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Automate Configuration of Site and System Master Pages


The question posed is as follows: Is it possible to Automate the Site configuration of Site and System Master Pages in the O365 online environment using workflow, a web service or a combination of workflow/web service or any other way??

1. Go to Site Settings

2. Look and Feel->Master Pages

3. Specify Site Master Page and Specify System Master Page (select from drop down)

The use case for the above requirement is as follows. We have a parent site with many project sub sites that are automatically created from a custom site template as projects are registered at the parent Site level. These project sub sites are created by the Nintex workflow which uses the action Office 365 create site. It would seem

that it would be standard for someone to want to automate the configuration of settings that can only be configured after a feature such as SharePoint Server Publishing has been enabled. SharePoint Server Publishing is not enabled in the template.

The requirement is to automate the configuration of the Site and System master pages.

I have done some reading/research but I don't have a clear answer for this this requirement in the O365 context.

Firstly is it possible to do? If so, how can one go about implementing this solution.

Looking forward to the discussions/comments.

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3 Replies
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Re: Automate Configuration of Site and System Master Pages

Issue resolved by:

1. Making sure that at the Site Collection Level we specify the desired Master and System page.

2. Specify a CSS file to be used by this site and all sites that inherit from it


4. Either Re-Create the template used at the sub-site level OR

Force the Master page on the Template to use the desired Master and System Master pages:,-inherit-theme-and-mas...

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Re: Automate Configuration of Site and System Master Pages

I found that the above resolution described is only true for some scenarios.

I have found an undesired Master Page/System Master page behaviour with the automation WF outlined below. The sub site does not correctly inherit the Master Page/System Master Page configuration when the Call HTTP Web Service is used to enable the SharePoint Server Publishing Feature within an App Step.

I have a WF that does the following:

1. Automatically creates a site sub site

2. Enables SharePoint Server Publishing feature (SSPF) on the sub site (Activate Site Feature - SharePoint Server Publishing (is this possible to do this automatically in O... ), thanks to Aaron Prince

3. Set's user and group permissions on the sub site (O365 create site with unique permissions and add groups with custom permissions )

The reason the Call HTTP Web Service function is within an App Step is because: in the instance where another user (other than myself) with contribute permissions initiates the workflow, step 2. in the above process fails with an "unauthorized" error. When using the Call HTTP Web Service functionality, credentials (with elevated permissions) are not passed through and hence the user with insufficient permission to enable the SSPF gets declined.

I have full permissions and so when running the above WF process outside of the App Step, the SSPF was activated successfully AND the Master/System Master Page configuration was inherited correctly. However, the result is the same for me as for other users when the Call HTTP Web Service functionality is run within the App Step.

Any thoughts/comments are welcome

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Nintex Newbie

Re: Automate Configuration of Site and System Master Pages

This is a great method to achieve these results. Thank you for the detail in your response and noting the other posts. I use the activate feature often now.

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