OWAS and SharePoint 2013 – Overview and Installation

Introduction

In this tutorial we will explore how to install OWAS 2013 (Office Web Apps Server) and how to configure SharePoint Server 2013 to use it.

Office Web App Server is a large step forward for user experience and allows for displaying of files contained in SharePoint natively within a browser. One of SharePoint’s primary uses is document management, so it is typical for users to deal with quite a number of documents on a SharePoint site. In days gone by documents would have to be first downloaded from SharePoint, and then opened in their native client software. This did not provide a for a very seamless user experience.

SharePoint with the addition of Office Web Apps Server now allows users to open documents on the fly within their web browser. Additionally users can have a preview of the file when they hover over the file. This is an excellent feature out-of-the-box, however there are still considerations that should be made by administrators to certain configurations to enhance user experience. Let’s take a look at some of those options.

What do we get with it?

OWAS 2013 is responsible for the document preview and edit functionality in SharePoint 2013. Besides SharePoint 2013, OWAS 2013 can be additionally leveraged by Lync 2013 and Exchange 2013.

About OWAS 2013

OWAS 2013 cannot be installed as a service on SharePoint Server 2013; instead it should be installed on a standalone server. No other server products (including SQL, SharePoint, Lync, Exchange, and Office) should be installed on the same server as OWAS 2013, which can only be installed on Windows Server 2012 and 2008 R2 (2008 by itself is not supported).

Steps to Get Started with OWAS and SharePoint Server

  1. Download and install OWAS
  2. Setup OWAS
  3. Configure OWAS for SharePoint Server

Download and Install OWAS

Click the link below and follow Microsoft’s included instructions. This step is relatively straightforward and simple.

Setup OWAS

The following PowerShell cmdlets will help you create an Office Web Apps farm once the OWAS Server has been installed. Use either of the following two cmdlets. Use the second HTTPS cmdlet if you want additional secure HTTP support.

HTTP Only

HTTPS Support

  • Next, before you proceed to SharePoint Server verify that OWAS is working with the following URL

Configure OWAS for SharePoint Server

Run the SharePoint Management shell as administrator. Enter the following commands.

Set WOPI binding with OWAS

Set the SPWOPIZone to internal-http

AllowOAuthOverHttp

SharePoint document preview should now be active and editing of documents in browser should be possible. Let us know in the comments below how this tutorial went for you, and any other feedback you may have!

References

Plan OWAS 2013

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219435(v=office.15)

Configure OWAS for SharePoint 2013

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff431687(v=office.15).aspx

http://blogs.technet.com/b/speschka/archive/2012/07/23/configuring-office-web-apps-in-sharepoint-2013.aspx

Deploy OWAS 2013

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219455(v=office.15).aspx

December 1, 2014