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Archive pages, Category pages, Links, Previous/next tabs, Themes

Previous/next navigation links (1)

Almost all themes feature previous/next navigation tabs on the main posts pages as well as on category/archive pages. The wording varies.

(Navigation tabs on single posts are generally different – covered in separate post.)

A (majority): Single tabs for skipping to next/previous dynamic page, identical on main posts pages and category/archive pages

Almost Spring, Banana Smoothie, Misty Look, P2, Prologue, Shocking Blue Green, Silver is the New Black, The Journalist v1.3, WordPress Classic:
Newer Posts | Older Posts

Adventure Journal, Beach, Blogum, Bouquet, Chaos Theory, Choco, Chunk, Comet, Coraline, Dusk to Dawn, Duster, Enterprise, Esquire, Forever, Fresh & Clean, Fruit Shake, Garland, Inuit Types, iTheme2, Liquorice, Matala, Mystique, Neutra, Nishita, NotesIL, Nuntius, Piano Black, Pilcrow, Pink Touch 2, Quintus, Reddle, Regulus, Rusty Grunge, Sandbox (all four), Selecta, Shaan, Skeptical, Spectrum, Splendio, Steira, Strange Little Town, Suburbia, Sundance, Sunspot, The Morning After, Toolbox, Twenty Eleven, Twenty Ten, Vostok, zBench:
Older Posts | Newer Posts

MLB (all three of them):
Older Posts | Back to blog home | Newer Posts

Fjords 04, iNove, Neat:
Newer Entries | Older Entries

Albeo, Andrea, Bold Life, Brand New Day, Bueno, Clean Home, Dark Wood, DePo Square [*], Elegant Grunge, Fauna, Fusion, Greyzed, Kubrick, Motion, Notepad, Oulipo, Parament, Quentin, Simpla, Spring Loaded, The Journalist v1.9, Thirteen, Titan, Under the Influence, Vigilance, Wu Wei:
Older Entries | Newer Entries
[*] Depo Square includes this as well: “View more by category: […] Or by month” […] Or visit the complete archive.” Plus “Back to Home” in category/archive pages.

Blix, Flower Power, Sweet Blossoms:
Previous Posts | Next Posts

Ambiru, Andreas 04, Andreas 09, Chaotic Soul, Contempt, Day Dream, Black-Letterhead, Emire, Freshy, Jentri, Redoable Lite, Retro MacOS, Sunburn, Tarski, Treba, Unsleepable, Vermilion Christmas:
Previous Entries | Next Entries

Connections, Digg 3 Column, Dusk, Fleur de Lys, Fresh Bananas, Green Marinée, Iceburgg, Light, Neo-Sapien (twice!), Ocadia, Pool, Rounded, Rubric, Supposedly Clean, Toni, Twenty-eight Thirteen:
Previous Page | Next Page

Grid Focus:
Previous | Next

Paperpunch, Retro-fitted, Vertigo:
Older | Newer

B: Double tabs, identical on main posts pages and category/archive pages

Newer – Next Page | Previous Page – Previous

Girl in Green, Greenery, White as Milk:
Previous Page – Previous Entries | Next entries – Next Page

Previous – Older Entries | Next – Newer Entries

C: Tabs on main posts pages not identical to those on category/archive pages

Main posts pages: no navigation tabs
Category/Archive pages: Older posts | Newer posts

Fadtastic, Hemingway:
Main posts pages: no navigation tabs
Category/Archive pages: Previous Entries | Next Entries

Main posts pages: Previous Page | Next Page
Category/Archive pages: Previous Entries | Next Entries

Main posts pages: Older | Newer
Category/Archive pages: Older Posts | Newer Posts

Ocean Mist:
Main posts pages: Newer Posts | Older Posts
Category/Archive pages: Previous Page – Previous Entries | Next Page – Next Entries

Main posts pages: Older Entries | Newer Entries
Category/Archive pages: Previous page – Previous Entries | Next Entries – Next Page

Main posts pages: Newer Entries | Older Entries
Category/Archive pages: Next Entries | Previous entries

Main posts pages: Older Posts | Newer Posts
Category/Archive pages: Previous Page | Next Page

D: Unusual cases

Duotone, Monotone:
Main posts pages: arrows
Category/Archive pages: Older Entries | Newer Entries

Imbalance 2:
Load more posts

Modularity Lite:
Main posts pages: Older Entries | Newer Entries
Category/Archive pages: no navigation tabs (all posts displayed)

page numbers and arrows

Triton Lite:
page numbers

Next Saturday:

Autofocus, DePo Masthead:
no navigation tabs



13 thoughts on “Previous/next navigation links (1)

  1. This is really helpful post. I have noticed a variation in the wording but it wasn’t until I used DePo Masthead right after it was introduced that I experienced a theme that lacked navigation tabs.

