Using master pages

Using master pages

Xway b5 adds support for master pages. There is a chapter devoted to them in the updated version of the user guide (select Xway User Guide in Xway’s Help menu).

There are some differences between Xway master pages and Freeway master pages:

  1. Xway distinguishes style properties (Use Master Style) from HTML attributes (Use Master Attributes). Freeway groups both together (Use Master Settings).

  2. Changing the master page that is set on an instance page should not cause content to be duplicated or deleted.

  3. Instance pages are not deleted when their master page is deleted.

  4. It is possible for master pages to have their own master pages.

Adding master pages to an old document

There is a section in the Xway User Guide that describes how to do this, but the process is actually very simple.

  1. If you created a document using template pages (as described in the previous version of the Xway tutorial), you can convert these into master pages by dragging them into the Master Pages folder. Xway will rename the template page as Master 1 (you can choose a different name if you wish) and will use it as the default master page whenever you add a new site page to your document.

  2. Once you have converted a template page into a master page, you can set it as the master page for other site pages. Select each of the pages that were originally duplicated from the template page and set the Master Page popup in the Page section of the Page Inspector to Master 1.

The b4 sample documents that are on our website (Ambient and Ambient Light) can be converted in about a minute. You should find that setting a master page causes Use Master Content to be turned on for each box except main and navigation. The main box contains content that is specific to each page, while the navigation box has no link to the current page.

If you would like to practise converting template pages in a sample document, you can download the old (b4) versions from our website via the Legacy resources link on our website.


I was in the process of starting a new copy setting up my new site when I saw that B5 has been launched. As I am mid way creating pages I duplicated what I am doing so I still had the original to be on the safe side.

No problem dragging the template page and converting it to Master1. Then converted each page I have created so far without problem. All boxes now saying ‘Use Master content’ with one exception apart from the navigation and main boxes. The footer box is not and I cannot see why. Do I just put a tick in the box to apply it?

Hi David,

Absolutely! Try it and see if anything changes. It’s easy to undo if anything goes wrong. There should be some subtle difference, or Use Master Content should have been set automatically. If you don’t see any difference after ticking the checkbox, can you send me a copy of your document (as it was before you ticked the box)? The way to do this would be to duplicate it and remove any unnecessary pages. I don’t need the original resources or anything, just the document. Send it (or a download link) to support at softpress dot com.

Thanks Jeremy. I seem to have sorted it. I must have had something not quite correct, not sure what but I made another copy of the original and restarted the conversion and now have all the boxes, with the exception of navigation and main, as expected, using Master content. I have been using the tutorial as a source of information and adapting it to my site. I think I am slowly beginning to understand how Xway works but to me it is very different from many years using Freeway. I think I now have the base of my site and links working. Hopefully I can progress from there.

Glad it’s working. The most basic difference between Xway and Freeway is that it is designed to create flexible CSS layouts, and this does require a different approach compared with Freeway table layouts - which were beguilingly similar to print layouts. But the end result is worth it! Most people view websites from mobile devices (phones or tablets) these days.