How to Set SharePoint 2010 Page Layout Defaults
The default page layout in SharePoint 2010 differs according to the type of site you're in. The default page layout is the assumed most common page layout needed for the site. (This choice can be changed in the Site Settings by accessing the Master Pages and Page Layouts link, however.) The default page layout for publishing sites is an Article page, Body Only.
In the interest of standardization and ease of use, define which page layouts users can use to create new pages. SharePoint 2010 gives you quite a few choices when it comes to controlling the default choices for site templates, page layouts, and inheritance of these settings in your site collection.
To define the page layouts available for use in a site:
Select Site Actions→Site Settings.
The Site Settings page is displayed, oddly enough.
Locate the Look and Feel section and click the Page Layouts and Site Templates link.
The Page Layout and Site Template Settings page appears. This page shows three sections: Subsite Templates, Page Layouts, and New Page Default Settings.
In the first and second section, you can inherit what's been chosen at the parent level, choose any/all options, or select your own choices for this subsite on down.
The third section, New Page Default Settings, allows you to determine whether you want to inherit the default page layout of the parent or choose your own.
(Optional) Use the radio buttons and list items to specify options for site templates.
You can specify that subsites inherit the same settings applied to their parent site (select the Subsites Inherit Site Templates from Parent Site radio button), permit subsites to use selected site templates (select the Subsites Can Only Use the Following Site Templates radio button), or you can allow a subsite to use any site template (select the Subsites Can Use Any Site Template radio button).
The Add and Remove buttons activate, depending on what's allowed, and you can move site templates to the left (not allowed) or right (allowed) as desired. You can use the buttons or double-click a site template title to move the choice from box to box.
Select the Reset All Subsites to Inherit These Preferred Subsite Template Settings check box if you wish subsites under this level to use these choices as well.
For Page Layouts, select the Pages in This Site Can Only Use the Following Layouts option.
The left (not allowed) and right (allowed) choice boxes become active. Use the Add and Remove buttons, or double-click, to place page layouts in the correct box. Notice that the content type proceeds the page template title (in parentheses).
Select the Reset All Subsites to Inherit These Preferred Page Layout Settings check box if you wish subsites under this level to use these choices as well.
Remember that this choice can be overridden by a site owner at a subsequent level.
In the third section, choose the Select the Default Page Layout option, if applicable.
If you choose the Select the Default Page Layout option, a list box appears with the page layouts listed. Choose the page layout you want as a default. Usually this would be the most commonly used page layout for the site.
Select your options concerning the New Page URL and/or inheritance settings for new page settings.
Click OK to apply your choices. Test your choices by creating and modifying several (or more!) new pages in your site before releasing to your editors.