Possible Duplicate:
excerpt in characters

I have a question after reading this post (How to highlight search terms without plugin). I like this function(Search Term Without Plugin) very much but the character length is too long. What php code should i add to make the excerpt shorter? Would appreciate if someone can suggest it. Thank you!


2 Answers 2


add these lines in function.php file

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

In addition to the above filter hook supplied by Deepa's answer here is one additional function that can help you extend the use of the_excerpt in two ways,

Allows you to...

Limit the excerpt by number of characters but do NOT truncate the last word. This will allow you to return a maximum number of characters but preserve full words, so only the words that can fit within the specified number limit are returned and allow you to specify the source of where the excerpt will come from.

function get_excerpt($limit, $source = null){

    $excerpt = $source == "content" ? get_the_content() : get_the_excerpt();
    $excerpt = preg_replace(" (\[.*?\])",'',$excerpt);
    $excerpt = strip_shortcodes($excerpt);
    $excerpt = strip_tags($excerpt);
    $excerpt = substr($excerpt, 0, $limit);
    $excerpt = substr($excerpt, 0, strripos($excerpt, " "));
    $excerpt = trim(preg_replace( '/\s+/', ' ', $excerpt));
    $excerpt = $excerpt.'... <a href="'.get_permalink($post->ID).'">more</a>';
    return $excerpt;

Sample...  Lorem ipsum habitant morbi (26 characters total) 

Returns first three words which is exactly 21 characters including spaces
Example..  echo get_excerpt(21);  
Result...  Lorem ipsum habitant 

Returns same as above, not enough characters in limit to return last word
Example..  echo get_excerpt(24);    
Result...  Lorem ipsum habitant  

Returns all 26 chars of our content, 30 char limit given, only 26 characters needed. 
Example..  echo get_excerpt(30);    
Result...  Lorem ipsum habitant morbi

This function can be used multiple times through out theme files, each with different character limits specified.

This function has the ability to retrieve an excerpt from either,

  • the_content
  • the_excerpt

For example, if you have posts that contain text in the_excerpt box on the post editor screen, but want to pull an excerpt from the_content body instead for a special use case you would instead do;

get_excerpt(140, 'the_content'); //excerpt is grabbed from get_the_content

This tells the function that you want the first 140 characters from the_content, regardless of whether an excerpt is set in the_excerpt box.

get_excerpt(140); //excerpt is grabbed from get_the_excerpt

This tells the function that you want the first 140 characters from the_excerpt first and if no excerpt exists, the_content will be used as a fallback.

The function can be improved to be made more efficient and or incorporated with the use of WordPress filters for both the_content or the_excerpt or simply used as is in situations where there is no suitable, in-built WordPress API alternative.

  • Hi! Thanks for all for the answer provided! I would like to ask, how to make it work with ... instead of [...] at the end of excerpt?
    – Jornes
    Nov 2, 2012 at 5:24
  • The last line, $excerpt = $excerpt.'... <a href="'.get_permalink($post->ID).'">more</a>'; is what you can use to define your "read more" link so to speak. You can see there it adds an ellipsis but you can add whatever you like.
    – Adam
    Nov 2, 2012 at 5:36
  • 1
    @Jornes it maybe 6 years late, but here is the HTML code for the ellipsis &hellip; Jul 20, 2018 at 7:26
  • 1
    @AlbertSamuel Thank you for the answer. :)
    – Jornes
    May 10, 2019 at 6:42

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.