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Modifying SharePoint 2013 Master Pages Part 1

Master Pages for publishing sites in SharePoint 2013 can be modified by administrators and designers with a set of new methods. In a video tutorial, Making Changes to Master Pages, Yaroslav Pentsarskyy, SharePoint MVP and published author demonstrates how to add a custom CSS to a master page template, and, thereby, create a custom master page. This video tutorial is intended for an intended audience of administrators, designers and developers. Master pages are not an option for collaboration (team) sites in SharePoint 2013.

Yaroslav defines 5 scenarios where it makes sense to customize master pages:

  1. You need to either add or remove structural components (for example, a search box) to a site page template
  2. Custom controls (breadcrumbs, a custom navigation scheme) are required for site pages
  3. Key components of the user interface (the Suitebar, for example) need to be modified
  4. Custom JavaScript must be added to page templates
  5. or, finally, your customizations will be used across a number of other pages throughout the site

If the customization required doesn’t require one of the above types of customization a better approach is to use the point and click customization capability presented by the “Looks” feature of the “Look and Feel” menu for publishing sites. So viewers should conclude industry best practices call for modifying master pages ONLY when necessary, when one of the above mentioned activities is required.

In SharePoint 2013 (and SharePoint Online, Office 365), each master page is accompanied with a matching .html page. Any work on master pages should be accomplished with the .html page, as Yaroslav points out.

The master pages and page layouts are accessed through the Site Settings page in the Web Designer Galleries section. Each master page is identified with a .master file name suffix.

As Yaroslav points out, the preferred tool to use to customize master pages is SharePoint Designer 2013. Note: SharePoint Designer 2013 no longer includes “Design View”. Any customization will require working with HTML code. In the next post to this blog we’ll continue our commentary as Yaroslav creates a custom CSS for a master page, creating a new custom master page and uploads it to SharePoint Online.

Ira Michael Blonder

© Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved