This plugin hasn’t been tested with the latest 3 major releases of WordPress. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

Instant Breadcrumbs


Instant Breadcrumbs adds a breadcrumb trail to your WordPress blog’s primary navigation menu. No theme editing required!
Including a breadcrumb trail on your site not only makes it easier for visitors to navigate your site, but also allows
search engines to better explore your blog and include the breadcrumb information in rich snippet data in search
results. Many breadcrumb plugins exist, but normally require either theme editing, or use of a theme that is already
customized to include the breadcrumb function. In addition, editing the theme is usually followed by some CSS
styling to make the breadcrumb trail match the overall ‘look’ of the site.

Instant Breadcrumbs takes a different approach. Since breadcrumbs are a navigation aid, the generated trail is
automatically added to the front of your existing primary navigation menu. This allows it to not only function
straight out of the box with a large number of themes, but also use the existing styling of your primary navigation

A quick overview of Instant Breadcrumbs features:

  • Works with both custom primary menus and the default ‘page’ menu generated by WordPress;
  • Produces RDFa-compliant breadcrumb trails that may be used by Google and others in search results;
  • Supports customization of the breadcrumb titles for pages such as the front page, archives, and search;
  • Re-uses existing top-level entries in the primary menu to avoid repeated links;
  • Includes CSS classes for added breadcrumbs for optional further styling if desired;
  • Use the built-in breadcrumb generator, or third-party generators such as Yoast (WordPress SEO)
    and Breadcrumb NavXT, adding those to the nav menu without theme editing. Tested against
    Breadcrumb NavXT 5.1.0 and WordPress SEO;
  • Supports HTML markup in post titles, with the option to disable it;
  • “Manual” mode allows insertion into templates for themes that do not use the WordPress primary navigation menu;
  • A widget is available if you would prefer to show the breadcrumb trail in a sidebar.

Visit the Plugin Blog Page if you have a comment or suggestion for the next update of the plugin!
If Instant Breadcrumbs is useful to you, please consider making a small contribution via Flattr to help support
the continued development and improvement of this plugin, or leave a review at the WordPress Plugin Directory.


The Instant Breadcrumbs plugin is currently translated into the following languages:

  • es_ES: Español
  • fr_FR: Français
  • sr_RS: Srpski jezik

Spanish translation provided by Andrew Kurtis of WebHostingHub.
Serbian translation provided by Ogi Djuraskovic of FirstSiteGuide.

All other translations courtesy of the continued hard work of the WP-Translations team. This plugin is proud to be a part of the
WP-Translations community. If you would like to make translation contributions, please visit the translation dashboard on Transifex.

Banner image is Trail of (gluten-free) bread crumbs by Kat Selvocki and
used here under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.


  • A screenshot of Instant Breadcrumbs generated on a blog post in TwentyFourteen, showing the breadcrumb trail for the current post, including the post category. This is without any theme editing;
  • The exact same blog in TwentyTwelve, no theme editing;
  • … and in TwentyThirteen, again without theme editing;
  • The same page in TwentyFourteen on a smaller display, showing the breadcrumb trail automatically styles with the navigation menu;
  • The breadcrumb trail for a page that already appears in the nav menu, reusing the existing link.


  1. Unzip and upload the instant-breadcrumbs directory to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory;
  2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress;
  3. Optionally change settings values in the ‘Breadcrumbs’ settings page, listed under ‘Appearance’;
  4. If using a supported breadcrumb plugin as generator, customize that plugin settings;
  5. Optionally add custom CSS, although the plugin is designed to work without theme editing;
  6. If your theme does not have a primary navigation menu, insert <?php instant_breadcrumb(); ?> into your theme.
    You may pass optional HTML as a first parameter to separate items, and pass true as a second parameter if you
    wish to return the result rather than write it directly to the page. It is strongly recommended that you perform
    your own CSS styling in manual mode;
  7. If you prefer, you may include the breadcrumb trail in a widget. Go to the ‘Widgets’ submenu (under ‘Appearance’ in the
    WordPress admin) and drag the Instant Breadcrumbs widget to the appropriate position. You may set a title and optional
    separator HTML. As above, it is recommended you apply your own CSS styling.


Which themes does the plugin support?

Instant Breadcrumbs is designed to work with “generic” WordPress blog themes. In other words, these
are basic themes which have a header that calls wp_nav_menu in their header to include a
menu (or a menu based on your static pages, if no menu has been defined). The default themes that
ship with each WordPress installation are good examples, as are most “general purpose” blogging
themes. The plugin is intended to provide easy breadcrumb functionality for basic blogging, and will
attempt to identify the first menu on the web page.

Breadcrumbs are not showing, or are in the wrong menu?

Instant Breadcrumbs attempts to find the first menu in your theme, and add the trail there. For some
themes the menu may be difficult to identify, or the first menu is not the ideal position. In these
cases, you may manually specify a theme location in the Instant Breadcrumbs settings. The value here
should match the theme_location in the relevant wp_nav_menu call in your theme header. Leave this
blank to allow Instant Breadcrumbs to automatically find the first one.

If your web site is highly customized, and your theme contains its own custom code to generate
menus or navigation, then it’s likely that Instant Breadcrumbs may not be called when your site
is displayed. In this case, you can revert to theme editing and call instant_breadcrumb() manually
to insert the breadcrumb trail at an appropriate location in your theme. You can optionally insert
HTML between the breadcrumb elements, and you should perform your own CSS styling. Alternatively,
you may insert the supplied widget in an appropriate location.

