Understanding and Customizing the_excerpt Length in WordPress

In WordPress, the_excerpt is a valuable feature for presenting concise content summaries. However, the default length may not always align with your preferences. This tutorial explores how to efficiently control and customize the_excerpt length without relying on plugins. When WordPress generates excerpts, it typically truncates content after a set number of words. This default behavior might not suit every theme or content type. Whether you prefer longer or shorter excerpts, mastering the technique of adjusting the_excerpt length is essential for tailoring your content presentation to meet your specific needs.

Locate child theme’s functions.php file

To begin, find and open your WordPress child theme’s functions.php file using a code editor. This file, located in your child theme’s directory, contains essential functions and actions that shape your theme’s behavior. Once you’ve accessed the file, insert the following code snippet inside functions.php to take control of the excerpt length.

 * Adjust the_excerpt length.
 * @param int $length The number of words to display in the_excerpt.
 * @return int Custom length of the_excerpt.
function custom_excerpt_length( $length ) {
	return 20; // Change this number to your desired word count.

add_filter( 'excerpt_length', 'custom_excerpt_length' );
Code language: PHP (php)


This code establishes a custom function, custom_excerpt_length, allowing you to set the desired word count for the_excerpt. The add_filter function seamlessly integrates this custom function into WordPress, thereby adjusting the excerpt length according to your specifications.

Save Changes and View Results

After adding the code snippet to your child theme’s functions.php file, save the changes. Ensure there are no syntax errors in the file. Subsequently, visit your site’s front end to witness the adjustments in the_excerpt length. Feel free to fine-tune the length by modifying the number in the return statement according to your preference.

That’s it! Controlling the_excerpt length is a simple yet powerful method to enhance your site’s presentation. By following these steps, you’ve acquired the knowledge to customize the_excerpt length without resorting to plugins. Experiment with different word counts to discover the ideal balance for your content. Now equipped with the tools to tailor your WordPress site’s excerpt length, you can effectively meet your specific needs.

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