SharePoint branding tricks and tips

I had an issue with this when I started up my SharePoint 2013 VM. I couldn’t start the MSSqlserver due to a log on error.

I found these steps that seemed to fix the issue.

Steps are:

  • Right click on the Service in the Services mmc
  • Click Properties
  • Click on the Log On tab
  • The password fields will appear to have entries in them…
  • Blank out both Password fields
  • Click “OK”

If that doesn’t work try adding the account and password again.

I’ve seen a number of blogs about adding script to the page to render promoted links without pagination and while some work others don’t. Some of the ones that do work now either seem not to work due to an update from Microsoft or don’t work with more than one promoted links web part on the page.

if you’re finding the same issues there is an extremely easy fix, Custom CSS. Add this snippet bellow to a script editor on the page and it’ll fix all your issues.

<style type=”text/css”>.cell-margin {
margin: 10px;
}.ms-promlink-body {
position: relative;
width: 100%;
height: inherit;
float: left;
left: 0px;


First thing to note with editing the master page on SP 2013 is that it isn’t the master file you’ll be editing it’s the html element of the master page. Creating your own from scratch is simple to do if you know HTML and CSS. Just create your html as you would a web site and then upload it, Design manager gives you the code snippets to add the many SharePoint controls and then all you’ll need is to publish it.


One issue you’ll probably find and which is a know issue is the editing of the oslo.html file will break the add an app and change the look pages. Luckily there is a fix for this which is reasonably simple just by setting these place holders to visible=”true” it’ll work again, that’s if they are set to false in the first place which you probably find is the case. Place holders that need changing are DeltaPlaceHolderLeftNavBar, PlaceHolderLeftNavBar, DeltaPlaceHolderPageTitleInTitleArea, and PlaceHolderPageTitleInTitleArea.

On a recent project I was asked to add a custom column to the people search results and thought I’d share the steps. The column name was for the Telephone Extension, change this in the code bellow with your column name.

  1. In central admin go to Application Management > Manage service Applications
  2. Select User Profile Default SA and click the Manage User Properties
  3. Select New Property and fill in the details as bellow


  1. Once this has been done Run a full crawl.
  2. Navigate to the Search site on the site collection
  3. Edit the page and edit the “People Search Core Results” web part
  4. Open the “display properties” menu and uncheck the “Use Location Visualization” checkbox
  5. Click the “XSL Editor” button
  6. Search for the line  <xsl:variable name=”haswph”       select=”string-length(workphone) &gt; 0″/> and add this line of xsl after it on the line bellow <xsl:variable name=”haste”       select=”string-length(telephoneextension) &gt; 0″/>
  7. Then search for this few lines of code

<xsl:if test=”$haswph”>
<li id=”PhoneField”>
<xsl:apply-templates select=”hithighlightedproperties/workphone” />

And add the following below it

<xsl:if test=”$haste”>
<li id=”TelephoneExtension”>
<xsl:when test=”hithighlightedproperties/telephoneextension”>
<xsl:call-template name=”HitHighlighting”>
<xsl:with-param name=”hh” select=”hithighlightedproperties/telephoneextension” />
<xsl:value-of select=”telephoneextension” />

  1. Save and then edit the properties window above the xsl editor option . select all and add this code over it removing the present code with the code listed bellow

<Columns>         <Column Name=”WorkId”/>      <Column Name=”UserProfile_GUID”/>                <Column Name=”AccountName”/>           <Column Name=”PreferredName”  HitHighLight=”true”/>            <Column Name=”YomiDisplayName” HitHighLight=”true”/>           <Column Name=”JobTitle” HitHighLight=”true”/>                 <Column Name=”Department” HitHighLight=”true”/>   <Column Name=”WorkPhone”  HitHighLight=”true”/>    <Column Name=”TelephoneExtension”  HitHighLight=”true”/> <Column Name=”OfficeNumber” HitHighLight=”true”/> <Column Name=”PictureURL”/>               <Column Name=”HierarchyUrl”/>               <Column Name=”WorkEmail”  HitHighLight=”true”/>       <Column Name=”Path”/>                 <Column Name=”HitHighlightedSummary”/>     <Column Name=”HitHighlightedProperties”/>   <Column Name=”Responsibility” HitHighLight=”true”/>    <Column Name=”Skills” HitHighLight=”true”/>   <Column Name=”SipAddress” HitHighLight=”true”/>         <Column Name=”Schools” HitHighLight=”true”/>             <Column Name=”PastProjects” HitHighLight=”true”/>      <Column Name=”Interests” HitHighLight=”true”/>          <Column Name=”OrgNames” HitHighLight=”true”/>          <Column Name=”OrgUrls”/>      <Column Name=”OrgParentNames” HitHighLight=”true”/>            <Column Name=”OrgParentUrls”/>        <Column Name=”Memberships” HitHighLight=”true”/>   <Column Name=”AboutMe” HitHighLight=”true”/>         <Column Name=”BaseOfficeLocation” HitHighLight=”true”/>         <Column Name=”ServiceApplicationID”/>           <Column Name=”SocialDistance”/> </Columns>

12.   Once this is done and the search crawl is finished save the page and search for a person making sure their profile has the Telephone Extension property filled in

Something that always has a big affect on the branding of SharePoint is the browser support.

Looking at the current support for browsers it’s not looking too bad with them removing IE7 now as well as IE6. The planed support is listed below

Browser Supported Supported with limitations Not supported
Internet Explorer 9
32-bit 64-bit
Internet Explorer 8
32-bit 64-bit
Internet Explorer 7
Internet Explorer 6
Google Chrome (latest public release version)
Mozilla Firefox (latest public release version)
Apple Safari (latest public release version)

SharePoint 2013 Blog app

Looking into SharePoint 2013 and I found this neat little app that connects you to your blog site using word.

Once you’ve created your blog site you’ll notice the usual Blog tools web part in the right hand corner of your page content, there’s a few new items in the list one of which is the Launch Blogging app.

Make sure you’ve got you’re site open in Internet Explorer and click on the link. This will open word and ask you to enter the information for your new SharePoint Blog account, enter the URL and click OK it’ll ask you to log in and then you’ll see your Word Blog post template. Entering content and then all you’ll need to do is publish and it’ll post your article onto your blog site. Easy as that.

If you’ve created more than one blog site you’ll have the option to switch between the two so you don’t need to log into the different sites to upload a post.

Content place holders in a master page can be useful things used for rendering controls on a page layout in a different area of the master page or to remove a control from a specific layout. Also it helps to get around not being able to add a web part or web part zone to a master page and then not being able to edit it in the browser ( even though it involves having to have custom page layouts if you want it to render).

The great thing is you’re not fixed with the Out of the box SharePoint place holders you can create as many as you want as long as the ID doesn’t conflict.

on the master page add the content place holder  <asp:ContentPlaceHolder id=“CustomName” runat=”server”></asp:ContentPlaceHolder> and add this to your page layout <asp:Content runat=”server” ContentPlaceHolderID=”CustomName”></asp:Content>. You’ll now be able to place a control or web part into the page layout and it will render in the master page, So now editing the page you’re using in the browser will allow you to edit the web part or alow you to add one if you’re using it as a web part zone.


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