SharePoint 2013 Starter Master Pages – Beta Release 12

So, I’ve been quiet lately, but it hasn’t been for lack of work on SharePoint 2013… I have a Halloween treat for everyone! A new release of my Starter Master Pages for SharePoint 2013. These will work with the RTM release of SharePoint Foundation and Server 2013, but please consider them beta at this point at least until I get some initial feedback from the community.

UPDATE: All of my starter master pages can now be found here:

Here is a quick FAQ about this release:

Why do we need starter master pages now that SharePoint Server 2013 includes the design manager with the ability to create minimal master pages and convert HTML designs into functioning master pages?

Great question, here are a few things that come to mind:

  • The Design Manager is a feature that is only available with the for pay SharePoint Server license through the publishing feature (also available in SharePoint Online in various capacities). If you have a Foundation server or do not have access to the Publishing feature, you will not have access to the Design Manager
  • The Design Manager master pages do not include any commenting and are not spaced for readability. In some cases the markup is overly complicated for what it does. I have attempted to address all of these concerns with the Starter Master Pages
  • Master pages created with the Design Manager (via new minimal master page or a converted HTML file) are not 100% compatible with collaborative Team sites. This is because of something called the Minimal Download Strategy or MDS which is turned on by default in any team site. This feature speeds up loading of pages by passing page requests through start.aspx and only loading the visual differences between pages. If you apply a Design Manager master page to a Team site with this feature turned on you will see what I call a double page load for each page you visit.
  • If you have an existing branded SharePoint 2010 site and would like to migrate your branding to 2013 you will most likely want to just make the bare minimum of changes. These Starter Master Pages would be good for that scenario
  • If you are skilled with SharePoint branding already from previous versions you may find using a Starter Master Page more familiar than using the Design Manager.

What sort of scenarios are supported with these Starter Master Pages?

I have tried to include a Starter Master page for most scenarios. Here are the master pages that are included and their intended usage:

  • Starter PubCollab – A good starting place for SharePoint Server intranet portal or team sites that may or may not have publishing. Publishing sites and Team sites with MDS both work with this master page.
  • Starter Publishing – An example publishing portal. Not intended for use with MDS / team sites. Simplified markup by removing anything that needs MDS and using a smaller ribbon control.
  • Starter MySiteHost – Starter Master Page for the My Sites host (you will obviously need to work with the MySite host site collection to use this).
  • Starter Foundation – Starter Master Page for Foundation sites or standard team sites. Does not include any SharePoint Server specific code.
  • Starter DesignManager.html – HTML based starter master page for use with the Design Manager in SharePoint Server 2013 (not compatible with MDS / Team sites). I have tried to improve readability and spacing for this HTML based master page. I want to point out one gotcha with this. When you publish this HTML file, SharePoint will reformat and re-tab the source of the HTML file in the process of updating the associated master page. If you want to ensure the nice formatting stays always resave the HTML file after publishing it (be careful because your editor will likely pickup the changes and ask you if you want to keep them).

How do I use these Starter Master Pages?

In SharePoint 2013 you can map a network drive to your Master Page Gallery and from here you can add the whole StarterBranding folder that is included with the zip file. This includes a couple place holder images and the beginnings of a stylesheet… which can all live in the Master Page Gallery just fine in 2013.

Once you add them, if you have SharePoint Server it should convert the Starter DesignManager.html to Starter DesignManager.master and relate the two together automatically. For that one you would edit the HTML file and then publish it before applying to your site. For the other .master files, you can edit them directly and then publish the master page and apply it to your site using the typical methods.

Well that’s about it. Please give them a try and let me know any comments or questions you may have. I’m quite certain they will need to updated in the near future once the community tries them out and sends notes.

12 thoughts on “SharePoint 2013 Starter Master Pages – Beta Release

  1. Reply Jose Luis Serrano Fernandez Nov 30,2012 8:14 am


    please how this can be imported in a Visual Studio 2012 sharepoint project?


  2. Reply chayadigital Dec 14,2012 11:18 am

    Wonderful! What are the implications regarding an upgrade from 2010 design implementation that is solution based to a 2013 design implementation? What is the recommended path or the path of least resistance? Thoughts?

  3. Reply zowie warren Jan 19,2013 8:14 am

    Design Manager is now available when I use the publishing portal site template which give users a new and easy way to brand Share Point.that allow designers to create feel for a SharePoint site using tools.

  4. Reply Unknown Jan 22,2013 7:18 am

    I have tried the publishing master page and it looks like there is a problem with the edit web part popup window. It doesn’t render in visible page area. Any chance for a quick fix for this issue?

  5. Reply Unknown Jan 24,2013 3:20 am

    Masterfully quick fix. Thank you.

  6. Reply Unknown Jan 24,2013 5:04 pm

    I am having the same issue as “Unknown” above:

    “I have tried the publishing master page and it looks like there is a problem with the edit web part popup window. It doesn’t render in visible page area.”

    Any quick fixes for that?


  7. Reply Randy Drisgill Jan 24,2013 5:21 pm

    Try re-downloading the starter master pages, I updated the publishing one after the comment to fix the issue.

    The short answer is you need an element with id=”DeltaPlaceholderMain” runat=”server” somewhere on the page. SharePoint finds that element and wraps a table around it (ack!?) when you bring up the web part editor menu.

  8. Reply Ovidiu Feb 26,2013 5:12 pm

    Thanks for great work!
    I have just one observation about masterpage (publishing starter).
    If it’s missing SPWebPartManager from body than SQL Server Reporting Services Report Viewer isn’t working properly if the report have params and I need to click apply after select params
    In starter masterpage you have in header SPWebPartManager but we need this in body


  9. Reply Randy Drisgill Feb 26,2013 5:26 pm

    Ovidiu, thanks for the comment. I have seen that WP manager both in and out of the body. I wasn’t sure which was correct.

  10. Reply techp Sep 6,2013 4:27 pm

    I am trying to use the starter master pages as is in SharePoint Online 2013. I cant see the master page itself in designer master page gallery or using the UI. If i try to add the master page again I get prompted that asks if I want to overwrite. What could I be doing wrong here?

  11. Reply GeorgeBR Feb 4,2014 7:33 am

    Microsoft giveth with one hand, and take away with the other! I have customised master pages and now any pages with “Term-Driven Page with Friendly URL” don’t show the Global Navigation Menu.

    I customised the master pages by hand, I found the Design Manager FAR MORE COMPLEX than doing it by hand. Don’t let Microsoft convince you the Design Manager makes it easier – it just means you have to learn a whole new set of problems. Microsoft just keep doing this – coming out with a simplified option which actually turns out to be far more complex!

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