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How to create and deploy custom masterpage

Posted By:      Posted Date: September 17, 2010    Points: 0   Category :SharePoint
I am trying to build the custom masterpage and I have read and googled a bit but not getting complete hold of how to proceed. Still has lot of IFs and questions. My objective is to create a masterpage that will have completely new skin/design from default.master and also different type of navigation bar (both right & left menu bars). The menu bar will have its menu contents read from sharepoint list (or similar). I am bit confused about the above as how to proceed and which to choose for the above mentioned. Also I see doing in SPD will not be a good option if we need to deploy the masterpage across servers and doing in SPD will have portability issues. Not sure about this.   Please suggest how to proceed with the above.    Next question is once I have masterpage created, how do I deploy it ? and will it appear in masterpage galleries in site actions menu? If I want to attach an existing ASPX page to this mastersheet, what value should I specify in that ASPX page? Currently the ASPX page has something that begins like  "~sitecollection/"  thanks.  

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