The first step in customizing your SharePoint site is to create a custom master page. The following steps will help you do just that (please note there are differences indicated between SP 2007 and SP 2010).
- Open SharePoint Designer (SPD) and connect to the root level of your site’s site collection.
- In SPD, open the “_catalogs” folder, then open the “masterpage” folder.
- Identify the out-of-the-box (OOTB) most like your ultimate design.
- (SP 2007) If your SharePoint’s site design is to be fixed-width and centered on the page, select BlueBand.master and copy it.
- (SP 2007) If your SharePoint’s site design is to be a liquid layout that fills the page regardless of the user’s screen resolution, select default.master and copy it.
- (SP 2010 beta) You want v4.master.
- In SPD, right-click on the master page you want to duplicate and select “Copy,” then paste it back into the same folder.
- Rename the new file something project-specific. For instance, if this master page is to be used on the sales portal, you might rename the new master page SalesPortal.master.
- Publish and approve the new master page.
- In your browser, navigate to your site’s Site Settings page. Under the “Look-and-Feel” column click “Master page.”
- Select your new master page as the site master page (the need to set the system master page will vary by project). Save the settings change.