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jstaten Mar 18, 2010 12:03 AM
Is it possible to edit msoffice documents online? Without having to download, edit, then upload again after the changes?
Replies (15)
romasha Mar 18, 2010 01:39 PM
Hello jstaten,

No. It is not possible to view and edit MS Office documents online in If you would like to work collaboratively on a document, you could make a wiki page and invite collaborators to contribute. This way the entire history of the edits to the wiki are captured and versioned in and you can choose to revert back to any version at any time. The comments below the wiki, help in capturing feedback from reviewers and contributors and act as useful pieces of knowledge that can be re-used at a later date.

Here is a link to a presentation that describes the advantages of using collaborative tools like wikis (slide 47-50) :[…]tion-and-knowledge-exchange

However, if you would still prefer to use word documents, you can easily access them in your file explorer (Windows, linux or mac) by using the WebDAV functionaily in With WebDAV, you can have contents of any / all spaces of on your computer and you can open the files like Word documents, Excel sheets, Photoshop files etc., using the native applications. To do this, simply, click on the WebDAV support button in the left bar and follow instructions.

Hope this helps.
jstaten Mar 19, 2010 12:16 AM
Thanks. Too bad. I see that it can be done in regular Plone. It would seem fairly easy to add to This is the one feature that would discourage adoption here...

Here's how plone suggests that you do it:[…]king-in-firefox-on-mac-os-x
romasha Mar 19, 2010 11:04 AM
Hello jstaten,

Yes, the external editor feature of Plone works with just as well. Just that its not without glitches and we are still to test it deeper.

It is being constantly developed and keeps improving. You can try it out with from the Site Settings interface and see how it works. I'd really appreciate if you could also share your findings with the community.

dhiraj Mar 19, 2010 10:23 AM
Ah, you meant the External Editor ! :)

Yes, we've tested that and it works, just that we found the External Editor to be still at a not mature enough stage to include it in core offerings. It works fine, but your mileage may vary, especially with regard to how each individual app on your desktop performs.

Just install the client and try it out. And don't forget to tell us how it goes! :)
jstaten Mar 19, 2010 05:39 PM
I would love to test it out. As I would prefer to use over plone.

Can you tell me where to download the External Editor from? Perhaps I'm searhing for it with the wrong keywords. It seems a bit elusive.

I have enabled the site and some users to allow external editing, I just need the client now to finish it off.

Thanks :)
jstaten Mar 22, 2010 04:52 PM
Thank you. I appreciate your response. I am hoping that I can get this external editor working so that I can approval to purchase for our organization.

 I already had that client installed on workstations to work with Plone (which works fine) so, I guess that is not the problem that I am having. So, this is where I am at. I have word and excel docs uploaded into the home site. I click on these documents, and click the "External Edit" link in the bottom right area of the screen. Instead of seeing the options for download or open, I am seeing a screen stating: "We're sorry, but there seems to be an error..." and then: "Since you are a site administrator, you can see the full error message". I click on the link and it takes me to a page stating:

  Site Error Log at /error_log
Exception traceback

Time 2010/03/22 08:53:15.146 GMT-6
User Name (User Id) jstaten (jstaten)
Request URL
Exception Type AttributeError
Exception Value POs.xls.zem

Traceback (innermost last):

    * Module ZPublisher.Publish, line 119, in publish
    * Module ZPublisher.mapply, line 88, in mapply
    * Module ZPublisher.Publish, line 42, in call_object
    * Module Products.ExternalEditor.ExternalEditor, line 110, in index_html

AttributeError: POs.xls.zem

Display traceback as text

-C ''
__ac 'KNG7UfCNB9nmWjUhnkMZYTaQ8pUganN0YXRlbg=='
maxwidth '100%25'
lazy items
SESSION <bound method SessionDataManager.getSessionData of <SessionDataManager at /session_data_manager>>
TraversalRequestNameStack []
AUTHENTICATED_USER <PloneUser 'jstaten'>
URL ''
VirtualRootPhysicalPath ('', 'cynin')
PUBLISHED <bound method ExternalEditor.index_html of <Products.ExternalEditor.ExternalEditor.ExternalEditor object at 0x9a2372c>>
LANGUAGE_TOOL <Products.PloneLanguageTool.LanguageTool.LanguageBinding instance at 0x10ffd94c>
AUTHENTICATION_PATH 'cynin/virtual_hosting//'
__ac 'KNG7UfCNB9nmWjUhnkMZYTaQ8pUganN0YXRlbg=='
target 'POs.xls.zem'
VIRTUAL_URL_PARTS ('', 'home/externalEdit_/POs.xls.zem')
HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE 'en-us,en;q=0.5'
SERVER_SOFTWARE 'Zope/(Zope 2.10.9-final, python 2.4.6, linux2) ZServer/1.1 Plone/3.3.2'
PATH_INFO '/VirtualHostBase/http/'
channel.creation_time 1269269595
HTTP_ACCEPT_CHARSET 'ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7'
HTTP_USER_AGENT 'Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-US; rv:1.9.2) Gecko/20100115 Firefox/3.6 (.NET CLR 3.5.30729)'
HTTP_COOKIE 'maxwidth=100%25; I18N_LANGUAGE="en"; __ac="KNG7UfCNB9nmWjUhnkMZYTaQ8pUganN0YXRlbg=="'
HTTP_VIA '1.1 cynin'
PATH_TRANSLATED '/VirtualHostBase/http/'
HTTP_HOST 'localhost:8080'
HTTP_ACCEPT 'text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8'

Are you able to determine what the issue is from this? I sure would like to adopt as it is much better than plone.

dhiraj Mar 22, 2010 07:05 PM
Hmm... this seems to be a problem in the External Editor module, in the server side. Here's a workaround, for you to test the external editor out:

When the above error occurs, your browser will be at this '' or similar.

