A while ago, we (myself and our web developer) customized our master page. We made a copy of v4.master called v4custom.master and edited it. This was at the site collection level. Just recently, a user created a form in her site (subsite) and when she tries to edit it in SPD, it gives her the error "The Master Page file 'http://sharepoint.abc.xyz/_catalogs/masterpage/v4custom.master' cannot be loaded. Attach a different Master Page or correct the problem in Code view." I tried to navigate to that location in a browser & reports 'webpage cannot be found'. Navigating in my Site Collection, I see the master pages are located in http://sharepoint.abc.xyz/_catalogs/masterpage/Forms/AllItems.aspx.

Everything else appears to be fine. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what is causing this error?

Thank you!

3 Answers 3


This may be a conflict between the site template in the subsite and your custom master page. If your subsite is of different type compared to the parent site, the master page may assume to have different Content areas to what the subsite page layout really has.

Another thought is that if you're using Publishing features, you can inherit the master page from the parent. If you're using Team sites, you cannot just use the parent site's master page, but you will have dedicated copy of the v4.master in your Team (sub)site.

If you want to get the Team (sub)site to use same master page as the parent, you need to programmatically change the master page of the SPWeb of the subsite. You use the SPWeb.MasterUrl property.

See that every user has permissions to Style Library. There is a special group for that already, called "Style Resource Readers", so check that All authenticated users is a member of that group. Source

  • We are using Publishing features and have inherited the master page from the parent. And the subsite is using the same master page (it shows the customizations which we made).
    – user4747
    Feb 20, 2012 at 14:05
  • Can you see the .master page if you navigate to sharepoint.abc.xyz/_catalogs/masterpage using SPD?
    – Jussi Palo
    Feb 21, 2012 at 6:57
  • Yes using my account and I'm Farm Administrator.
    – user4747
    Feb 21, 2012 at 17:27
  • I recently discovered she gets the error "You do not have permission to do this operation. Ask your web site administrator to change your permissions..." first. I tried this in a test site with a test account (as subsite owner) & got the same results. With my account, it works. In case it helps, our master page customizations include adding the line <link href="/Style%20Library/customstyles.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" /> to the body section of v4custom.master. Then I uploaded the customstyles.css file to the location and also two images to Images folder in the Style Library.
    – user4747
    Feb 21, 2012 at 17:41
  • Updated the answer (added last chapter).
    – Jussi Palo
    Feb 22, 2012 at 7:42

make sure you check-in and publish your custom master-page cause another user cannot see your work if your master-page not published yet..

  • Thanks. I did think to check that and it is checked in & published.
    – user4747
    Feb 15, 2012 at 12:18

I looked into this myself and discovered that our user didn't have access to the master page gallery on the -site collection-. Once I provisioned read access to the master page gallery on the site collection, the user was able to get in.

David K

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