    Posted by timethief | March 2, 2010, 18:03
  2. There’s also a varying element not explained in the post: when the tabs are Previous/Next, that may mean older/newer or the opposite. So I think the Older/Newer varieties are more helpful than the Previous/Next ones.

    (But for real variation, wait till you see the post on the 404 message!)

    By the way, remember you had asked me which posts I’d like to showcase? I just selected the ones I consider of more general usefulness, and placed links to them in the left sidebar for easier reference.

    Posted by Panos | March 2, 2010, 20:49
  3. I agree: ‘Older/Newer’ would be more clear than ‘next/previous’, but it is interesting which-ever words are used, that there is confusion about left and right.

    In my mind, left is older and right is newer.
    But are some of the theme designers’ first languages ones that read right to left. Or is there a cultural bias that one direction or the other is primary in different places?

    I mean, I don’t know any languages and certainly not about the subtle cultural/grammatical distinctions…
    Well English. but I don’t know how it compares to other languages. only a little about Brits, Canadians, Aussies, etc

    I like considering how something so apparently simple could be interpreted in such different directions.

    Posted by Tess | March 3, 2010, 05:56
  4. “In my mind, left is older and right is newer.” Ha! In mine it’s the other way around! (But then I’m left-handed…)

    I had seen a discussion on that somewhere: apparently designers don’t all agree on what left/right should represent.

    As for Previous/Next, linguistically Previous is more akin to Older, but then again, if you are on, say, URL/page/4, “next” is page 5, so page 3 is previous, i.e. newer…

    Therefore if I was a designer I would definitely opt for the unambiguous Older/Newer. Maybe the one below the other, to avoid the left/right problem. In which case, should it be Older below or above Newer? Oh hell… Only Escher could find a way out of this!

    Posted by Panos | March 3, 2010, 06:57
  5. The object of art is to give life a shape.

    Posted by Tess | March 3, 2010, 17:26
  6. Oh, my! A very fine example.

    I stayed in a hotel like that in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl a few years ago! I swear!

    One afternoon one of those Escher lizards brushed against my feet as I was going into the lobby!

    After that, had to keep checking my key card in order to take the elevator the right floor, and I could never be sure if I should turn right or left once I got off.


    Posted by Tess | March 4, 2010, 04:51
  7. Hi Panos, thanks for the listing. It would be nice if bloggers were allowed to choose the wording they want to use with every theme. Maybe one day.


    Posted by ileaneb | March 11, 2010, 12:10
  8. You’re welcome! Next post will complete the picture by covering nav tabs on single posts.

    Being able to change the wording would be nice, but it’s highly unlikely. is a shared platform: if we used the same theme and you changed the wording in yours, it would change in mine too.

    Posted by Panos | March 11, 2010, 13:03
  9. Panos, I understand about the shared platform. But what I don’t understand is why some pieces of a theme have more flexibility and others do not. For instance there are many themes that allow custom header images and taglines, why not allow for a custom footer?

    I’m only asking because I wonder if it is worth mentioning in the Ideas forum.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Posted by ileaneb | March 11, 2010, 13:29
  10. Hmm… A custom footer is a nice idea, and it’s quite possible: just like a header, as you say, or like the alert box in Vigilance. But that’s for adding ‘free’ items (such as an image, a tagline or other notice, or a link): it can’t be used to replace a built-in function like the nav tabs. With the paid CSS upgrade it may be possible to hide the original nav tabs, but creating your own in a footer would require javascript, as far as I know; and javascript isn’t allowed, for security reasons…

    Posted by Panos | March 11, 2010, 14:35
  11. I recently upgraded to Unsleepable 3 (from 2), and it no longer has Previous/Next Entries on the main page!

    I’m not sure if this is a bug on my site only or not, but I had to downgrade to 2 for now.

    Anyone else notice this?

    Posted by Matt | June 3, 2010, 04:38
  12. @Matt: My blog and my experience are limited to blogs only, not self-hosted ones. We don’t run the same theme versions, so you’ll have to ask over at the forum ( ).

    The versions you’re using aren’t designed or modified by WP (Unsleepable isn’t available here: ), so you can also contact the designer of the theme:
    If it’s a bug in your site he’ll probably not answer, but if it’s his oversight he’ll probably correct it.

    Posted by Panos | June 3, 2010, 05:16


author's avatar panos (justpi)

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