I am using Sharepoint 2010 and when users click on an .xlsx document in a document library it says the following:

"The workbook cannot be opened because it contains the following features that are not supported by Excel in the browser..."

"Would you like to try and open this file in Excel"

It is clear to me from the error that the browser wont support certain features of Excel in the browser. Question is, how to best deal with this to make a nice experience for the user?

The only way I can think of is to have a special rule to tell all Excel documents to open in Excel as opposed to the browser. Does anybody know how to do this or have any better approaches?

4 Answers 4


You can configure the default-open behavior of browser enabled documents in the list settings. See http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee837425(v=office.14).aspx

If you don't want miss excel service feature, you might also think of providing a dedicated page where a web part displays your library and another web part (for example a content editor) explaining to the users the excel services limitations.

Limitations are clearly documented by MS http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff595319%28v=office.14%29.aspx.


The issue is not being addressed. The problem is that only xlsx files being opened from sharepoint 2010 are opening in the browser regardless of the states of the Open Documents in the Client Applications by Default.

The problem is that there is a lingering association to xlsx files either in the office install or in windows that is not performing as it should.

What causes only xlsx files to still openin in the browser when all over ther excel file types open in the desktop client?

The answere is not activating open documents in the client application by default, because that is already set.

Somewhere this is a setting and microsoft doesnt know what it is.

  • 1
    The behavior you describe can happen when there are problems on the client side... specifically, when the add-ons for opening Office documents are not loaded in Internet Explorer. This can happen when using 64-bit version of IE (which does not have the add-ons), and otherwise can usually be fixed by re-installing Office.
    – Thriggle
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 0:00
  • I checked to make sure I was not using 64 bit IE. I may attempt to reinstall office, as i only use microsoft products when a gun is pointed to my face.
    – a w
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 14:15
  • To the last post: you dont have to acutally re-install office- just "repair" would do it also. The classhandlers for sharepoint for your browser should be working fine after that.
    – user41959
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 11:58

You can define in the library settings whether or not to open documents in the browser or the client application. The default is set on the server, but you can overrule that at the library level. Since Excel Services cannot open workbooks with data validation, graphic object or VBA, many Excel files with basic functionality simply won't load in the browser.


This error occurs when you have slicers in the frame boxes provided automatically by Excel Pivot Table, when creating a chart or table. Click the chart, Format, Selection Pane, and remove all rectangles, eg. Rectangle 1, 2 ect. Ignore those that excel creates right away after you delete the first. When you have a table, not a chart, click the drawing box around the slicers, and find Selection Pane there.

This link explains this in detail: http://powerpivotgeek.com/2010/05/21/unsupported-features-warning-message-from-xcel-services/

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