Published: May 2010
Master pages provide the look and feel and standard behavior that you want for all of the pages in your site. Together with content pages, they produce output that combines the layout of the master page with content from the content page.
Because Microsoft SharePoint Foundation is built on top of Microsoft ASP.NET, it supports master pages for defining elements that are common to all pages. You can specify all of the shared elements of your site in the master page or pages, and add page-specific elements to content pages.
Master pages are a feature of ASP.NET. For more information about working with ASP.NET master pages, see ASP.NET Master Pages Overview .
Using master pages allows you to make the following changes in a single location:
A better editing experience for Microsoft SharePoint Foundation pages
Developers can better use their time and resources by making design changes in one place and the changes will be reflected in all pages that use the master page.
User interface reuse
Users can easily create a page with the SharePoint Foundation look and feel. By referencing the default master page, a page that is based on it gets the Microsoft SharePoint Foundation look and feel and also picks up any updates to the master page.
More consistent pages and a better end-user experience
Because all pages that are associated with a master page have the same consistent look and feel, end users can browse from a core Microsoft SharePoint Foundation page to a page added by a third-party solution or to a page that has been customized by the Web designer, and not notice a difference in the way the site looks or in how its controls work.