Keep the Migraine Out Of Your SharePoint Migration – Part Two – Using Word Automation Services

In the first part of this series, we covered how a SharePoint Migration can be a frustrating experience.  Now we continue with that theme and speak to how the Word Automation Service itself can cause you some issues.

Is your organization planning to use Word Automation Services (WAS) in SharePoint, but are not quite sure what that might entail?  Below we cover some of the basic issues that could cause some heartburn, and ways to resolve them.

Before using the Word Automation Services, your team should determine at what level the service should function.  For example, you could elect to go with single documents, all documents in a list, or all documents in a library.  Doing this first will allow you to properly identify any code that may need to be developed as well as understanding what SharePoint objects would be required to proceed.

Another stumbling block could arise after your team has written your code.  How can you determine if the desired conversion will occur, and how many of the items would be converted?   One of our SharePoint consultants had a simple solution to this one – he wrote a segment of code in order to generate a report based on the timer job associated with the process.  We suggest replicating this simple concept to give your team insight into the state of the job.

Next there could be the issue of initiating the script/web part/feature.  Do this and then hop over to the document/list/library and what happens?  Nothing.  So why didn’t it work?

There are a few factors that could be causing you problems.  For instance:

  • If the timer job is set for the default period, there could be a 15 minute waiting period associated with the job.  This, of course, can be adjusted to as little as one minute.
  • In Central Administration, visit Monitoring, then Timer Jobs. From there, the job can be edited, including schedule, as desired.  Of course, if the timer job has already run its course and there is still no change, then refresh.  After a reset, then there is an issue with the code.  Speaking of code…
  • There is also a handy bit of code that can be utilized to force the operation, but that will be visited in the coded segment we’ll post in an upcoming blog, so check back over the next few days.

Later this week, we’ll revisit this issue and we’ll share some real-world code that can help you to pull off these nifty tricks as well as alternative ways to conjure up WAS.


  1. […] There were some choke points, of course.  And we’ll cover those in the next few days in part two of this article. […]

  2. […] Migration can be a frustrating experience.  In part two, we continued with that theme and spoke to how the Word Automation Service itself can cause you some issues.  We encourage you to review those two posts before reading the gripping […]

  3. […] Service as the service needed to complete the conversion.  Next, we took a look at specific considerations and planning for using the service to avoid issues.  Part three provided insight into creating a simple […]

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