Solution: PerformancePoint Dashboard Designer “Cannot download the application…missing required files”

I’m late to the game trying out PerformancePoint Services, a has-been dashboard and KPI service for SharePoint server that still exists in production for many on-prem farms running 2013/2016/2019. I’d venture to guess most would prefer the more modern and flexible Power BI (either Report Server or the online service via O365) to PerformancePoint Services but, alas, change takes time.

So, anyway, when I tried to open Dashboard Designer on a PerformancePoint list for the first time, I received the following error.

Cannot Start Application

Cannot download the application. The application is missing required files. Contact application vendor for assistance.

I had tried to open Dashboard Designer using Chrome and CrEdge (Chromium Edge) without luck. The downloaded designer.application file just gave me the issue seen above.

In the end I found, as with most dated tools and functions in the SharePoint world, some things only work in Internet Explorer (IE). This particular button, however, worked in both IE and Edge!

So copy your list’s URL, move over to Edge or IE, and try to launch it again from there. This worked well for me. Good luck!

Solution: Column validation error “Sorry, something went wrong. The formula cannot refer to another column.” when referencing today’s date

If you’re trying to create column validation using [Today], you’ll likely get the following error:

Sorry, something went wrong. The formula cannot refer to another column. Check the formula for spelling mistakes or update the formula to reference only this column.

Commit this to memory: when [Today] or Today fails in a formula, try Today().

While [Today] may work in list view filters, it’s not the correct format for column validation or calculated columns. You can, instead, use Today() for column validation.

For example, you could use EndDate<=Today() to require users to enter an EndDate that is on or before the date of submission.

Note that if you’re creating column validation through the modern UI, you’ll need to start validation formulas with an equals sign.

Possible solution: “Sorry, something went wrong. The file is locked for exclusive use by…”

I recently ran into the following error when someone tried to edit a shared Excel file from OneDrive (we’re running SharePoint Server 2016).

“Sorry, something went wrong. The file {address} is locked for exclusive use by {name}.”

Troubleshooting

The user in question, who had it “locked for use,” had the file open in Excel (client, not online) when their computer unexpectedly shut down. This locked others from editing the file. The first few things you should try (stop if one of the steps fixes the issue):

  1. If the user still has it open, have them save and close out. If it really was checked out, check it in with their account.
  2. Make sure the user who has it locked has closed all office apps (Task Manager is a good way to see if anything is running in the background)
  3. Have that user restart their machine used to edit the file in the first place for good measure
  4. You can try waiting a day to see if the lock lifts overnight or after a few hours.

What worked for me

Now that you’ve confirmed the individual who had the file locked can’t really have it open or locked, you can try the solution that worked for me. At the bottom of this post, I’ve listed more ideas I tried that might work for you.

  1. Open the user’s OneDrive in SharePoint Designer (the address may resemble https://mysites.COMPANY.org/personal/USERNAME)
  2. Navigate via “All Files” via the left nav to the file in question. It probably has a padlock icon on it.
  3. Right-click the file name and select “Edit File in Advanced Mode”
  4. Save the file in SharePoint Designer.

I can’t explain why this worked, I know it’s completely illogical, but it worked.

Here’s a thread on SharePoint’s user voice regarding this error.

What might work for you

Here are some things you can try that were not successful for me (but might work for you):

  • I tried copying the file and deleting the original but could not delete it (in browser, PowerShell, or SharePoint Designer)
  • I tried this PowerShell solution and it told me who had it “checked out,” and when it would expire which was helpful, but it was unable to release the lock
    • P.S. I waited for the expiration, but it renewed itself
  • I tried checking it in via browser and SharePoint Designer (because it appeared checked out) but got a message saying it wasn’t
    Click to enlarge
  • From the owner’s OneDrive (where the file was stored/created) I disabled check-out requirement via Site Contents –> Library Settings –> Versioning settings
    Click to enlarge

How to increase lookup column limit in SharePoint lists

Lookup columns include workflow status columns, traditional lookup columns to other lists, and person/group columns. This includes the two default people fields “Created by” and “Modified by”. If your list has more than 12 of these, you may receive the following error:

“This view cannot be displayed because the number of lookup and workflow status columns it contains exceeds the threshold (12) enforced by the administrator.”

list view threshold.PNGIn SharePoint Online, you’re not able to increase the lookup column limit. Lists created prior to the June 2013 CU update are capped at 8 lookup columns, while those afterward are allowed 12.

However, on-premise SharePoint (server) allows you to change this limit to your heart’s content.

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Solution: “The user who attempted to complete the task is not the user to whom the task is assigned”

You might run into this issue when running task processes in SharePoint Designer.

“Reason: The user who attempted to complete the task is not the user to whom the task is assigned.”

