Heather’s Base Master Page File for SharePoint 2007

I have created a base master page file that can be used for creation of new custom master pages.   Microsoft provides this, but I ran into issues with this code and instead created a base file using components of default.master (that ships with SharePoint).

This code contains all the necessary content placeholders in order for the page to run.  You can wrap your custom code around the placeholders and add your custom CSS file(s) in order to brand the master page.

The majority of the placeholders are labeled by area of the page or functionality.  The rest are listed in the SDK, and are mainly superfluous placeholders that hold spacing images to create borders and margins.  You will more than likely not be utilizing these, and you can move them to the hidden ASP panel located at the bottom of the file.   Do not delete the ones you don’t want to use, just move everything to the hidden panel.  Without them all, pages in the SharePoint site will not render.

Click the link below to download a zip file containing the base master page file.

» Heather’s Base Master Page

For more information about master pages and SharePoint, refer to:
» MOSS 2007 Design Component Relationships and Diagrams
» CSS Options with Master Pages
» Create a Feature: Master Pages for Site Collections

46 thoughts on “Heather’s Base Master Page File for SharePoint 2007”

  1. Have you tested using your page w/ WSS 3.0 (without MOSS)?I was under the impression initially that they were the same master page, but after trying out a couple of versions I have seen online, I like you have not had a lot of (turn-key) succsess with them. I’m hoping there is a universal way to use the same blank master page.Some awesome posts lately by the way! Love the CSS Chart!

  2. How do I get simple.master, which is used by the forms login page, branded with the theme for the specific SharePoint site for which it was called? I’ve tried linking to stylesheets in the PlaceHolderAdditionalPageHead section but nothing changes.

  3. Robin -You need to add the following to your code AFTER the <SharePoint:CssLink … /> line:<SharePoint:Theme runat=”server”/>

  4. Hi,Just to followup on Shane Perran’s question above, any master page advice or examples for WSS 3.0? (not MOSS).ThanksPaul

  5. Hi Heather,For us rookies and with literally no talent for making pages look good… can you supply a screen shot of what your “HeathersBaseMasterPage.master” looks like once implemented? I used it as the new default master page while doing Todd Bleeker’s Chapter 6 Create Site Definition (http://developersguide.mindsharp.com/Lists/AskTheAuthor/Threaded.aspx?RootFolder=%2fLists%2fAskTheAuthor%2fTodd%2c%20before%20I%20waste%20any%20more%20of%20my%20time%2c%20is%20this%20even%20possible&FolderCTID=0x012002002ED581118A7DDE42AAC9169E9216A1AB&TopicsView=http%3A%2F%2Fdevelopersguide%2Emindsharp%2Ecom%2FLists%2FAskTheAuthor%2FAllItems%2Easpx)….and it looks, well, odd. everything is left-aligned. What I mean is it looks like everything is listed one under the other (toolbar, site actions, breadcrumbs, left nav…) on the page rather than styled ( Toolbar stretches across the page, with Site Actions on the same row right-justified on the page). Any help/insight is appreciated,Paul

  6. Is it possible to create an XHTML 1.0 transitional version of the base master page? Will Sharepoint 3.0/2007 conform to the XHTML standard?

  7. Hi Heather. Great information as always, shame I didn’t find this page a couple of days ago … but will still be useful.I’ve hit a problem related to <!doctypes I wonder if you have seen (and solved). I’ve so far not found any answers elsewhere. Once you add a <!doctype to your master page, everything works great in IE but some of the menus misbehave in Firefox and some other browsers. For example, in Firefox the Site Actions menu does not pop up underneath the button, but instead appears at the top of the browser window. This gets worse when you attempt to select a sub-menu from the pop up menu as that appears away from the mouse at the top of the page. There is also a rendering issue with the last menu item, forcing scrollbars when you roll over it.Have you come across this problem and found any solutions?

  8. Hello,I have a strange problem, I used the minimal master page to start with everything looks fine if I view the page but when another user (who is just a visitor) views the site the graphics and images are gone all the colors set by the custom css file are gone it is just a plain white background….very strange…any simple suggestions. Also I’m interested in talking to you about your SharePoint bootcamps for our Company.

  9. Hi Heather,I am reading alot about customization. I am getting a little confused about when to use themes, when to use straight style sheet manipulation and when to “unghost” pagesCan you give a sort of broad step by step approach to customizing a site example: Start with the base masterpagethen copy the core.css and use it for the customized stylesthen save that master page to the root of the website and use it as the base for all sites to come (this is where I was thinking about using nested master pages for the sites under my top level site – have you done that?)Except in your step by step- maybe it could be a little more cohesive with links to your articles that support each step?????do you have any examples of having taken this Base Master page and customized it – rather simply? -to get us started?Any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks,Paisley

  10. Looks great in theory, but I get the nasty old File Not Found error. I can’t see any dodgy file refs in there & I’ve got a standard install, so not sure what the deal is. I’ve got the MS simple master page working fine, but it’s a bit naff.

