Office Add-ins error: Cannot connect to catalog

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Regular Contributor

One of our admin-managed add-ins (Adobe Sign) has gone AWOL from the ribbon of the Word desktop app recently (it still shows up in the web-app version of Word). One of the suggested troubleshooting steps is to check review the Office Add-ins from within the app itself. When doing so, I receive an error:

Insert ribbon-->Add-ins section-->My Add-ins-->See all...-->Admin Managed
"Cannot connect to catalog"

Screenshot 2021-08-31 083250.gif

 



I've tried: signing out, back in, clearing the Office cache, and redeploying the add-in from central management. The deployment always reports that it was successful.

 

Can anyone else reproduce this "Cannot connect to catalog" issue, or suggest additional troubleshooting steps/workarounds? 

3 Replies

Hi @Bob Manjoney - I hope all is well in your world.

I recently encountered this with another "Modern" Office Add-in, one we're in the process of deploying via Trusted Catalogs.  What's particularly frustrating is that this was working fine a few weeks ago.

Here's what I think I know:

  1. The 'Block Web Add-ins' policy is not enabled (set to 0)
  2. Doesn't seem to matter whether or not the 'Block the Office Store' policy is configured
  3. The manifest file is in place & accessible
  4. This was for sure was working in August & July; it's only recently that I've noticed that the add-in is no longer accessible/available.
  5. Thanks to AGPM I am the gatekeeper for all group policy modifications so I can confirm no rogue changes have been made.

Me and another sharp guy on my team have examined this fully and we're both at a loss.  We're beginning to wonder if an update changed this behavior.

Thanks for confirming and the extra information. This was also working for me up until a few days ago.

@Bob Manjoney: We sorted this out today.

  • When we were initially manually configuring "Block Web Add-ins" (DisableAllCatalogs) and "Block Office Add-ins" (DisableOMEXCatalogs), we were setting it in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\WEF\TrustedCatalogs.
  • When you configure those two settings in policy (User \ Administrative Templates \ Microsoft Office 2016 \ Security Settings \ Trusts Center \ Trusted Catalogs), it gets written to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\WEF\TrustedCatalogs.
  • Because we need to target this particular Office Add-in to a subset of users, we cannot rely on setting the Trusted Catalog Location policy items so we leveraged registry preferences in order to make use of Item Level Targeting.
    When we dropped those keys we matched our initial test configuration which was to write the Office Add-in settings to to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\WEF\TrustedCatalogs.  Turns out that gets ignored or overridden when something is set at the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\WEF\TrustedCatalogs level.
  • Once we realized this behavior we corrected the discrepancy and decided to rely solely on registry preferences, not policies, and the add-in started working again. 

So we shot ourselves in the foot but it took us a while to realize it.