Office Online Server Update

Microsoft released Office Online Server (OOS), formerly known as Office Web Apps (OWA) earlier this year, and recently announce the first significant update to it. First the good news and that is that this  November update provides improvements in the following eight functional areas of OOS:

  • Performance improvements to co-authoring in Word Online
  • Improved picture resizing in Word Online
  • Improvements when working with tables in Word Online and PowerPoint Online, including better drag-and-drop support
  • Support for showing spelling errors inline in the PowerPoint editor
  • Copy and paste improvements in PowerPoint Online
  • Support for embedded Power View sheets in Excel Online
  • Support for shapes in Excel Online viewer
  • Major improvements for users that rely on assistive technologies—HTML markup updated to more fully support W3C accessibility standards

Now for the not-so-good news, the major update requires that you uninstall the previous version of OOS and then install the update on each server in your Office Online Server farm. Personally, I’m slightly confused as to why it is called an update if it requires you to uninstall and then install new software. But unfortunately, in order to apply the ‘update’, with either OWA or OOS they both require that you perform these tasks.

They also announced they are going to shoot for these update releases every four months, so until they change the ‘update’ process of uninstalling and re-installing the new version, you will have to perform these steps on each of your OOS farm servers, which to me yells for a PowerShell script to be written to perform these updates.

For additional information on the PowerShell commands involved with the installation, configuration, and removal of Office Online Server, you can find the OOS PowerShell commands in the TechNet article, Windows PowerShell for Office Online.

You’ll first need to locate and download the Office Online Server update and this can be done by accessing the Volume Licensing Service Center.

For a step-by-step preview of the OOS steps involved in performing the update, you should review the TechNet article on How to Apply Software Updates to Office Online.

I’ll iterate one more time, this is going to be an ongoing task, so please take the time to write a PowerShell script using the information above to not only expedite the update, but also to avoid any issues of misspelling, or leaving out parameters when entering the PowerShell commands necessary to complete the upgrade.