Open a SharePoint 2010 Page Layout for Editing
Have you ever wondered what’s going on behind the scenes in SharePoint 2010? Cracking open a page layout is one of the easiest ways to do that. Start by opening one of the standard SharePoint page layouts in SharePoint Designer 2010:
Open SharePoint Designer 2010 and then click the Open Site button and type (or paste) in the web address to your publishing site.
You must access a site created using the Publishing site template to work with page layouts.
In the navigation pane, click the Page Layouts button.
A list of the page layouts in your site appears.
Click the Blank Web Part Page layout file.
A summary of the file appears, which shows the file’s versioning status and permissions as well as provides links to customize the file.
In the Customization section, click the Edit File link.
A page layout opens for editing.
When prompted to check out the file, click No.
Because you're just browsing, don't check out the file. The file opens in Design view for your viewing pleasure.
Click the Code button at the button of the screen.
While Design view is interesting, the Code view is where all the real action takes place.