I have a masterpage that resides on a sharepoint server, on the server designer is not installed.

Basically I want to be able to edit a master page in notepad.

Is this possible?

2 Answers 2


You can download the file from the Page Layouts and Masterpage gallery. After you have obtained it from the website, you can edit it in any text-editor you like (notepad, VS2010, etc.). When you are done you can upload the file again and see your changes.

Too bad it isn't possible to edit the file and see your changes directly when you aren't using SPD.

  • It says unable to download basic.master...
    – user879
    Commented Nov 4, 2010 at 10:48
  • 4
    In the list website/_catalogs/masterpage/Forms/AllItems.aspx you should have the option 'Send To', which has the option 'Download a copy'. If this isn't allowed in your portal, perhaps there's a permission issue on the website. Also note, you aren't meant to edit the default.master. It's better to create your own (perhaps based on the default.master) and use that masterpage throughout the website.
    – Jan_V
    Commented Nov 4, 2010 at 12:15

I wanted to do the same thing to ensure that all subsites had the same style as my main site. I too could not use SPD due to lack of administrative privaleges at my work PC. What I did was create my own CSS file in notepad. To do that I used one of the defaults in the "Style Library" folder. Once edited I uploaded my CSS file to the "Style Library" folder. Then in "Site Settings" go to "Master Page" under "Look and Feel." The last item should have the heading "Alternate CSS URL." Select "Specify a CSS file ...:" and select the CSS file uploaded earlier. Then you can select "Reset all subsites to inherit this alternate CSS URL" and all subsites will be reset and have the same fomatting as the main page.

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