How to Install and Configure Office Web Apps 2013 for SharePoint 2013?

Office web apps server 2013 allows us to view and edit office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) directly in browser without needing Microsoft Office installed on Client machine.  OWA is considered as LITE version of Microsoft Office Client. This implementation guide walks through step by step on how to install and configure single-server office web apps 2013 with SharePoint Server 2013.

Unlike its previous version, Office Web Apps 2013 must be installed on its own server(s) and can’t be installed on the same machine where SharePoint is installed. Not just SharePoint, but you can’t install Office Web App 2013 on servers where any one of this product is installed: SharePoint, Exchange, Lync, SQL Server, Microsoft Office, Any server with web services running on Port 80/443!

Steps Overview:

Steps at high level

  1. Install prerequisites
    1. Add server roles, services and features
  2. Download and install Office Web Apps Server
  3. Create Office Web Apps Server Farm
  4. Create Bindings on SharePoint to integrate Office Web Apps Server
    1. Set OWA Zone
    2. Allow OAuth Over HTTP


Before you start:

  • Your SharePoint Web Application must be using Claims Authentication! If not, convert it from Classic to Claims authentication.
  • Make sure Office Web Apps Server is able to communicate with SharePoint Web Application. Create necessary DNS (or HOST Header) entries are created for your SharePoint web application. (Hit SharePoint Web Application URL from OWA Server to verify)

1) Install Prerequisites

Depending on the server operating system (Windows Server 2008 R2-SP1 / Windows Server 2012 SP1), Get the detailed system requirements for Office Web Apps 2013 at: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/webappsserver/plan-office-web-apps-server

office web apps 2013 minimum requirements

For Windows Server 2008 R2, Download and install these patches:

 

1(1) Add Server Roles, Services and Features

While it’s possible to add required server roles (E.g. IIS Web Server) and features using Server Manager, There is an efficient way: PowerShell! Let’s run these PowerShell scripts to add required roles:

For Windows Server 2008 R2 – SP1:
Open the Windows PowerShell as an administrator and run the following cmdlets:

add roles with powershell
Import-Module ServerManager
#Add Roles & Features - Do not Break this line
Add-WindowsFeature Web-Server,Web-WebServer,Web-Common-Http,Web-Static-Content,Web-App-Dev,Web-Asp-Net,Web-Net-Ext,Web-ISAPI-Ext,Web-ISAPI-Filter,Web-Includes,Web-Security,Web-Windows-Auth,Web-Filtering,Web-Stat-Compression,Web-Dyn-Compression,Web-Mgmt-Console,Ink-Handwriting,IH-Ink-Support 

To Add required features in Windows Server 2012, Use this PowerShell script:

Add-WindowsFeature Web-Server,Web-Mgmt-Tools,Web-Mgmt-Console,Web-WebServer,Web-Common-Http,Web-Default-Doc,Web-Static-Content,Web-Performance,Web-Stat-Compression,Web-Dyn-Compression,Web-Security,Web-Filtering,Web-Windows-Auth,Web-App-Dev,Web-Net-Ext45,Web-Asp-Net45,Web-ISAPI-Ext,Web-ISAPI-Filter,Web-Includes,InkandHandwritingServices
Don’t skip
the restart prompt appears after installation. Do restart the server!

2.0 Download and Install Office Web Apps Server

Download Office Web Apps Server 2013 from Microsoft Volume licensing site. You will get an .IMG file. Extract/Mount it with ISO tools. I used 7-Zip to extract the IMG file.
sharepoint 2013 office web apps download

  1. Once extracted, Run “Setup.exe” File from the installer media to begin the Office Web Apps Server 2013 installation. Check “I accept the terms of this agreement ” and click on “Continue” button
    1 sharepoint 2013 office web apps install
  2. Select a file location to install Office Web Apps Server (E.g. C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office Web Apps) and click on “Install Now” office web apps 2013 step by step
  3. Wait for the installation to complete.
    Install Office Web Apps 2013 for SharePoint 2013
  4. Click on Close on completion.
    How to Configure Office Web Apps 2013 for SharePoint 2013

After Office Web Apps 2013 Server is installed, you can install any additional patches and language packs from: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/ee748587.aspx .Follow this guide to apply Office web apps 2013 patch: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj966220.aspx

3.0 Create New Office Web Apps Farm

Once installed, the next step is to: Create Office Web Apps Server Farm! This can be done only with PowerShell.

New-OfficeWebAppsFarm -InternalURL http://OfficeWebAppsSrv.Crescent.com -AllowHttp -editingEnabled

Where:

  • InternalURL:  is FQDN of the server which runs OWA
  • AllowHttp: By default OWA runs on Https. Let’s instruct we are allowing Http!
  • EditingEnabled: Allows Office documents to be edited using OWA. Please note, we need Office Client licenses for this functionality.
Create New office web apps 2013 Farm using powershell

Technet reference on New-OfficeWebAppsFarm: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219436.aspx

Verify Office Web Apps Farm
Verify the Office Web Apps Farm created by hitting the URL in browser: http://OfficeWebAppsSrv.Crescent.com/hosting/discovery

verify office web apps 2013

It should render a XML file that looks the above screen.

Make sure Port-80/443 is open via Firewall rules in your OWA server (If ports are blocked)!

4.0 Create Office Web Apps Binding on SharePoint Server

So now, Office Web Apps Server farm is created. The next step would be binding Office Web Apps with SharePoint server, so that office web apps integrate with SharePoint contexts.

