Thesis 2.0 Custom Excerpt Box

Thesis 2.0 Custom Excerpt Box

Introducing the DIY WP Custom Excerpt Box for Thesis 2.0

The custom excerpt box is design to give you greater control over the excerpt straight from the HTML editor. It can be used as many times as you want but only once for each post box or Query box.

Think about it, you can control which content is displayed via the query box then with the custom excerpt box you can format the excerpt according to your needs.

This means unlimited control and is perfect for magazine style blogs, displaying guest posts after your posts for the home page.

Example of 2 different excerpt lengths.

Update – 11/04/2013

Version 1.0.3

  • The excerpt box has been updated to control the length of the excerpt via word count.
  • The issue of the last word being absent is now fixed.
  • You can now append the excerpt by switching the HTML wrapper to span.
  • To increase the total excerpt length, add the script below.

Update – 09/02/2013

The default excerpt for WordPress is capped at 55 characters. To increase this global variable we need to add a function to our custom.php. Log in to your file manager either via the file manager system on your host or via FTP.

Copy and paste the following code.

function custom_excerpt_length( $length ) {
    return 55;
add_filter( 'excerpt_length', 'custom_excerpt_length', 999 );

55 is the default, so you can change this number to increase your excerpts maximum length. The excerpt box uses characters and stops at the nearest whole word.

This means that 55 words is about 220 – 280 characters to give you an idea.

Custom Excerpt Box

The custom Excerpt box allows you to control the length of the excerpt as well as enable or disable the read more link.

You can also add a customize the read more link for each post box or query box.

Default settings

Class = .post_excerpt ( You may specify your own class if needed. )

Excerpt Length = 250 ( The length of the excerpt is defined by the number of characters and will stop at the nearest full word. )

Read More Link = unchecked ( You must check this box to enable the read more link. )

Read More… = Read More… ( You may overwrite this by simply writing your custom link in the text field. )

The Read more class is .custom_read_more


Once purchased simply upload the zip file via the Box up-loader in the thesis options.

Select the blue upload button and an upload box will appear where you may browse to find the box and once select thesis will automatically upload the box.

You will then need to check the box and save to activate it.

How to use the Custom Excerpt Box

Once installed and activated head over to your HTML editor and select add box.

Select the Custom Excerpt Box

Shift click and drag the newly created Custom Excerpt box to the post box or query box that you are going to use it in.

Then simply remove the old Excerpt by dragging it to the remove section of the post or query box.

Save your template and your good to go.

You can style your new excerpts using a CSS Post formatting Package.

You will receive full support via the forum.

You should also subscribe to the blog to ensure you get notified of updates about the Box.

Features can be requested.

This box will be maintained and respond to the requirements of users.
Don’t have Thesis check it out here

About the Author

Matthew Horne - Web Developer

Matthew Horne is web developer who specializes in optimized development. He also builds custom solutions instead of reverting to plugins. Matthew Has a strong understanding of PHP, JavaScript, jQuery.

62 comments… add one

  • Puneet Sahalot November 1, 2012, 8:30 pm

    Nice work, once again! Will be helpful for many who are trying to replicate the Features + Teasers look and feel with 2.0 :)

    • Matthew Horne November 1, 2012, 9:17 pm

      Thanks, I thought hard about charging, but considering how long it took to make this thing work like it does, I think it is justified.

  • Campbell November 2, 2012, 2:01 am


    One thing that has me slightly concerned about the new way of doing a page with all teaser is that we need to remove the WP Loop Box to achieve this. I come from Joomla development and have been using WordPress for a year and a half now so there is still much that I need to learn.

    Is my concern with the above statement legitimate and warranted or am I tripping myself out for no reason on that scenario with Thesis 2.0.1 and having to remove the WP Loop Box to get a full page of Teasers?

    I am n0t to proud to admit that I am still unfamiliar with many aspects of WordPress so I don’t feel as if this is a stupid question. Besides, this is how you learn is by asking questions. : )

    This brings me to my next question, does this Excerpt Box allow the placement of Teaser Images within the functionality of the Excerpt Box itself? If not, what is the story on that end with incorporating Teaser Images when using your box?

