I was recently tasked with quickly customizing a SharePoint site to fit the needs of a client.  In other words, making a SharePoint site not look like SharePoint.  Where do you start?  It did not sound like an easy task, but rather a matter that would require a lot of research, trial and error.  I was ecstatic to stumble upon a fantastic piece of work from Heather Solomon, a web designer specializing in SharePoint branding, layout and usability.  Heather’s Base Master Page Templates strip down master pages for your use with SharePoint 2007 sites, so you don’t have to dig through tedious lines of code and formatting; Heather has done this for you!  The templates also include helpful comment tags for the Content Placeholders so you can quickly identify them and see where they can fit into your customization.  I was able to pick and choose the features I wanted to show on the page and the rest are stored in a Hidden Content Placeholder section.

 Even someone who has never customized SharePoint before can download them and run with it.  Did I mention the templates were free!  Using Heather’s template was a huge time saver and wonderful exercise in the continuous learning process of customizing SharePoint master pages.  Kudos to Heather Solomon!