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I've created a master page and assigned it to the site collection using: Site Settings -> Look and Feel -> Master page

My problem is that this master page only effects pages in the "Pages" library and not the "Site Pages" library.

Is this typical behavior? How do I change the master page for "Site Pages"? Can I set a master page that will affect both?

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There are two kind of master pages in SharePoint

  1. Site Master Pages: used by all publishing pages – and only by publishing pages
  2. System Master Pages: used by everything else including forms and view pages

You cannot change the default behavior – but you can use SharePoint Designer to change the master page assignment for individual pages if required.

If you open a page in SharePoint Designer you can see a MasterPageFile setting which can be modified:

  • “~masterurl/default.master”: the page will use the system master page
  • “~masterurl/custom.master”: the page will use the site master page
  • Thanks DOM, very informative. How do I change the system master page? – user3462522 Jan 4 '16 at 22:25

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