I have a separate theme for my custom WP install that will be use for mobile users, in my case I need to change an html tag in all the excerpt instances but without altering the DB, I found this simple function that would be perfect but I can't get it to work, nothing's happening.

function replace_content_on_the_fly($text){
$replace = array(
    // 'words to find' => 'replace with this'
    '<p>' => '<div>',
    '</p>' => '</div>'
$text = str_replace(array_keys($replace), $replace, $text);
return $text;
add_filter('the_excerpt', 'replace_content_on_the_fly');

I added the above code in my theme function.php. Why doesn’t it work?

1 Answer 1


You code works where the function the_excerpt is used. It does not work when get_the_excerpt is used, which does not apply the the_excerpt filter. It applies get_the_excerpt instead.

Using get_the_excerpt will cause the filter to apply to both the cases since the_excerpt() uses get_the_excerpt().

Automatically generated excerpt content is a different thing since it is created by a filter on get_the_excerpt that strips the markup.

  • In my index.php I have this <?php the_excerpt(); ?> and the excerpt is not auto generated, so if I change the filter to get_the_excerpt instead of the_excerpt that should work but I still see no changes. Jun 29, 2013 at 17:02
  • Excerpts are generated when I try it. Have you tried using TwentyTwelve or TwentyThirteen?
    – s_ha_dum
    Jun 29, 2013 at 17:09
  • Ok I don't need to generate the excerpt, I have custom ones already created, I was now trying to get it to work on the_content using the default themes but same thing, doesn't seem to work, I even tried to replace the word sample with something else in a post instead of trying to alter an HTML tag but nothing is happening. Jun 29, 2013 at 17:20
  • After reinstalling WP and reimporting the DB the function started working on my theme! Jun 29, 2013 at 20:36

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