Windows SharePoint Services and MAC OS X


Windows SharePoint Services and MAC OS X

SharePoint has traditionally been designed to work very well on Windows clients, specifically on Internet Explorer in Windows. The reason for that is pretty simple; much of the rich functionality that SharePoint exposes through IE comes via ActiveX controls, which are supported only when using Internet Explorer on Windows. There are some known problems when a user is accessing a SharePoint site from a Mac. We list them here with some suggestions for workarounds. It is generally suggested that users use Firefox which behaves better than other browsers.

Problems Viewing or Editing Office Files

Normally a SharePoint site will allow you to double-click on and then view or edit an MS Office file. If you are working on a Mac OS we suggest that you “check-out” and download the file to your desktop, work on it and then upload it again.

Create a new file within an existing document library

·         Create your new document in a Microsoft Office Application for Mac (Word Excel etc) and save it somewhere on your local machine.

·         In your SharePoint document library, click upload and use the Upload Document page to add the file you created in Word to the SharePoint document library.

·         The document is now available in the SharePoint document library.

Edit a file in a document library

·         Check out the file by mousing over the file name in SharePoint and click Check Out in the dropdown menu.

·         Click on the file name to download the file to the Mac.

·         Work on the file in the Office Application and save your work.

·         Click Upload in the SharePoint document library to open the Upload Document page.

·         Use the browse button to add the document to the Name text box and make sure that the Add as a new version to exiting files checkbox is checked.

·         Click OK.

·         At this point your document is uploaded, and you should see a page that prompts you to check in the document that you've uploaded so that others can work on it.


Other Suggestions

·         The document Discussions feature won't work on the Mac, so any discussions about the document in the document library itself will need to be done on a Windows machine. Since most people comment on the document from within Word, Excel, or PowerPoint itself, this may or may not present a problem, but it's an issue you should be aware of if you administer or use these sites to share data.


·         Alerts do work on the Mac, so if you set an alert on a particular document in the library, you can receive an e-mail when the file is checked in or out, or you can even receive a daily or weekly summary or the activity for the file. You can also be notified of discussion updates. This might be handy if you have a lot of Mac users and you want to let the Windows users know they should consider a different communication method if they want everyone to see what they have to say about the document. General Discussion boards in SharePoint also work on Macs, so you could possibly steer discussions about the documents to that area as an alternative.



·         You cannot right-click and pull down a menu of actions on a document, as if the document was in a windows share.


·         You cannot drag and drop icons in the Explorer view



Feature Support


Content Feature


Works on an OS X Mac?

Document Library

Stores collections of documents


Form Library

XML Based business forms

No (Requires InfoPath)

Picture Library

Store and share photos.



List of Web and file share links



List of announcements



Contact database



Calendar of events



List of tasks



An issues tracking database


Custom List

Specify your own columns


Custom List in Datasheet View

Edit a custom list as a Datasheet


Import Spreadsheet

Create a new list from an existing spreadsheet


Discussion Board

Discuss issues related to project



Create a survey for users


Basic Page

Create a new simple Web page


Web Part Page

Add a Web page consisting of Web Parts


Sites and Workspaces

Create a new sub site to your SharePoint



Alternative Solution

Some of these work-a-rounds are fine for most people but for those people who require the ability to move lots of data between MAC OS X and SharePoint an alternative solution is required. One such solution is to use VMware Fusion 2.0 and run a Windows XP SP2 or Vista SP1 client from within your MAC desktop.

VMware Fusion lets you:

  • Run Windows applications on your Intel Mac without the need to reboot
  • Quickly launch your Windows applications from the Mac dock, directly from your Mac files, and even switch between Mac and Widows applications using Exposé
  • Easily share data between your Mac and Windows applications by dragging and dropping, styled copy and paste, and mirrored folders
  • Make Windows even safer on the Mac with AutoProtect automatic snapshots and a complimentary 12-month subscription to McAfee VirusScan Plus
  • Enjoy an intuitive, Mac-native user interface designed to integrate seamlessly with Mac OS X, including Cover Flow, Quick Look, and Apple Help integration
  • Get fast, reliable performance, backed by the undisputed leader in desktop virtualization

For more info on VMware Fusion

NOTE: You will need a licensed copy of Windows and Office 2003/2007 for Windows for full functionality.



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