Depending on the type of blog you run, you may at some point have an interest in only showing only a short excerpt of a post on your blog’s homepage. This could be for a variety of reasons, ranging from attempting to increase page views to trying to make your homepage more easily navigated and organized.

Another really popular place for using the post excerpt is for your archive pages, which helps you to avoid being penalized for duplicate content by the search engine spiders.

No matter what the reason is, if you are interested in switching some of your templates to show post excerpts, it isn’t very difficult to do. Go to the template you want to make the change on and find the following code:

< ?php the_content(); ?>

Depending on your theme, it may include something in the parenthesis. Change this code to the following:

< ?php the_excerpt(); ?>

This will cause your blog theme to only display the first 55 words (and strip pictures/formatting). If you’d like to add a link to allow readers to then click over and read the full post, you can instead use something like the following excerpt code:

<?php the_excerpt(__('Continue Reading This Entry'));?>

You can of course adjust the wording to fit your personal needs.

If you’d prefer to show an excerpt longer than 55 words, or want to display your pictures and formating, you’ll have to do a little manual work. You currently have two choices:

More Excerpt

  1. Use the More tag – Once you’ve written your post, you can switch over to Code view in your WordPress Write panel, click where you want the excerpt to stop and click the More button.  (See the screenshot above)
  2. Optional Excerpt field – Paste the part of the post you’d like to display as an excerpt in this field of your WordPress Write panel. It should correctly display everything in the excerpt including links and specific formating.

If you use either of these methods, you’ll notice that your feed is only displaying partial posts. If you’d prefer to have the feed display the entire post, but keep the partial post on your actual website, I recommend using the Full Text RSS Feed WordPress plugin to override this and have the feed display the entire post.

Questions?  Let me know in the comments below.

Kyle Eslick is WordPress enthusiast who took his passion for WordPress to the next level in 2007 by launching as a place to share hacks, tutorials, etc. Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleEslick!

  1. mohammad says:

    It doesn’t work in single pages. is there any way to show only the excerpt in single post pages?

  2. alvinwong says:

    I am a newbie and do not understand php at all. I have installed Bas Van Doren’s advanced excerpt plugin (, activated it and it does not seem to work as all my post contents seem not to show on my website except the post title.
    I am very sorry. I do not understand how to get it right because I do not get to know what to change manually at the template back end especially the php lingo.
    Kindly teach me step by step. Thanks

    • fareed says:

      dear same problem with me, that when i post in wp only title show with thumbnail image, but there is no more text shows in my web site. plz help me to solve this error

  3. amolpatil2k says:

    One can change content () to excerpt () only if one is allowed to edit the theme, which I believe is possible only on a hosted blog and not a blog.

  4. Windows Guy says:

    In which page I can find ..Like in single.php or header.php?

  5. moralde says:

    wow! It’s that simple? I’ve been trying to search the codes in the wordpress theme for this. Newbie as I am, of course, I gave up about 3 seconds after I lost my patience. Thanks, I’ll give it another try, now that I know what to look for.

  6. James McWhorter says:

    Thanks! I was actually looking for a way to do the opposite because I wanted a list of YouTube videos to show. Now I’m using the tag to manually control how much is in the excerpt.


  7. messenger download says:

    It doesn’t work in single pages. is there any way to show only the excerpt in single post pages?

  8. vahd says:

    Adding __(‘Continue Reading This Entry’) to the_excerpt() function is useless. Nothing will change!

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