Working on branding an old sharepoint solution. Working on a machine where a sharepoint application has been previously set up and all the pages and page layouts have already been deployed. All I need to do is brand it. Just one thing remains now - adjusting the size of the webpartZones. To do that I have to be able to edit the Page Layout files. There are 2 Page Layouts in the solution. The first page layout can be updated by simply overwriting the file in the Sharepoint root directory. When reloading the browser and displaying the page that use this layout, the changes will be reflected instantly.

The second page layout however seems impossible to update! No matter what I do to the layout, the changes will never reflect on the pages that use it.

  • Overwriting the file in the root directory has no effect.
  • Checking it out, editing it and checking it back in via Sharepoint Designer also has no effect.
  • I also tried detaching and reattaching the page layout from on of the pages that used it. Thought that might help, but it just screwed up the page completely, resulting in a completely blank page. Had to revert to the previous version to get the page back to normal again.

Why on earth doesn't the page layout changes reflect on the pages that use it?

Before you ask:

  • Yes, I've made sure the changes I make would be visible if they were applied. Currently I've filled the page layout with a bunch of h1 tags to make sure the changes be instantly visible if it was reflected on a page.
  • It can't be a caching issue. I've been having the issue for days and have restarted IIS and cleaned the cache multiple times.
  • have verified that the pages I'm looking at are actually using this page layout. I've used the Sharepoint Manager tool and look at a page, and sure enough - the pageLayout property says it's using my page layout.
  • Unfortunately I can't easily try deleting the existing page layout and uploading a new one. Since a bunch of pages already use the layout, it apparently can't be deleted while those pages still use it.
  • Did you publish and approve your page layout?
    – Alexander
    Feb 28, 2013 at 9:22
  • Yep, always make sure it's approved every time I've tried to update it Mar 1, 2013 at 7:33

2 Answers 2


Checking it out, editing it and checking it back in via Sharepoint Designer also has no effect.

^ adding more injury to the already existing issue.

When pagelayouts are edited in SharePoint Designer OR if they have been manually uploaded they become Ghosted. This means that they have been removed from the Site definition and can no longer be edited outside of SharePoint.

If you are sure that the pagelayout was originally deployed: Go to the masterpage gallery in SharePoint Designer, right-click on the file and select "Reset to site definition" and you should be able update the pagelayout again.

If it was uploaded manually at some point, you have a bad case on your hands. It is fixable but it's a painful process.


did you try to unghost your page layout?

see this post maybe it helps,


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