    I hope that I did not confuse this by the way that I have worded it Matt?

    P.S .. How’s Coco?

    • Matthew Horne November 2, 2012, 2:03 pm

      You dont need to remove the loop, but you can place the query boxes outside of the loop and use the excerpt box, but for the content inside the excerpt you can also use the excerpt box.

      You can add the featured image as normal by adding the build in featured image to the query box or post box and a touch of css to style your posts.

      Coco is still churping along lol

  • AernoutZevenbergen November 2, 2012, 9:26 am

    Hi Matt,

    I purchased it, but got an error message on this page:

    Sorry, you do not have access to this content.

    If you are a free member, then click here to purchase access.


    You’re seeing this message because this content is not yet available to you (or has already expired).

    Any idea what went wrong?

    • Matthew Horne November 2, 2012, 11:32 am

      You should be able to download now, you will need to log in before you can access the content area.

      • AernoutZevenbergen November 2, 2012, 12:09 pm

        Nope – still not allowed in…

        • Matthew Horne November 2, 2012, 2:00 pm

          I have sent you the file via email.

          You are marked as paid, what type of payment method did you use?

  • Campbell November 2, 2012, 4:56 pm

    Hey Matt, : )

    Thanks for the follow up on my post Matt. Like I said, still a lot that I do not know about WP in general but learning everyday.

    A little of topic but figured that I would ask anyway. Is DAP working properly in 2.0.1? I ask because I use DAP as well.

  • Aernout November 3, 2012, 1:02 pm

    Hey Matt,

    Got it working: superb!
    Definitely worth the 5 bucks!!!
    Saves me loads of time, and you’ve added all the right stuff.

    • Matthew Horne November 3, 2012, 1:17 pm

      Excellent thats good to hear. Once my new store is finished and forum/members area, you will be auto added to it where your personal purchases will all be easily available for you.

      Glad you like it :-)

      Saves me alot of time to from using filters and functions.

      I only charge because I will be supporting it and it took quite some time to make that work for unlimited post boxes and query boxes.

      • Aernout November 3, 2012, 1:28 pm

        You should charge, no need to apologise. :-)
        It’s 5 bucks very well spent! Your hours of work save me hours of work.

  • Aernout November 4, 2012, 2:16 pm

    Matt, I have a feature request: could you in a next version add an option to choose either manual or automated excerpt? In Thesis 1.x the teasers (which were manual excerpts, unless there was none, in which case it was the automated excerpt) were preceded by the part of the post were the author had added the “More link” in the post.
    That was a fantastic characteristic of the teasers idea in Thesis 1.x…!

    • Matthew Horne November 4, 2012, 2:37 pm

      Excerpts are fundamentally different from the content.

      The excerpt is the_excerpt()

      The content is the_content()

      This more tag can only be used with the content, I havnt tested yet, but if you use a manual excerpt by enabling is via the screen options in the post editor, you should be able to add a custom excerpt.

      To use the more tag, you should use the content box instead of an excerpt and then you can add the more tag to the post.

  • aquarius1986 November 5, 2012, 12:56 am

    Hi just purchased this box. I’m wonder if there’s a way to separate the excerpts by category? For instance I only want news and announcements to appear on the homepage, below the homepage opening message. Is this possible or will it post all categories only? Thanks a lot.

    • Matthew Horne November 5, 2012, 1:07 am

      Thank you, you can do just that by using a query box, this custom excerpt box is to control the excerpt for post boxes and query boxes, normally you would have to set up some php functions but this box lets you do it with some simple options.

      That way you can have say a query box pulling content for a certain category and another as say a featured post. So you might want to display more text for the featured post than the category ones and this excerpt box lets you do just that.


  • Ranjan November 9, 2012, 1:21 pm

    Hi Matthew its really informative post especially for those who are not moving towards Thesis 2.0 including me. Actually i need more researches i.e. concerning that how much Thesis 2.0 is compatible with SEO. Seriously I have some hesitation before experimenting Thesis 2.0.
    Thanks for your great sharing, eager to know more about Thesis.