  11. HiI have follow your instructions to create a feature for master pages , After createing and activating the Feature ( Custom Master ) after selecting Master file from Site Collectio feature / Look and Feel / Master Page , When i open a default page i got an error File Not Found . Could you please let me know where i did the mistakeArul

  12. Thank you Very much Heather!!!! Thanks for the work around for customizing the master page. It was of immnese help to us.

  13. Hi Heather,You mention that you can move them to the hidden ASP panel located at the bottom of the file. Are you referring to the asp:Panel? If so, I have been moving items I don’t want on my page into this section, but they still appear affected in the aspx page. Any ideas on what may cause this? My desire is to create blank display and edit forms that do not have all of the normal WSS3 overhead, (ie. header, side quick nav area etc.). Thanks,Scott

  14. I have a problem with creating new content (such as new discussion) when i use the custom master page; i’m not sure what’s wrong and i’ve been battling with it for a while now. Any ideas what’s the matter?~jess

  15. I have a master page created for my website which follows the default.aspx, but when i try to use it on the error.aspx it’s not working. Are there any differences between default.aspx and simple.aspx that cause this not to work?

  16. Heather, thanks very much for all this wonderful information. I suspect I use the CSS overview daily and this masterpage resides on my desktop. Seriously – I go around telling people you’re my personal hero. :)For the other people who enthusiastically move as many controls as possible to that hidden area and got rid of the Page Editing Toolbar (yeah, really hard to save pages)… you need this code:<!— — — Edit Consoles — — —><asp:ContentPlaceHolder ID=”WSSDesignConsole” runat=”server”><wssuc:DesignModeConsole id=”IdDesignModeConsole” runat=”server”/></asp:ContentPlaceHolder>Hope this saves someone else a few hours. 🙂

  17. Hi Heather,Do you know if it is possible to change the Welcome User message on the Personal Actions menu?Ours shows Welcome Lastname, Firstname but our stakeholders don’t like it.We would like to change it to show Welcome Firstname Lastname or maybe just Welcome Firstname?Thanks!Bonnie

  18. Thank you so much are a genius. I was pulling my hair out on a job for a client. This post has saved my sainty.Thanks again.

  19. Hi,I just want to ask a simple question. How am I able to use different masterpage for different contents? Is there a unique location that Im supposed to stored the masterpage? I tried to add reference to the masterpage in the same location and the error message stated that the masterpage file cant be referenced.

  20. Hi Heather…sorry to bother you!Is there any method for creating a minimal master page for wss3.0 only implementations rather than full moss?I’m trying to create a wss site that is branded to look nothing like wss but before i start i’d like some guidance from you if possibleTIADave

  21. Hello..Dan Sorensen hit the nail on the head. When is SharePoint going to be able to output XHTML-compliant code, out of the box?? We are using MOSS2007 here, and having a major battle to output even a BLANK page that is XHTML compliant.I really can’t believe that MS have such disregard for Web Standards!!!Anyway, happy coding all!-Adrian

  22. I just want to ask a simple question. How am I able to use different masterpage for different contents? Is there a unique location that Im supposed to stored the masterpage? I tried to add reference to the masterpage in the same location and the error message stated that the masterpage file cant be referenced.

  23. I’ve been plugging along customizing a SharePoint site using HeathersBaseMasterPage but when I change the sites theme via Site Settings the theme is applied to the management UI but not the public UI? Any ideas?The following works fine <style type=”text/css”> /**** Overriding styles for branding ~ located in the CSSSTyleLibrary ****/ @import url(“/CSSStyleLibrary/name.css”); .style1 { border-width: 0;} .style2 { text-align: center;} </style>But the following does not seam to be what’s controlling the theme?<meta name=”Microsoft Theme” content=”Breeze2 1011, default”>Any ideas?

  24. Cant beleive that everybody seems to suggest this as a way to customize sharepoint master page. Why there has to be such a tight coupling with so many place holders? I just want to have my own master page with my own palce holders.. How do I build it from scratch?

  25. OK, lots of questions about branding the LOGIN.ASPX page and it took me forever to finally figure out….so I will share….The simplest way is to just edit simple.master and add the following line within the HEAD tag: &LTlink rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”customtheme.css”/&GTThen put your customtheme.css in the LAYOUTS directory.My hair is pulled out so yours does not have to be!!That sucked.

