How to Create Custom Post Excerpts [No Code or Plugins]

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Automatic excerpts use first 50 words of your post. While your theme may modify this number, the text is always taken from the beginning of the post.

But what if you want a custom excerpt?

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to add a custom excerpt with text that doesn’t appear anywhere in your post without writing code or adding new plugins.

Update: this video tutorial will show you the various ways you can customize your post excerpts.

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How to Create a Custom Excerpt

First, login to your site and visit the Posts page. Select any post that you want to write a custom excerpt for.

Once on the post edit screen, click on the Screen Options tab in the top-right corner.

The Screen Options tab

This will reveal a number of checkboxes including one for custom excerpts. If the “Excerpt” box is not checked, check it now.

The Excerpt checkbox in Screen Options

Close the Screen Options and scroll down the page. You’ll now see the Excerpt box.

Excerpt post meta box

Here you can enter any text you want to be used for the excerpt. We refer to excerpts here as “custom excerpts.”

How do custom excerpts work?

Custom excerpts are great because you’re not restricted to the same text as in your post. You can add entirely different text here and it will be used on the blog page, RSS feed, and if you have Open Graph tags it even will be used when sharing on Facebook.

Check out the blog page here to see examples of some custom excerpts I’ve written in action.

One more thing: you can use HTML in the Excerpt box. WordPress will strip out HTML from normal excerpts, but any HTML in the Excerpt box will be kept, such as links, images, and blockquotes.

Custom excerpts are better excerpts

I love custom excerpts and use them for every post.

While the intro of your article should be engaging, the teaser should be different. Writing a separate excerpt to show on the blog page is a great way to get more visitors to click on your posts.

If you have any questions about custom excerpts and using them on your WordPress site, please post a comment below.

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