Assuming the person should actually be able to complete the task, check the following:

  • Make sure the user who was assigned the task does not have multiple accounts. If they do, the task could have been assigned to the account that the person isn’t currently signed in as when attempting to complete the task.
  • If it’s someone completing the task on behalf of another, make sure that individual is either:
    • A Site Owner (site settings, site permissions, people and groups, site owners) or
    • Task process owner (in SPD 2010 workflows, go to the properties for the task step and set task process owner. Click OK and republish workflow.):

Solution: “We’re sorry. We can’t open {file} because we found a problem with its contents.”

When using SharePoint Designer workflows to automatically create documents from a template you might run into an error message:

“We’re sorry. We can’t open {file} because we found a problem with its contents.”

document contents error

Or if you’re just opening it within the browser web app instead of the Word client, you might have seen:

“Sorry, Word Online ran into a problem opening this document. To view this document, please open it in Microsoft Word.”

But if you do open it in Word you then get the first error message. Luckily it’s a simple fix.

Continue reading “Solution: “We’re sorry. We can’t open {file} because we found a problem with its contents.””

How to resolve SharePoint list view threshold error: “The view cannot be displayed because it exceeds the list view threshold…”

SharePoint lists have a default limit of 5,000 items per view. But lists can contain 30 million items (just not all available in one view). Since you’re reading this, perhaps you’ve already learned this from an error message such as:

The view cannot be displayed because it exceeds the list view threshold (5000 items) enforced by the administrator.

To view items, try selecting another view or creating a new view. If you do not have sufficient permissions to create views for this list, ask your administrator to modify the view so that it conforms to the list view threshold.

First of all, when in doubt, refer to the documentation provided by Microsoft. Read it carefully to understand limitations in your specific environment, explanations of various actions and rules and the permissions required to correct the issue.

Here’s my summarized version:

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OneDrive and SharePoint sync issue: “You now have two copies of a file; we couldn’t merge the changes in [filename]” appended with computer name

couldntmergechanges

If you’ve seen a similar notification, I empathize with your pain. I don’t know that there is one solution to this problem, either, so I’m going to share a number of them we’ve used and hope that one (or all) of them will help you.

Basically a file is added through file explorer (a cloud library in OneDrive or SharePoint being synced locally to your computer) but then after a moment a notification appears which says “You now have two copies of a file; we couldn’t merge the changes in [filename]” and then the filename is appended with your computer name again and again until eventually the filename is too long and is harder to delete. Let’s not get to that point.

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Sending emails via SharePoint Designer workflow to external recipients using Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. addresses

notbevalid

SharePoint Designer 2013 workflows verify email recipients as valid SharePoint users. If they’re not on your site they likely won’t be able to receive an email from a 2013 workflow depending on your setup. Even though the workflow publishes, the recipient could be removed before the message is sent. You may also get this error message when creating the workflow:

“The selected user(s) may not be valid on the site this workflow is published on. If a recipient is not a valid SharePoint user, he or she will not receive workflow emails.”

More often than not, this will be triggered by any yahoo, gmail, hotmail, etc. address but can also sometimes occur with addresses within your organization if they’re not in your AD and properly part of your site. I recommend copying yourself in testing to be sure the message is sent to external users if you think you’ve successfully made external addresses valid SharePoint users.

But to be certain you get around this 2013 obstacle, simply use a 2010 workflow. SharePoint Designer workflows built on the 2010 platform do not verify addresses. And if you’ve already built a complicated masterpiece in 2013, no need to fret. You can always create a 2010 workflow just for the email and start it within your 2013 workflow.

Update 9/1/17: If that still doesn’t work…

Most likely your recipients, then, aren’t being looked up in an item field (perhaps the same address will be used for all workflow instances). In your workflow before the email step, “Create a workflow variable” and set it to the person(s’) email address(es). If multiple, type as semi-colon delimited. Set the variable type to string. Then for the To: line in the email, use a workflow lookup to that new variable.

SharePoint workflow “access denied” error sp.utilities.utility.SendEmail solution

If you’ve found this post by search, you’ve likely already gone into the workflow settings for a particular list or document library item and have clicked the info icon (infocon) next to “Internal status” and found that your workflow is “in progress”, but has an error: “Access Denied. You do not have permission to perform this action or access this resource.” Peering into the bulk of the message, you see a helpful tidbit that includes sp.utilities.utility.SendEmail. This could be from a number of causes, but here are the summaries of three possible solutions. Note that the first solution is still required even if you try B or C below. I’ve only included the second and third solutions as additional possibilities if the first doesn’t solve your problem.

A common question, before we begin, is what level of permissions any individual needs to be able to send an email or start a workflow generally. It doesn’t matter so much if you’re using Impersonation or App Steps, but the quick answer is a minimum of Contribute level permissions is good.

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