Breadcrumbs provide secondary navigation to help users understand where they are in a website.

About the breadcrumb component

A breadcrumb bar shows the location of the current page in the site structure. It’s like a path from the current page back to the home page, showing each level of organization in-between. Breadcrumbs allow a user to navigate “up” to a parent section instead of “Back” to the previous page. Use breadcrumbs to help users navigate and understand the organization of your site.

When to use the breadcrumb component

  • When orientation matters. Breadcrumbs show where the current page is located in the website hierarchy. Use a breadcrumb when it’s likely that a user will arrive at an interior page from search or from an outside link.
  • To facilitate navigation. Breadcrumbs make it easier to understand complex sites. Use breadcrumbs to reinforce your site’s structure.

When to consider something else

  • Simple sites. If the website is not very deep and the context for the current page is clear from the main navigation.
  • Landing pages. Omit breadcrumbs on the homepage of a site. Breadcrumbs could also be omitted from section landing pages. Breadcrumbs are most useful when the hierarchy is not immediately apparent from the main navigation.
  • Redundant side navigation. When side navigation is used in combination with main navigation, it may be redundant to include breadcrumbs.
  • Step-by-step processes. Use breadcrumbs for hierarchical relationships, not linear relationships (like individual steps in a multi-step process).

Usability guidance

  • Consider alternatives to wrapping. In general, rely on truncating the title of the current page over wrapping breadcrumb text. But usability comes first. Consider alternative approaches if the title of the current page is completely truncated. For example, a mobile-friendly breadcrumb may show only a page’s direct parent. Sites with very long breadcrumb trails might ultimately need to wrap breadcrumbs, or consider flattening the information architecture of the site.
  • Use complete page titles. Use the same wording in breadcrumb text as in the page title.
  • Start with the word “Home”. Rather than using a house icon, spell out the word “Home” as the first link in the breadcrumbs.
  • Consider size of tap targets on small widths. Although breadcrumbs are frequently displayed using smaller text, make sure the text is not too small to select at small widths.
  • Optimize for search engines. To be eligible for rich results display in search engine results, mark up your site’s breadcrumbs using JSON-LD (recommended) or RDFa.

Accessibility guidance

  • Use the nav element. This allows assistive technology to present the breadcrumbs in context as a navigational element on the page.
  • Treat separators as text when it comes to contrast. Use separators that have AA contrast against their background.
  • Use ordered lists and list items. Use an ol for breadcrumbs and an li for each item. This allows assistive technology to enumerate the items in the breadcrumbs and allows shortcuts between list items.
  • Use ARIA markup for additional context. Use aria-label="Breadcrumbs" on the main element and aria-current="page" on the current page.
  • Hide separators from screen readers. The separators between links in the breadcrumbs should not be read by screen readers.

Using the breadcrumb component

Breadcrumb settings

Variable Description

The background color of the complete breadcrumb bar. Default uses body background color set in $theme-body-background-color.


The family of the breadcrumb text.


The size of the breadcrumb text.


The color of breadcrumb link. Add the link color and the system will generate the hover state. Default uses the default link settings calculated from your background color.


The width at which the breadcrumb displays the full breadcrumb list.


Padding below the breadcrumb.


Padding above the breadcrumb.


Padding to the right and left of the breadcrumb.


Color of the breadcrumb separator. This value needs AA contrast against the background.

Breadcrumb variants

Variant Description


Wrap the breadcrumb bar instead of truncating.

  • Package usage: @forward "usa-breadcrumb";
  • Dependencies: uswds-fonts, usa-icon

Latest updates

Meaningful code and guidance updates are listed in the following table:

Date USWDS version Affects Breaking Description
2023-09-29 3.6.1
  • Styles

Fixed a bug that prevented text from wrapping to a new line in the .usa-breadcrumb--wrap variant. More information: uswds#5497

2022-04-28 3.0.0
  • Assets
  • JavaScript
  • Styles

Breaking Updated to Sass module syntax and new package structure. More information: uswds#4656

2021-08-18 2.12.1
  • Accessibility
  • Styles

Updated breadcrumb to work with a broader range of focus widths. Now the breadcrumb component isn’t affected by custom focus widths. More information: uswds#4248