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I have a custom html masterpage for publishing sites in SP2013, and want the system masterpage to match. Unfortunately, I don't have access to Designer, so I would need to create things in Design Manager. There isn't anything extremely complicated in my custom masterpage - about the only modification I've made is to have a quicklaunch accordion. I'm wondering what are some of the best practices for creating custom system masterpages and/or is this process different than creating a regular custom masterpage for site pages. In SP2010, I just usually copied my custom masterpage and made it a system masterpage as well. Thanks.

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Yes, there is a major enhancement for creating custom master page between SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013.

SharePoint 2013 introduce the design manager that is a publishing feature that is available in publishing sites in both SharePoint Server 2013 and Office 365.

With Design Manager, you can create a visual design for your website by using whatever web design tool or HTML editor you prefer, using only HTML and CSS, and then upload that design into SharePoint.

To create a copy from existing master page in your site, you should do the following

  • Open your site > site setting > the web designer gallery > Master page and layouts.
  • From the above ribbon > click open in explorer.
  • Copy only the HTML file of your master page that automatically generate the the .master file.
  • Just select the HTML file of your master page > and from the above ribbon > click publish.
  • To set the master page as a system master page. Go to site setting > look and feel > master page > and besides system master page > select your custom master page.

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  • Check Reset all subsite if you need to apply this custom system master page for all subsites.

Note You can also achieve the above steps via SharePoint Designer, butI have considered you already not have access to designer.

To create a new custom master page from HTML file in SharePoint 2013 via design manager, you should do the following:

  • First You should have a publishing site or team site with publishing features enabled.
  • Go to site setting > web designer gallery > Master page and layouts > upload your HTML file.
  • Go back to site setting > Look and Feel > click on design manager.
  • Select your uploaded HTML file > click on Convert an HTML file to a SharePoint master page.
  • Wait until the conversation completed and the status should be conversation successful
  • Click on the converted file to preview the page.
  • To publish your master page as a major version by going to Go to site setting > the web designer gallery > Master page and layouts > select your converted page > and from the above ribbon click publish.

  • To set the master page as a system master page. Go to site setting > look and feel > master page > and besides system master page > select your custom master page.

  • Check Reset all subsite if you need to apply this custom system master page for all subsites.

  • Thanks for your thorough explanation! Much appreciated.. however, if you note, I already said I know how to create masterpages w/ Design Manager. This question was geared to the system masterpage specifically... as in, what kind of code should or shouldn't go in there. For instance, since system runs the Settings.aspx page, I noticed things like flex-box for the topnav don't work on that page. This is what I meant by 'best practices.' Thanks for your efforts anyway. – user2004758 Dec 21 '16 at 21:16
  • No problem , you are welcome, but I have mentioned all details as I understand from question, there is not any diff between creating system master page , and site master page, In my answer I have mentioned also how to take a copy from current master page and edit it with your changes ! then set it as system master page ! I have read your question more times before answer it to make sure it will match your requirements :) – Mohamed El-Qassas MVP Dec 21 '16 at 21:22
  • I also considered you don't have designer, meanwhile if you ask about changes in code, there's no difference, just set your new master page in system master page section as I have mentioned in my attached screenshot, anyway I am glad to try to help you and wish to read my answer and comments again that hope to help you :) – Mohamed El-Qassas MVP Dec 21 '16 at 21:31

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