Access sharepoint templates from Office client application

Recently I was asked to look into the Connect to Office (Add to SharePoint Sites) and Publish Links to Office Client Applications features in SharePoint 2010. There seems to be some confusion between their relationship. So, I decided to clear the confusion and to blog about it to help people understand the differences between them. Here are my findings:

First, let's connect to Office.

To Connect to Office follow these steps:
  1. Navigate to the site containing the library for which you want to connect to Office.
  2. Click Site Actions, click View All Site Content, and then in the Libraries section, click the name of the library.
  3. On the Library tab, in the Connect & Export group, click the arrow next to Connect to Office.
  4. Click Add to SharePoint sites. A “Library added” message is displayed, indicating that the current SharePoint site has been added to the shortcut bar of the Office Save As and Open dialog boxes.
SharePoint 2010 also allows farm administrators to Publish Links to Office Client Applications so that certain users can easily save Office client files in SharePoint. This means a central place where administration can add links for certain users to be able to save Office client files in SharePoint.

To Publish Links to Office Client Applications follow these steps:
  1. On the home page of the SharePoint Central Administration Web site, in the Application Management section, click Manage service applications.
  2. Click in the Type column of the User Profile Service application to select the row.
  3. In the Operations group of the ribbon, click Manage
  4. On the Manage Profile Service page, in the My Site Settings section, click Publish Links to Office Client Applications.
  5. On the Published links to Office client applications page, click New Link.
  6. On the Add Published Link page, in the URL box, type the URL of the location where users will be able to publish links.
  7. In the Description box, type a brief name for this location.
    This is the name that will appear in the Favorite Links section of the Save As dialog box.
  8. Select the type of the location that this link represents. For example, if the target location is a SharePoint document library, select Document Library.
  9. In the Target Audiences box, either type the name of the user or group to add or using the address book to find a user or group to add. 
The figure below shows the differences between these two features (click on a figure to enlarge).

The only common functionality between these two features is the Open and Save to SharePoint from Office clients. Here is a table showing the differences between these features:


Publish Links to Office Client Applications
Connect to Office
Open and Save to SharePoint from Office clients
X
X
Accessing SharePoint Templates from Word 2010
X
Add link to My Links Web Part
X
Central place to manage users links
X

Connect to Office feature works with an ActiveX control and the stssync:// protocol and stores registry values in the following locations:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common\Spotlight\Content
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common\Spotlight\Content\Havivi_-_Public_Documents\WD1033\FeaturedTemplates\1\1]
"title"="Document"
"cached_source"="C:\\Users\\Alon Havivi\\AppData\\Local\\Microsoft\\Office\\Spotlight\\14\\Havivi_-_Public_Documents\\WD1033\\FeaturedTemplates\\1\\1\\template.dotx"
"last_modified"="Fri, 06 Jan 2012 16:21:00 GMT"
"source"="http://win2008moss2010/sites/Havivi/Public Documents/Forms/template.dotx"
"savelocation"="http://win2008moss2010/sites/Havivi/Public Documents"

Every time you open a Word document, Office 2010 checks whether any new or modified templates are available using these registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common\Spotlight\Providers
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common\Spotlight\Providers
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common\Spotlight\Providers\Havivi_-_Public_Documents]

"SharepointProvider"=dword:00000001
"ServiceUrl"="http://win2008moss2010:80/sites/Havivi/_layouts/GetSpotlight.ashx?ListName=Public%20Documents"
"DisplayName"="Havivi - Public Documents"
"LastUpdateTimestamp"=hex:92,e9,0a,4f,00,00,00,00

Publish Links to Office Client Applications stores registry values in the following locations:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common\Server Links\Published\My Site\

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common\Server Links\Published\My Site\Public Documents]
"LinkType"=hex(b):00,00,00,02,00,00,00,00
"IsMember"=dword:00000000
"IsPublished"=dword:00000001
"Url"="http://win2008moss2010:80/sites/Havivi/Public%20Documents/"





Caution: Incorrectly editing the registry might severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on the computer.

Issues regarding these fetures can occur for one or more of the following reasons:
  • The user is running a 64-bit version of Internet Explorer.
  • The ActiveX control necessary for Connect to Office is not installed or is not running in the browser.
  • Microsoft Office is not installed on the client computer.
  • The version of Office that is installed is earlier than Office 2010 on the client computer
  • Security settings in Internet Explorer prevent ActiveX controls from running.
  • The browser does not support ActiveX.

More information about these features you can find here:

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