November, 2010

  • Jie Li's GeekWorld

    SharePoint 2010 on a Mac with Office for Mac 2011


    It’s quite interesting that we have talked so much on the improved browser support in SharePoint 2010. But if you are a Mac user, you can rarely see a comprehensive list of what you can do and what you cannot with clear explanation.  If you search on the internet, you can find Dux has a very good video here: He went through nearly all the features with Office for Mac 2008. If you are a Mac user/admin and need to use SharePoint, it’s worth watching. Virtualization would be another way to get around of the limitations. The official documentation for browser support is here: Scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can find the limitations for Safari and Firefox on a non-Windows system (most of the time that means Mac).

    However, some of the information there may not be accurate…or just confusing. So I will try to make it clear in this post…

    Here’re some questions I collected during the past months, and the answers to them are based on my experience, not official support statement:

    Can Mac users use SharePoint 2010?

    Of course yes. Both Safari and Firefox are supported browsers of SharePoint 2010 because of the introduce of XHTML 1.0 in the product. The limitations can be found in However, there’re some mistakes in the language used in the article so please read on.

    Can SharePoint Admins manage SharePoint 2010 with Safari?

    Central Admin web site can be accessed by Safari and Firefox without any problem. If you do have issues with OOTB Central Admin site, please check settings on your Mac and network – something is wrong there, not SharePoint. There’s no ActiveX controls to block you from doing any admin tasks. Of course, there’s no Windows PowerShell on a Mac so you cannot do the Windows PowerShell Remoting tasks, but that cannot stop you from using Remote Desktop for Mac to connect to those SharePoint Servers.

    Can I directly open Office file from SharePoint and save it back?

    Yes, although you will not have Read Only/Edit option to choose from before you open it in Office for Mac. The file will be opened as Read Only by default, and you can modify the file by click Edit. Then you can also save it back to the original location.

    Can I upload file to SharePoint using Mac?

    Certainly you can. In the TechNet article there’s an item like this:

    File upload and copy: Requires an ActiveX control that is not support on this platform.

    But this is invalid. File upload does not require an ActiveX control. What you cannot achieve is to use the Upload Multiple Documents options, see below.

    Can I upload multiple files to SharePoint using Mac?

    On the browser, no. Unless you use virtualization solutions with Internet Explorer, the Upload Multiple Documents menu item is disabled. The reason behind this is the feature requires STS Upld ActiveX control. However, you can use Microsoft Document Connection to upload multiple files without any problem.


    Microsoft Document Connection, which was introduced in Office for Mac 2008 SP2, now is also a part of the Office for Mac 2011 installation. It can connect to both SharePoint sites and SkyDrive. Multiple file upload is simple with this application – just drag and drop them into the application then everything is done. The application itself can be seen as a very lite version of SharePoint Workspace, although it doesn’t do much beyond upload, read, edit, check in/check out. You cannot delete a file, create a new folder, or edit its metadata properties in this app, and to get the latest update you need to hit Refresh button.

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    Can I have Explorer View in Mac?

    No. Since how Windows/Mac plus all the browsers has different ways to handle this protocol, it is nearly impossible to have a standard way to implement it to work across different platform with native Explorer/Finder support.  Microsoft Document Connection is a good client to replace this feature.

    How do I use Infopath/Onenote/Access/Visio, etc…on SharePoint with Mac?

    Since these applications are not existing in current Office for Mac 2011 release, the only way to use them on Mac is to use virtualization. Alternatively, you can use Infopath Service, Onenote, Access Service and Visio Service on SharePoint with Safari/Firefox on Mac. Office Web Apps also allows you to directly view/edit Office files without even install Office for Mac on the machine. (You need to have a Office client license to use Office Web Apps on SharePoint)

    Does Media Web Part work on Mac?

    Yes. You need to install SilverLight on Mac before it’s functional.

    silverlight silverlightvideo

    Can I insert HTML5 video content to SharePoint so it can work with Mac?

    Yes. Upload the video to any document library and reference it in your video tag. Please note H.264 content will not work with Firefox since they didn’t implement the support. See

    Here’s an example: The upper right video is from Media Web Part, while the lower left one is built with Content Editor Web Part with HTML5 <video> tag.

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    Since I have already installed Office for Mac 2011, can I use the features on the Ribbon such as Connect to Outlook, Excel, SharePoint Workspace, etc?

    Unfortunately no. These features uses ActiveX controls except Export to Excel. And for Export to Excel feature, since Excel for Mac does not have a good support for Web Query(.iqy), it is really hard to make it to work. I may need to dig into the details, but it seems like when you run saved query Excel failed to authenticate with SharePoint.  Outlook for Mac does not have the ability to connect to SharePoint.

    Can I edit SharePoint pages using Safari? I cannot do it with iPad or iPhone!

    Yes you can – This is fully supported. The mobile version of Safari is a trimmed down version of Safari -- it does not support contentEditable property so it cannot be used with any rich text editing application. For details see

    Is there presence support if I installed Communicator for Mac?

    No. The presence information (green/yellow/red) is shown through an ActiveX control installed by Communicator(Lync) if you use Windows. But you can have presence indicator when you use Office clients such as Outlook for Mac.


    I’ll try to update this post when I have more information…


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