I have been tasked with developing my organizations intranet with Sharepoint 2013. I'd like to be able to brand it so it matches the look of our organization but I keep hitting road blocks so I was hoping to get some answers to some questions I am having trouble with.

My question

I would like the equivelent of a homepage on my intranet site. I have the content already prepared as seen below. I figured I could link the little photos to different subpages in sharepoint to help give the staff a more simple experience.


OK, so here's my dilemma. How do I add my body content in the middle of my intranet page? I think I am having trouble with the concept of what sharepoint is doing.

Do I need to create a page layout? Do I just hit the embed code on the ribbon on my homepage and add it that way? But what about the CSS? Do I have to style it inside the html?

I also understand there are placeholders in my html for my master page, does that have anything to do with it?

I would really appreciate some help with some direction.

Thank you in advance for any guidance!

1 Answer 1


You have indeed (at least) 3 concepts in SharePoint, each made for a different purpose:

  • The master page:
    • It controls how all common elements of the site (i.e. all pages + back-office/settings page) are displayed: the menus, the navigation, etc. It only defines placeholders for the content of the page. The content will be defined by the pages themselves.
    • It can be edited with SharePoint Designer
    • Generally speaking, you edit it only once in a while. It deals with the site design, not the page design. Only the "Administrator" (or the designer) of the site are meant to edit it, no end-user (even if they're content pubishers).
    • They can embed CSS used everywhere on the site.
  • The publishing page layouts:
    • Only available for publishing sites (publishing sites are a specific kind of sites; you create a publishing site by choosing the "Publishing" Template when creating the site; this Template is only available with SharePoint Server).
    • When creating/editing a new publishing page, the end-user (content Publisher) can choose between all available page layouts to display the content.
    • SharePoint comes with different default publishing layouts, and designers/developers can add new ones.
    • The layouts are supposed to change the way the content is displayed: they define how elements of a publishing page (article title, description, picture, body...) are displayed inside the main placeholder of the master page.
    • They can embed CSS used only for this layout.
  • The pages:
    • There are 3 types of pages:
      • Wiki page: the defaut type in Team sites. They don't use a publishing layout, and don't have a structured content. You only have a huge text area where you can enter rich text/HTML and Web part (or you can switch to a columns-mode). You can easily embed CSS for this only page by editing the HTML code.
      • Web part page: a kind of page used in SP2003/SP2007, and not really used anymore in recent versions of SharePoint, unless for backward compatibility.
      • Publishing page: the defaut type when you create a new page in a publishing site. It uses a publishing layout. It contains specific areas for the different parts of the page: the title, the description, the picture, the body... For the body, it is a rich text area, allowing you to edit the HTML code to embed CSS. That CSS will only be use on the page.

So, in your case you'd need first to identify the kind of page you're on. Then, you need to know if the CSS you want to embed is specific only to the home page, or will be used many times on different page:

  • If used only here, simply embed the CSS in the page by editing the HTML code of the Wiki page or the body of the publishing page ("embed" does not necessarily mean "inline all the CSS code": it can be a <style> linking to a CSS file hosted in a document library of the site).
  • If used on different pages accross the site, maybe you could embed the CSS into the publishing layout or into the master page.
  • Thank you so much for the help @Evariste. I THINK I am using a publishing page, but i'm not sure. Where can I look to see if I am working within a publishing page? I do remember activating the publishing feature within sharepoints settings. Yes the css will only be for the homepage Jan 1, 2017 at 21:31
  • Also would you be interested in talking offline, i can definitely provide compensation. Jan 1, 2017 at 21:33
  • In the URL, does your page appear under "Pages" or "SitePages"? "Pages" = publishing page. "SitePages" = Wiki page (or Web part page if migrated from previous version of SP)
    – Evariste
    Jan 1, 2017 at 21:46
  • this is what my url says olehealth123.sharepoint.com/SitePages/Home.aspx Jan 1, 2017 at 22:54
  • So: Wiki page it is! Meaning no publishing layout involved here. You may injectthe CSS diretly into that page by editing its HTML (button "Edit HTML" in the ribbon) or in the master page (from SharePoint Designer) if you need the same CSS everywhere on this site.
    – Evariste
    Jan 2, 2017 at 6:16

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