Let’s Login to SharePoint Farm, Create a WOPI binding.  Open the SharePoint 2013 Management Shell prompt as an administrator and run:

New-SPWOPIBinding -ServerName "OfficeWebAppsSrv.Crescent.com" -AllowHTTP

Where:

  • ServerName – is the FQDN of the OWA farm server we just created. It should be the same as the -InternalURL used earlier. (Don’t use ‘http://’ in the server name parameter, just the FQDN of the server.)
  • AllowHTTP – By default OWA server farm uses Https protocol. We’ll force it to recognize http
  • We’ve established a communication between Office Web Apps Server 2013 with SharePoint Server 2013.

Technet Reference for New-SPWOPIBinding: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219441.aspx

To disconnect SharePoint from Office Web Apps: Remove-SPWOPIBinding -All:$true

4 (1) Set WOPI Zone:
For Secure communication, office web apps server uses HTTPS protocol. If its for internal use, that can be compromised and we can instruct office web apps server to use HTTP. Here is how:

Set-SPWOPIZone -zone Internal-http

We can verify it by:

Get-SPWOPIZone
Set WOPI Zone

Technet Reference for Set-SPWopiZone: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219439.aspx

4 (2) Allow OAuth Over HTTP:
Similarly, we got to allow OAuth over HTTP as well. Get the current configuration by running:

(Get-SPSecurityTokenServiceConfig).AllowOAuthOverHttp 

By default, this returns false. So we got to change OAuth to allow HTTP. Here is the command:

$OAuth = (Get-SPSecurityTokenServiceConfig)
$OAuth.AllowOAuthOverHTTP = $true
$OAuth.update()
#Check the status:
(Get-SPSecurityTokenServiceConfig).AllowOAuthOverHTTP
This should returns TRUE

Done! Let’s see OWA in Action!!

Browse to your SharePoint 2013 site. Click on the Call-out menu of any office document, Make sure you are getting thumbnail preview. Verify on clicking on office documents launches office web apps.

Note: In Mobile browsers, Office Web Apps allows to only viewing documents!
Office Web Apps 2013 in action
Tip: To open Office documents using client applications (if installed) click on “Edit” link from Call-out menu or “Edit Document” button from Ribbon!

Troubleshooting:

If you have .NET Framework 3.5 installed already, you may get: HTTP Error 500.21 – Internal Server Error” at verifying Office web apps step.

office web apps 2013 server error

Don’t panic! If you are running Windows Server 2008 R2, Run these commands in command prompt:
%systemroot%\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\aspnet_regiis.exe -iru
iisreset /restart /noforce

For Windows Server 2012:
dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:IIS-ASPNET45

Unable to Launch Office Web Apps – Error: Sorry, there was a problem and we can’t open this document.  If this happens again, try opening the document in Microsoft Word.”

office web apps 2013 error

If you are getting above error, verify your AAM entries first! Make sure OWA Server is able to connect with SharePoint Web Application by hitting SharePoint Web Application URL in browser from OWA Sever. In case of HTTPS, make sure your certificates are placed under “Trusted Certificate Authority” of OWA Server as well. OWA doesn’t work when you login using “System Account”

Make sure Bindings OWA Zone & Allow OAuth Over HTTP is properly set!

Salaudeen Rajack

Salaudeen Rajack is a SharePoint Architect with Two decades of SharePoint Experience. He loves sharing his knowledge and experiences with the SharePoint community, through his real-world articles!

11 thoughts on “How to Install and Configure Office Web Apps 2013 for SharePoint 2013?

  • November 3, 2020 at 6:43 PM

    Im trying to implement Single Sign On with my SP13 farm and for the WebApplications its fine but for the Office Web Apps and Microsoft Office (2016 or o365 pro plus), it doesn’t work. we have a reverse proxy that uses SAML to the ADFS server and the farm itself is set to use Kerberos.

    When we try to preview documents or open in the browser we get “sorry, there was a problem and we cant open this document….” and runtime errors. Any pointers on a SSO/ADFS/SAML/Kerberos setup?

    Reply
  • May 1, 2020 at 2:06 AM

    Could I use the same steps to set up office web apps for SharePoint 2016 on-prem?

    Reply
  • December 3, 2015 at 5:23 PM

    I just detached/reattached a content database from 2010 to 2013 and document preview is not working for this particular site collect. Is there something that I need to do when addition databases via this method? I have done a full crawl.

    Reply
  • October 16, 2015 at 3:48 PM

    Great Post,
    I used some of this when I wrote this post on how to install office web apps for SharePoint 2013 using SSL http://www.sharepointpapa.com/blog/_layouts/15/start.aspx#/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=119

    Reply
  • December 10, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Have you ever come across an issue with OWA where it will only display the first page of a document and the ribbon is no longer available? There have been no changes to the environment, the document preview works and you can view the doc, just the first page. You can view all pages if you open Explorer on the library and open the document.

    Reply
  • July 2, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Hi Salaudeen,

    This is a fantastic article. I have a clarification. I have server installed with Office Web Apps 2013. Can i use the same OWA server to configure multiple environments. Example: OWA Server used with UAT And test SharePoint Servers.

    Reply
    • July 2, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      Hi There,

      Yes! You can use single OWA farm with Multiple SharePoint Farms. OWA architecture was changed from Service Application to Separate Farm architecture to Re-use between different SharePoint Farms and/or Exchange Farms.

      Reply
  • February 19, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    I am getting 403 error when attempting to preview the office documents, I can edit them no problem, just the WAC preview is not working. Any ideas?

    Reply
    • February 19, 2014 at 1:12 PM

      403 sound like a permission issue. I would suggest granting permission to Excel Services AppPool account:
      $webApp = Get-SPWebApplication “http://Web-App-URL
      $webApp.GrantAccessToProcessIdentity(“domainusername”)

      Reply

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