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SharePoint Designer 2013 is the Preferred Tool for Working with Master Pages with SharePoint Online Office 365

In a video tutorial titled Working with Master Pages in SharePoint Online, Yaroslav Pentsarskyy, a subject matter expert on branding SharePoint sites, and a published author on related topics, says of the value of mastering how to successfully work with Master Pages in SharePoint Online, Office 365: “Working with Master Pages is the meat of SharePoint branding.”

Nearly the entire tutorial is dedicated to introducing SharePoint Designer 2013 as the preferred tool for working with Master Pages for SharePoint Online. Yaroslav demonstrates how to open Master Pages with SharePoint Designer, and also provides several best practices intended to safeguard the integrity of the controls, and other elements not related to a branding effort, which, nonetheless, are included in any Master Page.

The video tutorial ends with a demonstration of how Firebug can be successfully used to identify page elements and “decouple them”, so “what if” branding scenarios can be tested.

The intention behind returning to a look at Firebug is, apparently, to demonstrate how to pull CSS from external sources into a Master Page (or at least demonstrate how to work with external CSS and a Master Page at the same time).

Given the substantial changes Microsoft has made in the 2013 version of SharePoint Designer (the most obvious of these being the removal of the WYSIWYG viewer, meaning Design Mode), it should be refreshing for anyone viewing this tutorial to reacquaint him/herself with SharePoint Designer as a very important tool for a new purpose.

The video tutorial also briefly touches on working with Master Pages with the browser (Yaroslav refers to this approach as “using the UI”). But, aside from demonstrating how Master Pages appear in the Gallery, from a browser, and remarking how the presentation of these files is not as useful as is the case when they are reviewed with SharePoint Designer 2013, there is little actual instruction on this point in this tutorial.

Ira Michael Blonder

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