Creating your own master page

Though MOSS 2007 comes with a wide nice variety of master pages that you can edit and customize some times it is reallly critical for you to create your very own unique designed master page. One of our customers wanted a unique design that is already done by a third party professional design company, they gave us a nice design but not any of the MOSS 2007 standards.

We had to create our own from scratch page and that's what we did. We have started a complete blank master page and then added our creative design to it. There are a lot of Blank master pages over the web but most of them are incomplete and create some problems when you apply them and open special pages like lists related pages or settings related pages. The one attached to this article is a result of our experience and did not create any problem till now. It is tested in many real time projects.

Please report any problem, if occurred, using this master page.

Creating your own page layouts

Page layouts are used along with the MOSS 2007 master pages to define the content structure for the internal content of the pages. They all reside in the Master Page folder "_catalogs/master page", and you can easily edit any of them using SharePoint designer 2007. You can copy the nearest layout to your ideal layout, rename it, edit it and use it after you publish it. But these steps are to teach how you create a complete new page layout from scratch. Tutorials for each step are coming soon.

STEP 1: Define Site Columns

The individual content elements that appear in a page layout are derived from site columns. When you create a page layout, you can use any of the site columns already defined or define your own.

STEP 2: Define a Content Type

Page layouts have a direct relationship to a content type defined within the site. The content type is a collection of site columns, a page template, workflows, and other information that determine the appearance and behavior of a page layout. In order to create a page layout, you must create a new content type that derives from the existing Page content type. Inheriting the Page content type allows the new page layout to function correctly within the MOSS content management Feature.

STEP 3: Create the Page Layout

Page layouts are stored in Master Page and Page Layout Gallery. From this gallery, you can create a new page layout and associate it with a content type. This process makes the site columns that are defined for the content type available to the page layout as field controls that you can place on the page with the SharePoint Designer.

STEP 4: Edit the Page Layout in SharePoint Designer

Once you have created the new page layout, you must open it in the SharePoint Designer so that you can add the desired field controls. The site columns you defined as part of the content type become available in the SharePoint Designer as field controls that you can place on the page layout.

STEP 5: Publish the New Page Layout

Once the page layout is created, you must publish and approve it so that it becomes available for content authors. This process is essentially the same as publishing any item in MOSS. First the document is checked in, then it is published, and finally it is approved.

STEP 6: Create a New Page

Once the page layout is published and approved, content authors may use it to create new pages. This is done in the normal way by selecting the Create Page item from the Site Actions menu. After the page is created, the field controls may be edited to develop the actual page content.