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In case there's more than one function the exact one is:

php the_excerpt();

I want to decrease the character length to X amount and I want to remove the [...] and replace it with an image that users can click to take them to the article. How do I accomplish this (preferably without plugins)?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You need to hook into two WordPress filters.

function custom_excerpt_length( $length ) {
    return 20;
}
add_filter( 'excerpt_length', 'custom_excerpt_length', 999 );

http://codex.wordpress.org/Plugin_API/Filter_Reference/excerpt_length

function custom_excerpt_more( $more ) {
    return '[.....]';
}
add_filter( 'excerpt_more', 'custom_excerpt_more' );

http://codex.wordpress.org/Plugin_API/Filter_Reference/excerpt_more

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