In this, from the browser's address bar, just remove the .zem at the end and hit the url, and follow through normally to open it with Zope External Editor from your browser. We tested the editing with Word 2007 and it seemed to be working fine.

We're still investigating into why the .zem extension is not working and will update again.
jstaten Mar 22, 2010 07:16 PM
Success! It works fine if when I get to the error page that I remove the .xls extension. Works just as in plone. If we can figure out how to fix the .zem extension or to not include the .zem extension, then everything should be fine.

I tried editing the zopeedit.ini file to add:

editor = "\program files\Microsoft Office\Office12\excel.exe"

But this did not seem to work. Probably didn't like the .xsl.zem...

We're really close here. If you can get me the rest of the way, then we're there!

jstaten Mar 22, 2010 07:38 PM
correction. I mean when I remove the .zem extension it works great.

Thanks for all of your help.
dhiraj Mar 23, 2010 10:43 AM
I think this issue is related to this ticket on (you might need to have a user account there to see this url)

This seems to have been fixed in Plone 3.3.3 and we're currently based on Plone 3.3.2 - this is the probable reason for the problem's occurrence in If you can wait for us to test out the changes required for migrating to the newer Plone versions (current Plone stable is 3.3.5 - then this problem will basically fix itself soon.

If you need to fix this *immediately*, another thing you can try is:
0. Do NOT apply below *directly* on your main system. First create a test system on a different machine or use VirtualBox, etc.. Always take a backup of Data.fs file before applying below on your production system.
1. Download the Plone 3.3.3 versions.cfg (from ) and replace the one in your buildout folder (on CE ISO CD install, this is at /home/cynin/buildout), and
2. Then re-buildout (./bin/buildout -c user.cfg)
3. Migrate Plone (http://<CYNINHOST OR IP>:8080/manage -> portal_migration
4. Then reinstall ubify.policy from portal_quickinstaller and your external editor should be working fine from this point on.

Do *NOT* install a versions.cfg later than 3.3.3 - we have seen issues with setting of Status Messages and a few other problems in later versions of Plone. We are fixing these issues and we hope to have next release version with latest Plone stable release included.

Another point to note, we've not tested the External Editor with Plone 3.3.3 ourselves *yet*, I just saw this and wanted to update everyone watching this thread first.
jstaten Mar 23, 2010 08:12 PM
Thanks for the information. I will anxiously await Your next version of built on 3.3.3

jstaten Mar 27, 2010 12:53 AM
Can you tell me if there is a location where I can see the schedule for upcoming releases? Thanks.
jstaten Mar 30, 2010 05:30 PM

I am not sure that this is the proper forum for this question, but I'm not sure how else to get presales questions. First, thank you for your help already. I anticipate that I will need 3.3.3 going with a commercial purchase so that we could use online editing. I am also impressed with the answers that I received so quickly while I have been test driving your system. Because of this and the fact that the product is easier for me as an administrator, I have been trying to sell and defend your product at our organization for adoption.

However, I could sure use your help with a few items that are bothering some of my superiors. These appear to be the last items of resistance. Can you help me with these? If not, I suspect that there are consultants out there that you may be able to recommend for us.
1. The most visible thing getting my superiors is that they all have wide screens and when viewing in their browsers is displaying in the middle of the browser with these very wide empty gutters on both sides. Is it possible to change to consume the entire browser width?

2. Is it possible to group documents in the file repository using folders? If not possible through the browser gui, can it be done using WebDAV and creating folders in there so that they appear in the browser?

3. Is it possible to fan out the sub-menu items from the application menu so that those show across the top instead of dashboard, activity stream, application views, and manage space, my superiors would like to see instead headers of blog, bookmarks, discussions, calendar, files, wiki. Is it possible to edit the menuing? Would I need to hire a consultant for this?

4. The new button on the top is very useful for the first time you arrive in and are trying it out for the first time. However, we are hoping to move it or add other "new" buttons elsewhere on the screen.

For example, in the file repository, it would be awesome to have a new button right there above the file listing where the eye is already looking. I'm finding some trouble in getting people to hit the new button 3 inches up and 2 inches to the left. Can I add or move the new buttons elsewhere? Is this possible? Consultant again?

5. I like being able to modify the default view of a site so that I can make it be a wiki, or a discussion, etc... Do you have some suggestions for me in modifying the dashboard or creating my own so that includes the calendar view related to the site and a wiki or perhaps the most recent discussions, etc...

I appreciate you help and really hope to convince my superiors. Please let me know if I need to hire a dev team for some of this and any suggestions that you have in finding one.