Personally, when I visit the front page of a WordPress blog, I don’t mind seeing the full content of each recent post. You an control how many posts are found on the front page of your full version WordPress blog by choosing Options > Reading > Show Number of Posts on the Front Page in the Administration Panel on the full version of WordPress and Blog Pages: Show at most… on blogs. Choose whatever number you like. Depending upon the length of your typical posts, this could be 1, 3, 5, or even 25. Whatever you feel is appropriate.

However, when I do a search on a WordPress blog, or visit the categories, archives, or any other multi-post pages, I’m intent on finding what I want, not reading through every post that may or may not apply. I’m on a quest, so I want information fast. This particular WordPress Theme, Rubric by Hadley Wickham, shows full posts on search and category pages – check it out (NOTE: The first post you see may be this post so scroll down the page) and witness my frustration. I’d love to change it, but I have no control over Themes.

I believe excerpts, especially in search results, helps the reader get to the information they need faster, making them happier readers, thus I’m in favor of using excerpts on multi-post pages in all WordPress Themes, not full content views.

Creating excerpts in multi-post views is the job of the WordPress Theme designer, and one of the choices they have. If you are using the full version of WordPress and have access to your Theme template files, you can change it to excerpts from full post displays yourself.

Changing the Full Post Content to an Excerpt

WordPress makes changing your content displays on your own full version WordPress easy. To change the way your content displays on these pages, edit the appropriate template files with the built-in Theme Editor (Presentation > Theme Editor) or any text editor and search forthe_content() and change it to the_excerpt(). That’s it.

WordPress code for the_content template tagWordPress code for the_excerpt template tag

The multi-post displaying template files to change may include:

  • index.php
  • archives.php
  • archive.php
  • category.php
  • search.php

Do NOT change it in your single.php or page.php, if you have them in your Theme, as that will force only the excerpt and not the full content to show up on these single post views of your blog. Not a good thing.

By default, WordPress shows only the first 120 words or so of a post as the excerpt. It also strips out all links, styles, and tags so only the text appears. So if your excerpt doesn’t exactly match the look of the top part of your post, this is why.

There are two other ways to set your excerpt, which should work with , overriding the_content() template tag.

On the Write Post panel in the Quicktag buttons, there is a button called more. Set your cursor to wherever you want the excerpt to be set and click it. It will inset <- - more - -> into your post. On the front page of your blog, the excerpt of the post will show until that point. When the visitor clicks the “read more” or “continue reading” link, they will be taken to that point so they can continue reading without having to read over what they have already read.

Using the WordPress quicktag button more to set an excerpt point in the post

The other method is to write an explicit excerpt. Under the Upload Image box on the latest versions of WordPress, or between the title and post content of the old versions, you will find the Optional Excerpt box. Click on the + plus mark in the upper right corner to expand the box. Type in whatever you want for the excerpt and it will be shown on the front page.

Writing an explicit excerpt using the Optional Excerpt section on the Write Post panel in WordPress

This article is taken from (