  26. I have been trying to follow some of the branding how-tos and find that I do NOT have OWS.css in any of my servers. I have CORE.css, lots of theme.css, etc. I have used explorer search across all the c:/ on VMware in a 2003 R2 server instance I created I searched, on a VMware instance created by another person using the 2008 server, and lastly on a 2003 R2 server on my physical box I searched.I have done virtually no sharepoint development on any of the SP servers — it it something created only after building sollections?All the other Heather tings have worked. I have built a custom theme, a custom Master page, Installed and activated them but OWS.css seems my achilles heel.I feel stupid.Can someone tell me why it is not there?

  27. Hi,How can we have different Master Pages for a Site ? e.g. HomePage, SubPages etc.The homepage of my site is totally different then the other sub pages. If I make Custom Master for my sub pages, and apply it to the whole site, then how will I make my HomePage?There is nothing common among the homepage & sub pages.Please help, would appreciate your quick help. I am desperate !!Thanks,Gurmeet

  28. I have been working on developing a custom MOSS Publishing Site, one that caters for various different MasterPages, as well as alternative .css to cater for compatibility, etc. I first started working on IE6, but soon realised that I would have to consider changes in IE7. You can imagine the nasty surprise I got when I opened the FireFox browser (even Opera!) and there appeared to be two major issues, which I have thus far not been able to solve:1.) I have a custom RSS feed: I have applied custon style to the underlying XSLT. (FireFox renders this very differently to say the least!) Any head’s-up? :)2.) Any custom form buttons with onclick=”” (events), have somehow gotten lost. The functionaltity is simply gone. Is there some hidden FireFox directive that says lets make life as complicated as possible for Microsoft Internet Explorer?

  29. Hi, we used this base masterpage for the default environment, works good. With some minimal css modifications in our custom design and theming, it also works for the individual MySIte (<web>/mysite/personal/userid).Now we are applying this custom master to the public MySite (Person.aspx) and this doesn’t work (only the theming is caught). Our question: Are the components in the base master the same set as used in the MSDN base master and is this masterpage therefore also applicable on custom styling the public MySite?

  30. Hi,Thanks for this post. I’m having trouble with placeholder how do navigate and where to get those placeholder?Is there any pre-requisite knowledge for WSS? grrr i feel stupid :(Do sharepoint has a basic guide for placeholders?

  31. Hi,I have encountered a strange bug?? in WSS 3.0. In My Site one can see the two buttons – “Set as Default My Site” | “Create Blog” if you use Internet Explorer, but you don´t see the buttons using Firefox.Can anyone please help me solving this issue? Its the miniconsole and the <div´s it contains. I beleive changes needs to be done in the CORE.css as well, but I only see the “Create Blog” button, when I change the wikieditouter position to relative, using Firefox. But the buttons end up in another position in Internet Explorer….I really need help solving this.Thansk in before hand.

  32. THANKS!!!simple question: Themes are not being applied to the BaseMasterPage, how do I correct this problem?

  33. Hi Heather!I have a question for you. Could you let me know how can we make a few Master Pages ghostable. I mean that, I have few Master pages, one for each site collection, and there are some hundreds of site collection under a single web application. I wanna make these Master Pages ghostable after placing these files in the 12 hive. FYI, I have used a WSP to deploy these master pages into the 12 hive.Could you please help me out!Thank you,Raja

  34. Good afternoon: Well i need some help, I’m developing a site in sharepoint with FBA and i need to Customize my login page (Login.aspx), I try to change its Master Page but when i execute de site appears an Unknown Error and I don’t know what to do, Tried Changing the content of simple.master for then content of my default.master but the same thing happens an UnKnown Error then i don’t know what to do, can someone help me? thanks.

  35. I have a page that is set up in Sitebuilder 2. The width of the web page is way to long and I do not want to have people have to scroll to right and stretch my info out. I can move some of my cells to the width I want but it seems like this is anchored and there is now way to change the website page? Is there something I am missing? Like your page her is a nice width.Any help would be good. thanks so much!

  36. I am still having issues with applying at theme to my login.aspx page for forms based auth. When I use your bone stock master page from above I get a “401 UNAUTHORIZED”… However, I have noticed that if I under the HEAD tag I use the code: <SharePoint:Theme runat=”server”/> I can login to the site and then return back to the login page and instead of the default theme, it now has my theme! I just need it to use my them when you first hit the page. Thoughts? Permissions issue?Thanks,Chris

  37. Hi, I am trying to customise the default sharpeoint login page.But If I cahnge anything on the login.aspx or simple.master it gives me an error.Do you any esy idea of customising the login page without creating a custom class file or assembly,..I dont want to deploy any new class files. I jsut want the site’s master page on the login page.Please help with on this.Thanks,-Afshan

  38. I’m just starting to learn about branding and having spent ages reading all sorts of articles and getting confused it seems this masterpage is going to do the trick! I was just about to download Microsofts version…Let the Sharepoint pain begin….Thanks for providing a good post for beginners 😉

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