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Corey Roth [MVP]

A SharePoint MVP bringing you the latest time saving tips for Ionic, SharePoint, and Office 365.

Quick overview of Master Pages in SharePoint 2010

SharePoint 2010 brings a few new master pages that you may want to know about.  There are additional master pages to accommodate both the old and new versions of UI.  There are also some simplified pages to take note in.

The first master page we will talk about is v4.master.  This is the default team site master page used with version 4 (obviously) of the UI.  This will be the master page you typically use. It provides the ribbon bar and all of the other new visual UI changes such as the site actions menu on the left side.

If you did an upgrade to SharePoint 2010 and haven’t transitioned to the new UI yet, the old master page is still in default.master.  This looks just like the master page you use in SharePoint v3 today.  It doesn’t have the ribbon bar and the site actions menu is still on the right side.

The search pages by default now use minimal.master.  This is a really slimmed down master page with next to nothing on it.  It doesn’t even have navigation.  I’m not sure why they opted to use this page in Search Center, but I think it provides and issue with people trying to leave the search center.  The Office Web Applications also use this master page but that makes a little more sense because it provides more screen real estate.

The last page I will mention is simple.master.  This page is used for login and error pages.  From what I understand, it can’t be customized (I have no idea why), but it can be replaced.

I hope this helps if you were curious about the new master pages.  I’ll also remind you again that application pages can also now make use of any branded master pages you might have created.  I’ll also point out that the master pages all use properly formed XHTML although I am not sure about default.master.  I will check that when I get a chance.



NllFed said:

Greate, but how do you actually change the master page in 2010? the option is not there anymore under site settings, you have to use designer for that now?

February 4, 2010 8:22 AM

Smriti Singh said:


If you working in team site then the master page option will not be available under site settings publishing features are not enabled bu default.

You need to activate Publishing site features from site collection settings, then you will get that option.

March 2, 2010 12:14 AM

CoreyRoth said:

That is a good point.  This also applies to MOSS 2007 as well.

March 2, 2010 9:04 AM

N03L said:

Thanks Corey.

I've been spending way too much time on getting my custom master page to apply to my team sites.

I've turned on the publishing feature using feature stapling and that works fine but the master page that I've created (nothing more than a tweaked theme and two images) only ever render on the Site Settings page of my team sites.

If I open SharePoint designer and look at the Master Page gallery for a team site my custom master page isn't in there. Makes sense.

But why, if I go into the master page gallery from the team site (with publishing enabled) do I see the Site Collection master page gallery but can't apply my master page to the site properly.

I'm trying to create a duplicate environment to see if it's a problem with this specific build but I think the fact that I can't see the master page in the team site's local gallery is a big hint.

How do I get it there and how do I get this to propagate to all ne team sites?

Sorry for writing War & Peace.


July 20, 2010 5:10 AM

CoreyRoth said:

@N03L So you are deploying the master page via feature using the module element I assume?  That should work.  Have you checked the approval status on the page?  Maybe for some reason it's not checked in and approved.

July 20, 2010 9:26 AM

Megs said:

How can I use master pages to create a template in a wiki site? Do i have to switch to 2010 enterprise? It also seems that the only way I can add to the master pages is to upload a document where should create this document?

I am trying to create a wiki glossary.

July 30, 2010 12:03 PM

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About CoreyRoth

Corey Roth is an independent SharePoint consultant specializing in ECM, Apps, and Search.
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