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I've used sharepoint designer in the past to create my custom master pages. I personally do not like sharepoint designer because it's so buggy (slow, shuts down unexpected, ect). With all the new stuff in VS 2010 for sharepoint is it possible to create a master page from scratch?

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what version of SharePoint? –  Dave Wise May 18 '12 at 21:54
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3 Answers 3

Visual Studio 2010 does not actually allow you to visually see what is going on with your master page, so it would better to keep SharePoint Designer 2010 as being the best and only tool doing it. It has greatly improved from SharePoint 2007, really had excellent experiences.

You could then use VS2010 to help you build the solution package to properly deploy all artifacts related to your branding solution. See here for a ready solution http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg447066.aspx

Heather Solomon and Randy Drisgill are the references in branding SharePoint, search for their names on the web.

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I would highly recommend you to start with the Starter Master Pages project by Randy Drisgill over at codeplex - http://startermasterpages.codeplex.com/.

In my openion its the best starting point to create a custom master page in SharePoint 2010...

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my question has to do with how to create master pages in visual studio. –  ironman99 May 21 '12 at 13:09
    
You can work with the starter master page in visual studio too... Creating a master page from scratch in SharePoint is not something you want to get into. You’ll have to make sure you add all the required placeholders and such. Using the starter master page of Randy’s you get all the required components already added and you are free to work on your design. –  JohnnyT May 22 '12 at 8:27
    
I'll upvote this one as well as the accepted answer. Randy's starter pages are a great starting alternative to working with the vanilla master deployed with out of the box SharePoint. Using his starter still fits with what you're asking about. Load master into Visual Studio, start your customizing, and you're off to the races. –  webdes03 May 24 '12 at 20:32
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I was able to implement a custom master page using visual studio only. This site helped out a lot. Hope someone else can get use of it as well.

http://rburgundy.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/sharepoint-2010-custom-masterpage-with-code-behind-file-%E2%80%93-part-1/

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The best practice approach is to create/deploy branding solutions (masterpages, page layouts, etc.) with Visual Studio, so you're on the right track. In extreme cases where you need that visual aid, you can work with the master in SPD and pull that into Visual Studio (as the previous poster suggested), but the vast majority of the time it's not worth the additional effort, especially with VS2010's F5 quick deploy which lets you easily test deploy your solution. –  webdes03 May 24 '12 at 20:30
    
i totally agree... i hope that Microsoft improves the ide in vs... i really like the improvements to vs2010, but like you like - and others - unfortunately there is no visual... they probably ran out of time before the push :) that's happen to me :) –  ironman99 May 24 '12 at 21:59
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