Building Sharepoint site with Master Page

Posted on 2010-01-08
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
How can I build a new website with a custom master page that I've created?  When I create an empty site, it still has a default master page.  When I attempt to use my custom master page, I begin to get errors.
Question by:sproctor722
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Expert Comment

ID: 26212065
Depends on How you created and Deployed your custom Master Page. Are you sure you Master Page works properly?

I typically use SharePoint Designer to create my custom Master Pages in a test site. Then when I am satisfied, Export them, create a WSP solution package to deploy them to the production server.

Expert Comment

ID: 26212110
There are a few things you must do to make sure your master page can be utilized in your farm.  The most important thing to do is make sure you have included all the necessary Placeholders in your new master page.  Heather Solomon is really the guru on the web for customizing your Sharepoint farm.  The first step is to review her Base Master Page to see if you have all the required goodies:  http://www.heathersolomon.com/blog/category/8.aspx.

Pretty much everything you need to know about building the page to troubleshooting the CSS etc is available on her site.  Without looking at your master page it would be hard to determine where you have gone wrong, but with Heather's tools you should be able to figure it out & build a really awesome new site.  Good luck & happy customizing.

Author Comment

ID: 26212779
What if you do not need everything listed on the master page?  Am I still required to have the place holders?
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Expert Comment

ID: 26212808
As far as I know the master page will not work properly if the content place holders are removed.  You do not need to utilize them, but if they are not there, you will have some problems.  The sample blank page Heather suggests seems to be the minimum Place holders you need for the page to function.  If the positioning throws off your page, you can always correct those issues with some custom CSS to compensate.

Author Comment

ID: 26213417
Once I have my master page created, how can I ensure it's used instead of the default master page?

Accepted Solution

bank_on_it earned 2000 total points
ID: 26213674
This is where MCummings is correct.  The best way is to use a WSP solution to deploy it.  You can find information on packaging a wsp here:  http://geekswithblogs.net/evgenyblog/archive/2008/01/27/118966.aspx

I highly recommend using a dev farm to test this on before you implement this on your live farm however.  Any changes that you make should always be fully tested on a dev site before implementing on the production server.  Re-skinning Sharepoint is no easy feat, but so worth the efforts.

After you have the master page, you may want to look at creating some custom application pages.  For instance the page that is used if Access is Denied.  It will use the system default even if you are using alternate css & a custom master page.  Fortunately there is good information out there on that as well.  Just do a search for creating a custom error page for sharepoint when you are ready to tackle that.  Be warned however it is not for a beginner user & needs to be tested on a dev server before you deploy it to the live server.

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