I'm slowly building my own WordPress theme and want to have a related posts section at the bottom of each post (for example here on my site).

I am using the following code to generate the related posts:

    <div class="container-fluid related-posts">
        <div class="row">
            <?php $categories = get_the_category($post->ID); ?>
            <?php if ($categories): ?>
            <?php $category_ids = array(); ?>
            <?php foreach($categories as $individual_category) : ?>
            <?php $category_ids[] = $individual_category->term_id; ?>
            <?php endforeach; ?>
            <?php $args=array(
                'category__in' => $category_ids,
                'post__not_in' => array($post->ID),
                'oderby' => 'rand'
            <?php $my_query = new WP_Query($args); ?>
            <?php if( $my_query->have_posts() ) : ?>

            <section class="container-fluid">
                <h2>Related Articles</h2>
                    <div class="row">
                        <?php while ($my_query->have_posts()) : $my_query->the_post(); ?>
                            <div class="col-sm">
                                <a href="<?php the_permalink()?>" class="related-thumb"><?php the_post_thumbnail(); ?></a>
                                <h3><a href="<?php the_permalink()?>"><?php the_title(); ?></a></h3>
                                <p><?php the_excerpt()?></p>
                            <?php endwhile;?>

            <?php endif; ?>
            <?php wp_reset_query();?>
            <?php endif; ?>

With a small amount of CSS:

.related-posts h3 {
    font-size: 1.2rem;

.related-posts h2 {
    text-decoration: underline;

I would like the excerpt that is displayed to be limited to 50 characters and customise the 'read more' element that shows on the front end (currently [...]). However I haven't been able to do this. Any help would be hugely appreciated!

2 Answers 2


You can use the get_the_excerpt filter to modify what's printed by the_excerpt():

add_filter( 'get_the_excerpt', 'wpse_367505_excerpt' );
function wpse_367505_excerpt( $excerpt ) {
    return substr( $excerpt, 0, 50 ) . ' [

You can change the [Read More] text to whatever you'd like.

Add this code to your theme's functions.php file, and it should automatically filter your excerpts anywhere you use them.

  • Thank you Pat - this has worked perfectly for me. Really appreciate it!
    – DHazeel
    May 25, 2020 at 17:35

You can use following code. Replace

<p><?php the_excerpt()?></p>


<p><?php echo wp_trim_words( get_the_excerpt(), 40, '...' ); ?></p>
  • 2
    wp_trim_words() will trim to a given number of words, which can be handy in some cases; the OP wanted to trim to a certain number of characters instead.
    – Pat J
    May 26, 2020 at 1:26
  • Thank you all the same - this is helpful to know too.
    – DHazeel
    May 26, 2020 at 18:48
  • Nice work! clean and simple solution :) Jun 19, 2023 at 19:34

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