Changes to PowerPivot Gallery and Snapshots in SharePoint 2016


The PowerPivot Gallery has had some functionality and supportability changes between SharePoint 2013/2010 and SharePoint 2016. This is due to the fact that Excel Services functionality has moved to Office Online Server. While the basic premise of the gallery remains the same and some of the same rules apply, there are some changes that you should be aware of that will require your attention while troubleshooting or configuring a new farm. This article is purely informative and is not meant to include any troubleshooting steps. We will publish more information on a case-by-case basis for relevant issues.

What is new?

  1. Gallery Snapshots no-longer support PowerView in any form (this includes Power View reports imbedded in Excel/PowerPivot workbooks AND .RDLX files built from PowerPivot data models stored in the gallery). Here is an example of what you will see if you load a workbook with Power View sheets included:
    2016powerviewsheet

  2. You will now see charts and sheets have separate snapshots in the snapshot ribbon, for instance a sheet with multiple charts will be shown, then each chart will have its own snapshot preview.
    chartsandsheets
  3. Gallery Snapshots are now handled by Office Online Server. The old gallerysnapshot.exe and getsnapshot.exe processes that used to take the snapshots no longer exist. Office Online Server utilizes the Excel REST API to render and load the snapshots to the documents when they are uploaded to the library or modified. Also, it is done in the context of the user that performs the action rather than a service account.
    • For administrators: You will find log entries for these actions on the SharePoint Web Front End and Office Online Server ULS logs during the upload or update of the PowerPivot file in question.
      • If a VALID .xlsx document is uploaded, you will see an entry similar to the following ULS entry as the first call to the “ExcelRest.aspx” as the users login:
        • Name=Request (GET:http://<SITEURL>/_vti_bin/ExcelRest.aspx/<LIBRARY>/<DOCUMENT>.xlsx/model/Sheets
  4. Because Gallery Snapshots are now taken in the context of the user that performs the update action to the document, it is a REQUIREMENT that the SharePoint User Profile Service and User Profile Sync is running and fully functional. It also must be associated with the web application of which the PowerPivot Gallery is hosted in.
  5. It also requires that the Claims to Windows Token Services be running on your SharePoint Web Front End servers, but if you are in MinRole configuration, this should be running anyway.

What is the same?

  1. The gallery continues to only have full support for PowerPivot documents.
  2. The same classic views are still included with the gallery.
  3. The PowerPivot Gallery (and all supporting features) are still only supported with Windows Authentication (SAML and Anonymous are not supported under ANY circumstances).
  4. You can still add BISM content types and create Power View reports from PowerPivot data models and BISM connections directly from the PowerPivot Gallery GUI.
  5. The Scheduled Data Refresh interface remains the same and you access and interact with it the same way as in SharePoint 2010 and 2013 via the PowerPivot Gallery.

 

This article is specific to PowerPivot in SharePoint 2016 On-Premise with Office Online Server. If you are looking for information on Gallery Snapshots for SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint 2010 with PowerPivot, please see our other blog posts on this subject:


Comments (8)

  1. Chandru says:

    I have configured SharePoint 2016 farm with Office Online server 2016 and installed all BI features. Also verified all steps mentioned in this article. However the PowerPivot snapshot and auto data refresh is not working as expected. any idea to troubleshoot this issue would be helpful to complete my installation

    1. Hello Chandru,
      Your two issues are not necessarily mutually exclusive (scheduled data refresh and snapshots). Meaning that on most occasions, they have no dependency on each other working. Due to the scope and complexity of both issues I recommend asking about them on the MSDN forums and/or opening a support ticket where you are able to provide more information about your problem in a better format. Our blogs are not meant to directly troubleshoot environment specific issues, but more to be a general guide. Especially in the case of 2016, a giant layer of complexity was added with Office Online Server and it has complicated our ability to troubleshoot issues like this quickly.

    2. Brian H Laws says:

      Chandru, it’s probably too late for you, but there’s a chance that you’re having the same issue I am. I found that there’s (what I consider to be) a bug in PowerPivot for SharePoint 2016. I describe it in detail here: http://info.summit7systems.com/blog/bug-report-powerpivot-for-sharepoint-2016-thumbnails-not-generating. In short, there appears to be a hard requirement on localhost in order for the snapshot generation to work. If you have more than one web application or if you use host headers, then snapshot generation will not work in anything other than the first web application.

      1. I am actually already working on this particular issue. I will hopefully be posting a specific update as a separate blog in the near future.

  2. Brian H Laws says:

    I recently deployed PowerPivot with OOS in an SP2016 farm, and my customer isn’t liking the multiple chart snapshots (#2 above). They’re used to having only the snapshot for the workbook be in the gallery. Is there any way that we can have it only show the worksheet(s) snapshot without also including the individual components in that worksheet? I found that I can limit the snapshots to just a single chart/table by using the Browser View Options in the workbook and selecting one item in the All Items view. However, if I select the worksheet instead, it seems to automatically snapshot all the charts/tables as well. Please let me know if there’s a way to control what displays in the gallery snapshot ribbon. Thanks!!

    1. At the moment, there is no way to customize what images you see in the previews unless you choose not to publish those items with the workbook. Unfortunately if you do that and then open the workbook in the browser, those items will not be visible. If the users are downloading the workbooks though, they will download the full version of the workbook, so it could be an option.

      1. Brian H Laws says:

        Thanks for letting us know, Rick. Hopefully it will be an option one day.

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