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8 Popular, Free SharePoint Master Pages in One Single Solution Package

WSP Solution and Source Code Download Link.

Disclaimer: This WSP solution is not compatible with Office 365 and cannot be uploaded as a sandboxed solution.

We at Riolinx recently felt that we should improve the visual experience of our demos and not rely on the out-of-the-box user interface of SharePoint 2010. After all, that makes sense since our product, Extradium for SharePoint, mostly deals with SharePoint Extranet and SharePoint Internet sites (most commonly referred to as SharePoint “public-facing” sites). And as we know, SharePoint public-facing sites rarely have the look and feel of the “stock” SharePoint sites.

I thus started to scour the web in search of nice and free master pages that we could use and found that there were quite a few brilliant initiatives. However, most of them had either been built with SharePoint Designer (and thus relied a lot on a specific structure that had been built with and for SharePoint Designer) or were only compatible with SharePoint Server 2010 and not SharePoint Foundation 2010. My goal for this mini-project was two-foId:

  1. One-Click Deployment: I wanted to be able to easily switch from one master page to another on any SharePoint site , without having to deploy many different files through SharePoint Designer
  2. Compatibility with SharePoint Foundation: Because many of the master pages I found relied of Publishing navigation controls and site map providers or used SharePoint Server-specific constructs (such as $SPUrl for CssRegistration and other references), the master pages had to be slightly modified in order to work on any site (no matter which url it had) and work on SharePoint Foundation-only sites (by replacing references to SharePoint Server-specific controls with their SharePoint Foundation equivalents).

The outcome of this small project is, as you may have guessed already, a custom SharePoint Master Pages WSP solution that you can download and install right away. You can also browse ourExtradium Demo Site (click on Free Master Pages Demo in the top navigation bar to check out each of the 8 master pages).

The Master Pages (and Themes) that are available in this package are the following:

  1. The Master Page (courtesy of Kanwal Khipple)
  2. The Metro UI Master Page (courtesy of Kanwal Khipple)
  3. The beautiful (my personal favorite) “v5″ Master Page (courtesy of Kyle Schaeffer)
  4. The SharePoint 2010 HTML5 Master Page (courtesy of Daniel Kline)
  5. The Simple Master Page (courtesy of
  6. The Synesthesia Master Page (courtesy of Luis Kerr)
  7. The GreenShade Master Page (courtesy of Luis Kerr)
  8. The Tendance Master Page (courtesy of Luis Kerr)

Note: the Simple Master Page won’t work well if the SharePoint Server Search Web Application features are activated on the site’s web application (specifically the search control won’t show up as advertised).

 There was one last challenge to solve: by default, SharePoint Foundation doesn’t provide an easy way to switch from one master page to another. Fortunately, Renaud Comte and Olivier Mangelschots have been kind enough to provide a great solution to that problem: the Stramit SharePoint 2007 Master Picker and the SharePoint 2010 Master Page Picker. However, since I wanted to provide one single solution without any dependencies, I have repackaged the SharePoint 2010 Master Page Picker into my WSP solution, so you won’t have to download and install any of the previous 2 solutions. Just follow the installation instructions below and you’ll be all set! Note that the whole source code of the Visual Studio solution is also provided with the package so that you can easily modify those master pages and update the solution package.

Installation Instructions 
  1. Download the Riolinx SharePoint Master Pages WSP package
  2. Unzip the package to any folder on your SharePoint server
  3. Navigate to the WSP sub-folder and run the InstallSolution.bat script
  4. After the solution has been globally deployed, navigate to the Site Collection Features page of your site collection and activate the following 2 features:

  5. Navigate back to the Site Settings page of your site and select the Select Master Page link:

  6. Notice that all the Free Master Pages are now available:
  7. Pick one of the master pages highlighted in the screenshot above and enjoy the new look and feel of your SharePoint site.
  8. You can also apply one of the 4 “Simple Themes” by selecting the Site theme link in the Look and Feel section of the Site Settings page and select one of the 4 themes highlighted below:


    That’s it! I hope you’ll find the deployment process as easy as I tried to make it. As always, please leave your thoughts and feedback below.

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