All about _Layouts and _catalogs files in SharePoint 2013

This SharePoint tutorial, we will discuss _Layouts and _Catalogs files in SharePoint 2013/2016. As soon as you install SharePoint, you might have noticed that there are some physical folders get creates under “C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\Web Server Extensions”. Depending on the version of SharePoint you can see the folder with the names as 11 / 13 / 15/16.

In SharePoint there are 2 kinds of files we can see, they are:

  • Ghostable
  • Un-Ghostable

Ghostable Files: These are the files get render from physical folders/path and can’t be editable by the user.

Note: If you want to edit you should open those files in SharePoint designer. As soon as you edit the file it will get save in content database of that site collection.

Ex: Site / List settings pages

Un-Ghostable: The files get loaded from the content database can be edited by the user at any point of time.

Ex: All the pages rendering from Site pages folder.

In this article, I would like to discuss in detail about a few important files rendering from _Layouts & _Catalogs folders.

SharePoint _Layouts and _catalogs files

1. To close the connection & Log-in as different User:
From SharePoint 2010 onwards Microsoft has disabled the option of log-in as a different user. To achieve this we can make use of file “/_layouts/15/closeConnection.aspx” to this file we can send the query string as login as a different user. The final URL to make use of this file is: