil West 15 Oct 2020
In reply to Toerag:

Pretty much what I said it might be in my OP. Thanks for confirming. Now what do I need to do to stop making the same mistake?

Thanks in advance!

Phil

 Phil West 15 Oct 2020
In reply to wintertree:

Cheers, I'll try that.

Phil

 Doug 15 Oct 2020
In reply to wintertree:

on occassion I(ve found that simply opening an Excel file in Libreoffice & saving as xlsx was enought to clean up problems in the original file

 tom r 15 Oct 2020
In reply to Phil West:

Teams is pretty good now compared to what it was about 3 years ago when it was awful. My main annoyances is the lazy loading when scrolling up a chat window to find a bit of information from a few weeks ago. Also copy and pasting text from a chat can be frustrating.

Post edited at 12:54
 wintertree 15 Oct 2020
In reply to tom r:

> Teams is pretty good now compared to what it was about 3 years ago when it was awful

Funny story.  1.5 years ago... Locking student edits out of a OneNote Class Notebook through the Teams interface didn't just lock them out, it deleted them all despite what the documentation said would happen.

Time pressure - students were due to present from the locked Notebook in 10 minutes.  The interface to add them was a list of a few hundred names that I had to scroll through.  Only the scroll bar was broken.  My web browser would only zoom out so far, and I couldn't get to the last name I the list to click on it.  Download Firefox, edit the parameters to set maximum zoom out to 10%, rotate my monitor (in settings, not physically as not possible) to portrait mode and make the zoomed out list the full size of the screen.  Now I can click on the names - but they're not readable they're so tiny and pixelated.  So I'm looking at a second list to recognise the pattern of widths of names around the one I need to click on in order to click on the correct one.

There's always a solution...

In reply to tom r:

> Teams is pretty good now compared to what it was about 3 years ago when it was awful. 

Then I hate to think what it was like back then! Last thing my previous boss did before he quit the company was put me on the steering committee for introducing Microsoft365 (formerly Office365).  There are some useful features in amongst the dross but Teams / Sharepoint, apart from the meeting facilty, is not fit for commercial use*. The emperor may not be totally naked, but there's a lot of embarrassing stuff hanging out.

* Yes, it's my opinion and I am too old for this sh*t!

 fenski 15 Oct 2020
In reply to Phil West:

Without reading all the mails above, if you want to make life easy, sync your sharepoint drives with windows explorer, and then you can just work in windows explorer. Everything automatically syncs with Sharepoint/Teams and you dont have to open documents from the web browser.

Just like having the files on your laptop

In reply to fenski:

> Just like having the files on your laptop

Fails because they are duplicated on your laptop, and if you are dealing with gigabytes of data you will soon run out of space on 256 GB SSD. Also you have to live with a frustrating performance hit in Windows Explorer. 

 Chris H 16 Oct 2020
In reply to Phil West:

I failed to log out of a teams call today and then proceeded to tell my other half that i had done fck all work today and that my employers were all cnts. Hopefully the other participants had all logged out ...

 Ken Applegate 17 Oct 2020
In reply to Phil West:

Have you tried asking Microsoft directly for help? I've found them to be very helpful and they often respond to an enquiry within minutes.


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