Modifying SharePoint Master Pages Part 1

SharePoint is an extremely powerful and diverse tool, and as such can be somewhat overwhelming when trying to get started. Because of this, we’re talking about the basics you need to know to get things rolling with your own SharePoint site.

Today’s focus is going to be on modifying master pages. As we have learned before, master pages hold the framework and the common content for your site, so if you want to modify your site, you have to make changes to your master page.

These blogs assume that you are using SharePoint Designer, which is free for download at Microsoft’s web site.

The first order of business is to back things up. Common sense dictates that we don’t want to go modifying the master page without making a copy, so we have to find it and do so.

With your site loaded, check the upper-right corner of you content page. There you will find the location of your master page. It should say something like “/_catalogs/masterpage/default.master”. Any master pages you create for your site in the future should all be stored in the same folder. This makes it easy to manage all of your master pages for your site from one location.

After you have the location of your master page, find it in the folder list. Right-click Default.master and click “Copy”, then right-click the masterpage folder and click “Paste”. You have successfully created a backup of your masterpage.

The next step to modifying your master page is to modify the styles. This will require a reasonable knowledge of CSS to accomplish, but SharePoint Designer does organize it well and make the styles easy to modify using the Apply Styles and Manage Styles task panes.

To modify the styles for the master page, you click on the page where you want to modify the style. The style that is currently applied can be shown by clicking “Options” and then clicking “Show Styles Used On Selection”. Right-click on the style you want to modify and click “Select All X Instances”.

After selecting all of the instances of that particular style, right-click the style again and select “Modify Style”. Here you will be able to make the changes you want to the style rule and click “OK” to apply.

This concludes part one of modifying your style sheet for your SharePoint site. Check back next time when we will cover placeholders and new content. Now sign up with us for the new Hosted SharePoint Server 2013 solutions.

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