Unable to edit documents in SharePoint 2007/2010

This was a pretty interesting issue as it caused some unique symptoms, as well as closing up an issue I blogged previously with regards to Self-Service Site Creation Announcements.  The symptom we have was that users could upload documents to document libraries, but they could not edit them.  For example, they would click a link to a Word Document, then select that they want to edit the document:


The title bar in Word would show that the file was Read-only:


When you try and save the file, you are directed to your “My Documents” folder location on the local machine.  At this point, Word has no idea the file is associated with the SharePoint site.  This symptom actually reminds me of web folder type issues we used to see in the FrontPage client days and this add-in being written to avoid those issues, but I digress.

We captured a Fiddler trace and the actual response that comes back is:

The form submission cannot be processed because it exceeded the maximum length allowed by the Web administrator. Please resubmit the form with less data.

This comes back in the body of the response to a POST to author.dll.  Here’s the request and response.


POST http://SPServer/_vti_bin/_vti_aut/author.dll HTTP/1.1
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2010 21:24:58 GMT
MIME-Version: 1.0
User-Agent: MSFrontPage/12.0
Host: jormandev2007
Content-Length: 59
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
X-Vermeer-Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Connection: Keep-Alive
Pragma: no-cache
Cookie: MSOWebPartPage_AnonymousAccessCookie=80; WSS_KeepSessionAuthenticated=80
Authorization: NTLM  <removed the rest of this>



HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Microsoft-IIS/7.0
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2010 21:24:58 GMT
Connection: close
Content-type: application/x-vermeer-rpc
Set-Cookie: WSS_KeepSessionAuthenticated=80; path=/

<html><head><title>vermeer RPC packet</title></head>
<li>msg=The form submission cannot be processed because it exceeded the maximum length allowed by the Web administrator. Please resubmit the form with less data.

The content-length in the requests were way below what the file upload limit should have been, so the error seems like it’s unrelated to the issue we’re trying to troubleshoot.  In the above trace, the POST Content-Length was 59 bytes.  We then found that only POST requests going to Author.dll were failing with this message.  If a change was made via WebDAV, the change would persist and no error.

We then try in the test environment, and we are unable to reproduce the issue there.  The Max Upload Size setting was compared between Test and Production and it was found that the Max Upload Size setting was set to 2048 MB in production where we were having the problem.  The Document File Size in the Plan for Software Boundaries document talks about a maximum file upload size is 2 GB.  You would think 2048 MB would be the max, but the actual maximum value is 2047 MB.  The interesting thing to note, is that if you try and change this value in the Central Administration UI, there is validation to prevent you from using a value over 2047 MB.


There is no such validation with the StsAdm.exe SetProperty command, and this is where this value was coming from.  This command will let you set the property to whatever you want.  Our documentation does state that the maximum size is 2047 MB though.


If you set the value over the maximum value via SetProperty, then browse Web Application General Settings, the value will actually be larger than the allowed max limit, but clicking OK on the page will cause the previously mentioned validation error.  To avoid getting into this situation, you should ensure you don’t enter a value over 2047 when using StsAdm.exe to set the Max-File-Post-Size.


Update: For the Office 2010 clients, the symptoms are exhibited slightly different.  The file still opens as Read-only.  You can click on the Enable Editing button under the ribbon and it will appear like you have an editable copy.  When you try and save, the error is actually surfaced in the notification area beneath the ribbon instead of showing you the Save As... dialog pointing to your My Documents.

Also, the Office 2010 Upload Center will fail trying to sync the file even after you close Word 2010.

Comments (3)
  1. Rajen says:

    i have a issue as look like same. we have document library. in that we have documents(word,pdf).one user have design permissionfor that site and library. but when he selecting any document then he able to open in read only mode. as he has design permission but not able to edit the document.

  2. Cindy Gleed says:

    We are having the same issue. Office 2010 and Sharepoint 2010. Doesn't matter how you open the document even if you tell it to edit in MS Word it still comes up read-only.  It seems the problem is slowly spreading to other users.  Has there been any fixes found for this?  I have spent Hours searching for an answer.

  3. Pavithra says:

    Here is a solution. I tried Method 1 and it worked for me.


Comments are closed.

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