I want to create a custom master page for my site collection. So I am planning to do the following steps:-

  1. Using sharepoint designer, to copy exsisitng seatle.master page, and then paste it.
  2. Rename the new copy to “Custom.master”.
  3. Open the “Custom.master”, add my modifications.
  4. Save, then right click and chose "set as default master page".

I read some articles which use different approaches. So I have these two questions:-

  1. Are my above steps valid, and will I lose my modification in case I did an upgrade or other processes?

  2. Is modifying the .master file the right approach or I should modify the HTML file instead?


3 Answers 3


I can confirm your assumptions. What you want to do is select seattle.HTML in SPD, hold CTRL + Drag and this will create a copy of the HTML file. This automatically generates the .Master file which you can customize and make the default master page if you like.

As far as I know, there is no upgrade that would overwrite your customized Master Page. In 2013, they force you to modify the HTML even though some site templates only contain the .Master. MS is not completely consistent with this yet and it is a pain to work with the new syntax, but here is an article that may enlighten you:


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  • now inside a previous site collection i use to modify the .master page instead, and i removed the .html version to make sure that the .master will never be overridden by its .html version. as i remember i find an article which explain how to do so and i follow the same approach (i was now to SP at theat time). but now a lot of articles mentioned that i should modify the .html instead of .master. so now my First Question; is what is wrong with modifying the .master, and second question is there a way to extract .html version for my custom .master page.
    – John John
    Nov 28, 2014 at 14:57
  • Amal already answered both of your questions correctly. The new best practice is to use HTML, I know it isn't ideal and I'm not really a fan myself Nov 28, 2014 at 15:00
  • but in-case i already have a site collection with all the modification done inside .master page. so what approach i can follow, to start modifying .html file instead ?. is creating a new .html file then apply all the changes i have inside the .master a valid approach ?
    – John John
    Nov 28, 2014 at 15:05
  • In that case, SP will use your master file and ignore the fact that there is no HTML. This is the inconsistency I mentioned Nov 28, 2014 at 15:06
  • Yes i know , but if i want to start following the recommended approach, i am thinking of creating a new Custom.html file, then apply the changes i have inside the .master to the new .html file. in this way i will have all the current modification inside the.html , and from now on i will be modifying the .html ? can u advice ?
    – John John
    Nov 28, 2014 at 15:14

There are multiple ways to create a Master Page. The way you explained is one among them.

  1. The steps are valid. But as per 2013 best practices you should use HTML file. You will not face any problems with upgrade (Provided Microsoft is not going to make drastic changes to the content placeholders)

  2. No. Instead using design manager copy the corresponding HTML file. And then upload it, which will create a new master page. And going forward use the custom html file.

  • so what is the problem with modifying the .master instead of .html ?
    – John John
    Nov 28, 2014 at 14:49
  • and i have a question let say i modify the .master page, is there a way to convert the .master to .html ?
    – John John
    Nov 28, 2014 at 14:50
  • 2013 master pages are maintained by SharePoint. Hence its not advisable to change master page directly. (If in case you modify master page, those changes will never get updated in the corresponding HTML file) Nov 28, 2014 at 14:51
  • @johnG if you change master then there is not way to convert it back to HTML Nov 28, 2014 at 14:51
  • 1
    Have you included <!--SPM:? Nov 28, 2014 at 17:48

Your steps are correct, except the number 4, I recommend you leaving it only as custom master page and not as default. If you leave it as default, all pages of lists and settings will look under the new design and you can lose functionalities under the new design.

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