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I knew from previous experience that many SharePoint sites had a section under Site Settings > Look and Feel labeled "Master Page"... however I could not find this section.

Look and Feel - Master Page

There were tutorials online about specific URLs to go to, but I couldn't find any particular one that worked -- after figuring out the correct URL to follow, I was simply getting a blank page.

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    Do you have publishing features enabled? – Robert Lindgren Jan 31 '14 at 17:15
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  1. Inside the current site's Site Settings, navigate to Site Collection Administration > Site Collection Features.
  2. Activate SharePoint Server Publishing Infastructure if it's available... if it's not, you may be using SharePoint Foundation. "SharePoint Server Publishing Infastructure" setting shown after it's been activated.
  3. Navigate to Site Actions > Manage Site Features, and activate the same feature (which should now be visible.
  4. Return to Site Settings. Under Look and Feel, "Master page" should now be available.

(This is under the assumption the "Server Publishing Infastructure" feature can be enabled in your version of SharePoint.)

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    Be careful turning on Publishing features. Once they're on, you can't turn them off, and there are ramifications to consider when turning them on, like loss of MDS and loss of "save site as template". – RJ Cuthbertson Jan 31 '14 at 17:46
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Type in the URL ~site/_layouts/ChangeSiteMasterPage.aspx and you should get to the same place.

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    I saw this suggestion, but it didn't work -- if Publishing Features aren't enabled, this URL will lead to an empty, white page. :( – user22303 Feb 3 '14 at 17:17
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    You need the site collection level publishing infrastructure enabled - but you do not need the site level publishing feature. – Dave Paylor Feb 3 '14 at 20:04
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This option is enabled automatically when you select a publishing template while creating your site collection. You can still enable it manually.

The solution for this question applies for SharePoint 2010. However, for SharePoint 2016, the feature must be activated on 2 levels.

  1. site settings -> site collection administration (group) -> site collection features -> SharePoint server publishing infrastructure: Activate

  2. site settings -> site actions (group) -> manage site features -> SharePoint server publishing: Activate

Now you'll be able to see the 'Master page' option under Look and Feel

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