Make Full Use of WordPress with the_excerpt_reloaded!

by Alex Denning. 28 Comments -

Whether you know it or not, you’ll probably use the_excerpt on your website. At its simplest, the_excerpt will display the last 70 odd words from your posts on the homepage, or a couple of words explaining what the post is about, as it is on CatsWhoCode. But say you wanted to display 200 words and images. Without editing the core Wordpress files, there is no way you can do that, without installing a plugin, like the_excerpt_reloaded.

You can download it here (clicky). Install it and activate it in the normal way. If you don’t know how to do that, head over to the WordPress codex (clicky).

Next thing we’ll need to do is edit your theme’s files in order to integrate the_excerpt_reloaded. On your WordPress admin panel, click design, then theme editor. Then under “templates” click “Main Index Template” (or whatever the homepage for your theme is). You’ll then be presented with a whole load of code. Before you edit anything, you should always back up what anything you’re changing, so copy and paste your code into Notepad, or if you’re running Ubuntu, text editor will do the same job.

Once you’ve done that, you need to hunt down the_excerpt. If you can’t see it, use your browser’s search function to find it (ctrl + f). Once you’ve found it then we can start editing! the_excerpt_reloaded lets you do some quite advanced stuff, so I’ll briefly run through what you can do:

  • The default setting, with the code just being <php the_excerpt_reloaded(); ?>, on your page displayed will be 120 words of either your excerpt field or the first 120 words of the post. You can set the number of words to whatever you like, but here we can set it to 50 by putting 50 in the brackets:<php the_excerpt_reloaded(50); ?>
  • We can add more functions by putting a comma after the 50, so say you wanted to allow images to be shown, you’d put:
    <php the_excerpt_reloaded(50,'<img>'); ?>
  • Read On! You don’t have to have “more…” at the end of your excerpt – by adding in “TRUE, ‘Read on’” at the end of your excerpt, you can say “Read on”. So our excerpt now looks like this:
    <?php the_excerpt_reloaded(50, '<img>', TRUE, 'Read on'); ?>
  • Excerpt x2! On my site, I’ve got two excerpts: a quote from an article and the first 200 words from the post. How do you do that? add in 2 to your excerpt, so our excerpt now looks like this: <?php the_excerpt_reloaded(50, '<img>', TRUE, 'Read on', 2); ?> The 2 is telling WordPress to fake the excerpt as real content, so always displaying the first 50 words even if you’ve written something in the excerpt box.

So thats the basics covered. You can do even more with the_exerpt_reloaded! Check out the plugin homepage here for more info.

Oh, and its my first post here! I’m Alex Denning, WordPress power user, web design freelancer and editor of and GGG! I’d appreciate any feedback; have I pitched this too simply, or have I assumed you know too much? If you want to speak privately or are interested in having some web design work done, drop me an email: alex (at) nometet (dot) com.

  • Catrin W

    Great plugin. I was making excerpt posts to show outside my blog with default excerpt yesterday, but although i wanted to customize it a bit, i didn’t know how to do that. And today i came to this :). Thanks for sharing.
    p.s. one question, img parameter takes image from post or we have to name it in excerpt field ?

  • Alex Denning

    @Catrin W: The img parameter takes the image from the post

  • Jason

    Nice plugin! Thanks…I love wordpress’ versatility.

  • Pink Boutique

    That is pretty cool. Currently, I’m having to remember to manually do it per blog post.

  • Ajith Edassery

    I have not started using the excerpt field at all that came in with later releases… Never got a habit of doing those except for ‘more’ tags.

    Will take a look…

    Ajith / DollarShower

  • Agolf Cartson

    By itself it is a great plugin but it is great that you took time to explain how to implement it. For people not used to reengineer wordpress blogs that is a big help.

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  • Blog Setup

    Cool plugin. That’s what’s great about wordpress. So many plugins to extend it functionality.

  • Make Money Blogging

    Loll nice one..

  • Adam Clark

    Great plugin just what I needed. That’s what I love about WordPress it makes things so easy with some great plugins.

  • cecill’s

    Very useful articles, interesting and informative. Thanks,I like it.. I’ve bookmarked this… thank you for sharing. I will definitely visit again.

  • poer

    the_excerpt_reloaded is great, but we need to manually edit our theme to get the results.

    maybe you could also try using homepage excerpts from dailyblogtips,

    one great thing about the plugin, all configuration can be done in the wp admin panel.

  • Agolf Cartson

    I know it is a little off topic but do you know of anyone having done analysis on whether having a blog using excerpt have any positive effects on readership / pageview / time on site etc.?

  • Tom At The Home Business Archive

    Thanks for sharing.I run a WordPress blog myself and have been wondering how you can get short excerpts to show.There seems to be a plugin for everything in WordPress,Thanks!

  • Universal Indie Records

    Great article. Contained the information that I needed with one exception..

    I’m using this command on my category page… but I don’t want to display the full size image…

    How can I display the thumbnail or resize the image height?

  • John

    There appears to be an updated version of this plugin at, but I have yet to test it with WordPress 2.7.

  • Make Money on the Internet | Abdulrehman

    I’m also thinking of adding a an excerpt to the home-page because it limits your homepage and gives a snifty, clean look!

  • Dietmar

    Very nice tutorial. I also use an advance excerpt function within my blog.

  • Internet Marketing Reader

    Wow great post. I have been searching online for awhile and I came accros this post. It was just what I needed. Thanks and keep up with the great content. Awesome plugin

  • Online Marketing Blog

    Wow great tip i am currently working on a project and this will help me add just the tight length expert to areas i want.

  • john randall

    i like this one,cool cheers!

  • Ramone

    tons of good info. Thanks saving this

  • Michelle Morange

    Thanks for the post, I will let my family and friends know about this blog

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  • Jay Stebbins

    I have the Excerpts Reloaded plugin built into the theme I am working with. I am having a tough time getting thumbnails to display to the left of the excerpt. Any suggestions?


  • Mark Kassan

    Great post as per usual. I really like this glad. Off to google to do more research.

  • Andy Holiday

    Thankyou so much for this. I’ve been looking for a plugin that does just this for ages. I’ve bookmarked your site, there’s loads of great high quality tips here.