I don’t want the breadcrumb trail automatically adding itself to my menu.

The automatic addition of breadcrumbs to the main menu is not for everyone. It may not suit your
existing menu items, or perhaps you would prefer a more traditional breadcrumb display somewhere
else in your layout. The automatic mode is the default in Instant Breadcrumbs, but you may disable
it in the Breadcrumbs settings page (under Appearance). If you are using the widget method, or
manually editing your template PHP, it is recommended you disable automatic mode.

Will settings remain if I upgrade the plugin?

The plugin is designed to keep your settings from one installed version to the next. If the upgraded
version has new settings, they will be set to sensible defaults. You should verify these new settings
after an upgrade. Your old settings should still be preserved.

My home page appears twice in the modified menu?

Instant Breadcrumbs will reuse menu items wherever possible, for example when viewing a page that is
already in the top-level menu. However it cannot reuse a menu item link if doing so would mean the
generated breadcrumbs are no longer in order. The usual example of this is if the home page already
appears in the primary menu. The generated breadcrumb trail requires the home link to be first. The
easiest workaround for this is simply to customize your menu so the home page is not included a
second time.

How can I apply custom CSS to the added breadcrumbs?

The Instant Breadcrumbs plugin adds the CSS class ib-crumb to the li element of any breadcrumbs in
the menu, and ib-lastcrumb to the last link in the breadcrumb trail representing the current page.
Furthermore, the class ib-added is added to the li element of new menu items created by the plugin,
and ib-edited to existing menu items. These may be styled in your theme’s style.css should for
instance you would like breadcrumb items to be highlighted in a different color.

Some useful examples: .ib-crumb {display:inline;} will display your breadcrumb trail in a single line
if you are using PHP or the widget to display the trail. A more complex one is .ib-crumb+.ib-crumb:before {content:">";}
which will add the additional arrow as a separator between consecutive breadcrumbs.

Why do HTML characters such as <, >, and & appear incorrectly in the output?

If your post title includes these characters, be sure to escape them correctly (for example
as &lt;, &gt;, and &amp;). Otherwise they may be rendered incorrectly at any time they may appear on the Web
page, including in the breadcrumb trail. This is nothing particular about Instant Breadcrumbs, but all
breadcrumb generators, and Web pages in general, behave similarly. As of version 1.2, you may include HTML markup in
your post titles, such as <em>for emphasis</em>, and the Instant Breadcrumb trail will optionally
include it in the breadcrumb as well. This option is enabled by default. Disabling it will use
text only in each crumb.


There are no reviews for this plugin.

Contributors & Developers

“Instant Breadcrumbs” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.


“Instant Breadcrumbs” has been translated into 3 locales. Thank you to the translators for their contributions.

Translate “Instant Breadcrumbs” into your language.

Interested in development?

Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.



  • NEW Translations for French, Serbian, and Spanish.
  • Compatibility verification for WordPress 3.9.2 and latest development versions of WordPress SEO and Breadcrumb NavXT.


  • FIX Made built-in generator more robust with more plugins and themes. Should improve function when breadcrumbs are used in footers. (Thanks to Krishna Roy).
  • Compatibility verification for WordPress 3.9.1, WordPress SEO, and Breadcrumb NavXT 5.1.0.


  • FIX Use the static page title if show_on_front is set to page. Better for multilingual sites. (Thanks to luoshiben).
  • Compatibility verification for WordPress SEO
  • Compatibility modifications for forthcoming Breadcrumb NavXT changes.


  • Compatibility verification for WordPress 3.9 and WordPress SEO


  • NEW Added setting in the Appearance/Breadcrumb menu to control automatic addition of the trail to the menu.


  • FIX Cleanup empty placeholder HTML elements, such as when the breadcrumb trail is inserted before an empty menu.
  • NEW Automatically detect the first navigation menu in a theme and apply the breadcrumb there. Improves theme compatibility.
  • NEW Optionally specify a theme location of a menu, to allow breadcrumbs to appear in menus other than primary.
  • Performance improvements.


  • FIX Improved theme compatibility, supporting more menu theme locations. Plugin should now work with Modernize. (Thanks to Arun Nair).


  • FIX Corrected the order of hierarchical post types in the breadcrumb.
  • FIX Changed category selection to use count, rather than term order.
  • FIX Corrected a bug in the current URL lookup when using Yoast or NavXT.
  • FIX Corrected the search path for language translation files.
  • NEW Support for manual insertion of a breadcrumb trail into a theme with a PHP call.
  • NEW Added a widget to allow the user to insert and display the breadcrumb trail in a sidebar.
  • Readme and FAQ updates.
  • Link to contribute to the plugin development via Flattr.


  • FIX HTML tags in post titles now handled correctly, for both built-in and external breadcrumb generators.
  • NEW Option to optionally strip HTML tags from the generated titles.
  • Updated test environment to WordPress 3.8.1, WordPress SEO 1.4.24, and Breadcrumb NavXT 5.0.1.
  • Small readme and FAQ updates.


  • FIX Corrected an issue where breadcrumb titles could be empty. Use defaults in this case.
  • FIX Enable the breadcrumbs to appear even if the navigation menu or page list are empty.
  • NEW Supports Yoast and Breadcrumb NavXT breadcrumb trails.
  • NEW Added more CSS classes to be compliant with wp_nav_menu item styling.
  • Display default values for breadcrumb titles in the settings page.


  • Initial release.