About Master Pages

A master page is an element that you can create in your project in order to apply certain content to multiple topics. A master page is primarily used in online outputs, but it can be used in Word and FrameMaker outputs as well. Depending on the output type, you might use a master page in online output to apply features such as breadcrumbs, menus, toolbars, search bars, mini-TOCs, or footer text to multiple topics, or even all topics in a target. For Word and FrameMaker output, a master page allows you to determine page specifications (such as size or orientation) and to apply certain content (such as header text or page numbers) to many topics in a manual. For print-based outputs other than Word and FrameMaker, page layouts are used instead of master pages.

Page layouts are similar to master pages, but are more flexible and easier to use. The general rule of thumb is that page layouts are recommended for print-based output (when possible), and master pages continue to be the best method for automatically adding headers, footers, and breadcrumbs in multiple topics for online output. Another difference between page layouts and master pages is that page layouts can be used for any of the print-based outputs (Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft XPS, XHTML Book), whereas master pages can be used only for Microsoft Word and FrameMaker when creating print-based output. See About Page Layouts.

Like all other files in Flare, a master page is an XML file. It has an .flmsp extension. The traditional location to store it in the Content Explorer is in the Resources\MasterPages folder. However, you can store it anywhere in the Content Explorer that you like.