MediaWiki.org > Extensions > User interface > Extension:BreadCrumbs2
MediaWiki extensions manual
Release status: stable
Implementation User interface, Skin
Description Provides breadcrumb navigation based on categories
Author(s) Eric Hartwell, Ike Hecht
Latest version 2.1.1 (2020-05-26)
MediaWiki 1.29+
PHP 5.5+
License Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
Example MediaWiki.org > Extensions > User interface > BreadCrumbs2
  • $wgBreadCrumbs2RemoveBasePageLink
  • $wgBreadCrumbs2HideUnmatched
Quarterly downloads 82 (Ranked 100th)
Translate the BreadCrumbs2 extension if it is available at translatewiki.net

The BreadCrumbs2 extension generates "breadcrumbs" to help users navigate around your wiki (assuming it has a structure suitable for navigation). Breadcrumbs inserts a single line navigation string before a page's content. A sample breadcrumb for this page is shown in pale yellow above.

This extension creates breadcrumbs in the category-based "Where am I?" sense;[1] use Extension:JSBreadCrumbs for breadcrumbs in the traditional "How did I get here?" sense.

For each page the extension can use the categories and/or namespace to:

  1. Insert a single line navigation string before a page's content
  2. Highlight the active sidebar link and/or tab
  3. Change the site logo
Breadcrumbs use a single line of text to show a page's location in the site hierarchy... Breadcrumbs have always been a secondary navigation aid... All that breadcrumbs do is make it easier for users to move around the site, assuming its content and overall structure make sense.[2]

BreadCrumbs2 is especially useful with skins like GuMax that display the navigation bar as a row of tabs at the top of the page instead of the Discussion/Edit/History tools.


The breadcrumb data is stored in a page in the MediaWiki namespace, MediaWiki:Breadcrumbs. To access the page, either enter "MediaWiki:Breadcrumbs" into the search box on your wiki and click the search icon, or copy and paste the link [[MediaWiki:Breadcrumbs]] into a page, then open and edit. The contents are formatted as a wikitext list, with one line per breadcrumb option:

* category name @ breadcrumb wikitext @ tab name @ site logo 

Extra blanks between parameters are ignored.

Avoid adding unnecessary blank lines between entries in the breadcrumb list.
Parameter Type Description
category name Required For each line in the list, see if the current page is a member of the category that matches category or the namespace with the same name.
breadcrumb wikitext Optional Text to display in the subtitle with the page name appended
tab name Optional The tab (navigation) bar with the name tab name that matches category is marked as active.
site logo Optional Use a different site logo for this page. (Note: Use this option with care)


The extension inserts a single line navigation string before a page's contents.[3]

Jakob Nielsen strongly encourages web designers to use the '>' character to delimit breadcrumb levels.[2]

For example,

* Hook extensions @ [[Main Page|MediaWiki.org]] > [[:Category:Extensions|Extensions]] >

Generates the following breadcrumb for this page:

MediaWiki.org > Extensions > BreadCrumbs2

Note that BreadCrumbs2 uses the first match with the current page's namespace or one of the page's categories. For example, if the Breadcrumbs page contains:

* Navigation extensions @ [[Main Page|MediaWiki.org]] > [[:Category:Extensions|Extensions]] > [[:Category:Navigation extensions|Navigation]] >
* User interface extensions @ [[Main Page|MediaWiki.org]] > [[:Category:Extensions|Extensions]] > [[:Category:User interface extensions|User interface]] >

The breadcrumbs for this page would be MediaWiki.org > Extensions > Navigation > BreadCrumbs2 and not MediaWiki.org > Extensions > User interface > BreadCrumbs2 because the Navigation line comes first.


The active link in the navigation sidebar can be highlighted using the tab name parameter, if specified. This is especially useful with skins like GuMax that display the navigation bar as a row of tabs at the top of the page instead of the Discussion/Edit/History tools.

BreadCrumbs2 automatically detects and uses the dynamic sidebar generated by DynamicSkin-based skins.

The tab name is compared to the actual text displayed in the sidebar, so it is not language-independent.


If the site logo parameter is specified, an alternate image file is used instead of the site default. The path to this image is relative to the root of your wiki.

Use this feature with caution so that it doesn't interfere with your site's usability. Subtle changes are good, but dramatic changes can be confusing. If your site needs significantly different look and feel between sections, consider using namespaces and namespace-specific styles and/or DynamicSkin.


You can download the extension code, in .tar.gz format, via Special:ExtensionDistributor.

You can also download the code directly via Git from the MediaWiki source code repository. From a command line, you can call the following:

git clone https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/mediawiki/extensions/BreadCrumbs2.git

To view the code online, including version history for each file, go here.


  • Download and place the file(s) in a directory called BreadCrumbs2 in your extensions/ folder.
  • Add the following code at the bottom of your LocalSettings.php :
    wfLoadExtension( 'BreadCrumbs2' );
  • Configure as required.
  • Create a new page called "MediaWiki:Breadcrumbs"
  •   Done – Navigate to Special:Version on your wiki to verify that the extension is successfully installed.

To users running MediaWiki 1.31 or earlier:

The instructions above describe the new way of installing this extension using wfLoadExtension(). If you need to install this extension on these earlier versions (MediaWiki 1.31 and earlier), instead of wfLoadExtension( 'BreadCrumbs2' );, you need to use:

require_once "$IP/extensions/BreadCrumbs2/BreadCrumbs2.php";



If breadcrumbs are defined for this page, remove the link back to the base page. Defaults to "false".


If no breadcrumbs are defined for this page, show nothing. Defaults to "false".

Tips, tricks, and hoopsEdit

  • The breadcrumb list in MediaWiki:Breadcrumbs defines all the categories and subcategories used for navigation.
  • The extension uses the '@' character to delimit parameters instead of '|' as used in MediaWiki:Sidebar. This greatly simplifies the use of conditional templates in the breadcrumb list.
  • If some of your users don't like the breadcrumbs, they can hide it with some CSS (see Manual:$wgAllowUserCss):
#breadcrumbs2 {
   display: none;

Technical detailsEdit

The breadcrumbs are built from the data page as follows:

  1. The string '@@@' is stripped from the text to be replaced with '@' before output (since the '@' character is used as a delimiter)
  2. Pseudo-variables of the form @@VAR@@ are evaluated.
    • @@USERID@@: User ID, blank if anonymous
    • @@USERGROUPS@@: Comma-delimited list of groups this user belongs to
  3. Templates and variables in the text are expanded. You can use parser functions like #if: if installed.
  4. The extension scans each line to find the first match with the current page's namespace or one of the page's categories.
  5. The remainder of the line is evaluated to set the breadcrumb string, sidebar, and/or logo (see below)

See alsoEdit


  1. Street signs and Breadcrumbs, Chapter 6, Don't Make Me Think - Steve Krug (summary on Medium.com)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Breadcrumb Navigation Increasingly Useful - Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, April 10, 2007
  3. Arbitrary wikitext can be used for the navigation text, though it should be kept to a simple series of links and delimiters.