How to Change Your Post Excerpt Length (w/o Code)

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Excerpts are like previews for your posts.

They give visitors a quick taste of what’s to come and why they should read the post. So how can you optimize your excerpts by updating their length? By using a plugin or the theme already installed on your site.

Here’s how you can customize your excerpt word count with a theme or plugin.

Change the excerpt length with your theme

I should mention first for any Compete Themes users: all of our themes have an excerpt length feature in the Customizer.

The excerpt length feature can be found in the Blog section of the Customizer. You can quickly increase or decrease the word count like this:

Increasing the word count of excerpts in the Cele theme
Increasing excerpt length with the Cele theme

Customize excerpt length with a plugin

If you’re not a Compete Themes user, you can use the Advanced Excerpt plugin.

screenshot of the Advanced Excerpt plugin page on

Using this plugin is extremely easy. In fact, most of the work is done the moment you activate it.

After you install & activate Advanced Excerpt, you’ll find a new Excerpt settings menu.

screenshot of the Advanced Excerpt settings page

By default, the plugin will set all of your post excerpts to 40 words. You can use the number input at the top to increase or decrease this count.

Alternatively, you can limit the post excerpt length by characters instead of words if you prefer.

Further Customizing Excerpts

In this post, you learned how to use the Advanced Excerpt plugin to easily modify your excerpt length, or your theme if you’re a Compete Themes user.

Advanced Excerpt has a few more settings you may enjoy. In particular, you might want to change the “read more” link text or show full sentences before cutting off an excerpt. I’ll leave those decisions to you 🙂

If you have any questions about post excerpts, please post in the comments below.

Ben Sibley
Ben Sibley
This article was written by Ben Sibley. He is a WordPress theme designer & developer, and founder of Compete Themes.