Sharepoint Designer 2007 is a program created by Microsoft that will allow you to create advanced customizations to your Sharepoint site hosted by You can quickly and easily create dynamic and professional-looking Web sites — including team sites, blog sites, and a variety of Meeting Workspace sites — by using any of a wide array of site templates. The Web pages that are created from these site templates work just as they are for many organizations and purposes, but sometimes you might want to customize a page in your site, or even all of the pages in your site. For example, if you want to use a new intranet site to get your organization's sales force excited about and trained on a new product, you can base the site on the Team Site template. Then you can add text or graphics to individual pages, change the top link bar, rearrange and edit the items on the Quick Launch, and change the fonts and formatting for the site.

Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 is the tool of choice for customizing Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 sites. This article introduces you to just a few of the basic ways in which you can customize a SharePoint site by using Office SharePoint Designer 2007.

Where does the home page get its content and formatting?


The home page's content and formatting come from the default master page. Master pages are page templates that stay attached to pages. When a master page changes, all of the pages attached to it also change. Master pages make it easier to update many pages in a single operation. Master pages also make it easy to apply a consistent look and feel — including graphics, fonts, and formatting — to just a few or to all of the pages in your SharePoint site.


The default master page in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 sites is named default.master and is located in the site's _catalogs/masterpage folder. Default.master controls the formatting of the home page and of all other default pages (such as list forms). To customize the look and feel of the home page, either you can add content to the regions of the home page that are designated as editable by the default master page, or you can customize the site's default master page.


NOTE: Site home pages in Office SharePoint Server 2007 may be controlled not by default.master but rather by a different master page. Which master page the home page is attached to is determined by the site definition from which the site was created.


What are placeholders?


When you first open the home page of a SharePoint site in Office SharePoint Designer 2007, you will notice placeholders on the home page that look like the one illustrated here.



Master page placeholders define the regions on the attached pages where you can add or edit content. Placeholders also reserve spots for functionality that either is already used on the page or is reserved for future use by another program, such as Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007 or Microsoft Office Project Server 2007. Master pages in Office SharePoint Server 2007 sites have more default, required placeholders than do master pages in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 sites.


NOTE: On the region label, the placeholder name is followed by either (Master) or (Custom). Placeholders marked (Master) contain default content from a master page in the site, and placeholders marked (Custom) contain custom content that has been added to the current page.


To customize placeholder content, such as the top link bar or the Quick Launch, you must first unlock the placeholder for editing. To do this, click the arrow next to the placeholder and then click Create Custom Content.




You can customize each placeholder on a master page independently of the others. For example, you can change the styles applied to a placeholder, move it to another position on the page, or remove it altogether. However, you should remove content placeholders only with great caution. If you remove a content placeholder from your master page, every content page that supplies content for that region shows an error.



What about pages that aren't the home page?


Like the home page, all of the default pages in a SharePoint site are controlled by a master page. If you want to customize a page, you can start by entering custom content in the placeholders on the page. If there are changes that you cannot make by working in the placeholders, you can edit the master page that controls the page.


When you open any page in Office SharePoint Designer 2007, you can identify which master page controls that page's formatting by looking in the upper-right corner of Page view, where the location and name of the page are specified, as shown in the following illustration.




In this case, the page AllItems.aspx is attached to the default master page, which is located in the masterpage folder in the _catalogs folder in the site and is named default.master. Each time that you customize a page, you decide which of two kinds of customizations to make:


Customizations to a single page only, by adding or editing content in a content placeholder

Customizations to a master page, which will be reflected on all pages that are attached to that master

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Add text or a graphic to a page


After you click a content placeholder and make that area editable by clicking Create Custom Content, you can click inside the placeholder box and then start typing. You can also drag images that reside in the site from the Folder List into the placeholder.