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Jeremy Jameson - Founder and Principal

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Master Page Not Inherited by Document Center Sites

Note
This post originally appeared on my MSDN blog:

Since I no longer work for Microsoft, I have copied it here in case that blog ever goes away.

This isn't a recent discovery -- I first encountered this in late Februrary -- but I realized that I had not yet covered this issue in my blog.

If you happen to be using the Document Center template in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 for a site and you also elect to use a custom master page (really any master page other than default.master -- including BlueBand.master, BlackBand.master, etc.) then you will notice that the Document Center site does not inherit the master page. Sure, you can go to the Site Master Page Settings for the parent site, select a different master page, check the Reset all subsites to inherit this Site Master Page setting checkbox, and click OK as many times as you want, but it is not going to make any difference. The Document Center site will always look like it is rendered with default.master.

Evidently the root of the issue is related to the fact that the Document Center exposes links (e.g. View All Site Content and Site Hierarchy) to _layouts/viewlsts.aspx directly to end users (these "system pages" are typically only used by administrators and contributors). The Document Center has its own master page (and I believe the underlying pages are hardcoded to use that master page, which is why you cannot explicitly select a different master page for the Document Center site).

The workaround is to overwrite the default.master in the _catalogs/masterpage library of the Document Center site. Fortunately SharePoint Designer makes this very easy -- although it would be nice to "script" this so that we did not have to do this manually after rebuilding our site in DEV and TEST. Perhaps I'll get around to automating this someday.

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