    • Matthew Horne November 9, 2012, 1:23 pm

      Thesis 2.0 has built in SEO, you can customize each post with the options underneath the post as well as config other SEO related options in the site menu options.

  • suey November 28, 2012, 11:33 pm

    Okay, I was able to follow your “How to use the Custom Excerpt Box” up until your “Save your template and your good to go.” After that… I go to CSS to create the length of the excerpt? Where?

    • Matthew Horne November 28, 2012, 11:35 pm

      The excerpt lenght is controlled in the Box options, each box has different options, so if you click on the option for it, you will see where you can change the length.

  • suey November 28, 2012, 11:53 pm

    I also just went into the Custom Excerpt HTML and put “.post_excerpt” in the HTML class box, changed the Excerpt Length to 650, and checked the “Read More Link”.

    The only thing that worked was “Read More” now shows up. What am I missing?

    • Matthew Horne November 28, 2012, 11:56 pm

      Can you send me a screen shot of your html structure please.

      • suey November 29, 2012, 12:00 am

        Okay, I’ll email you it.

        • Matthew Horne February 9, 2013, 6:00 am

          The post has been updated to show you how to increase the global maximum.

      • suey November 29, 2012, 12:04 am

        Okay, I’m attaching it. Here’s a link to the site if that helps:

        Thx. Mark

        Screen Shot 2012-11-28 at 4.01.13 PM.png

        • Matthew Horne November 29, 2012, 12:15 am

          Please note that the Excerpt length is based on characters. The excerpt has a limit to lenght, so for example if you reduce the number it will change, but up to a certain point it will not. This is a default wordpress behavior.

          • suey November 29, 2012, 12:25 am

            So, the length can’t go past 250 characters?

          • Matthew Horne November 29, 2012, 12:26 am

            as it stands around 55 words. I will look in to it further to try to increase it.

          • suey November 29, 2012, 12:29 am

            ??? What is the point of your box if not to extend the extend the length of the except. The default is about 250 characters!

          • Matthew Horne November 29, 2012, 12:32 am

            People require shorter excerpts. I will be working further on this, to extend it.

          • suey November 29, 2012, 12:43 am

            Seriously?? I can’t imagine who would need that… crazy day.

  • Duane November 30, 2012, 8:31 pm

    Great box, thank you!

    I have one question… the “read more” link appears under the excerpt text, what would I need to do to make it appear on the same line as the last line of text?

    • Matthew Horne December 1, 2012, 8:11 pm

      Good question, I will add that option in, I just moved to the other side of the world. So just getting set up over here in Asia.

  • Frederick December 8, 2012, 4:14 pm

    How do I align right the “Read More…” text?

    • Matthew Horne December 8, 2012, 4:21 pm

      In what way? Like this

      .custom_read_more {
      float: right;

      or do you mean to append it to the end of the excerpt.

      • Frederick December 9, 2012, 4:21 am

        How about to append it to the end of the excerpt? And where to put the code above?

        • Matthew Horne December 9, 2012, 11:25 am

          The code above would go in the custom css tab in the CSS editor, I will have to make some changes to the box to add the option to append it.

          • Geoffrey Allan Plauché January 30, 2013, 5:59 am

            I’d like this option as well. Or at least for the box to append a triple-dot ellipsis (…) at the end of the excerpt to indicate a sentence has been intentionally cut off and that the reader isn’t looking at a typo.

          • Matthew Horne January 30, 2013, 6:04 am

            For now, as I am extremely busy with some projects you could do this with CSS.

            .post_excerpt:after {

            content: “…”;


            change the class to whatever your class is, this is the default, the pseudo class :after will append the content … to the end.

          • Geoffrey Allan Plauché February 3, 2013, 3:40 am

            Thanks! I didn’t know about that trick.

          • Matthew Horne February 3, 2013, 4:37 am

            No problem, you can do this with anything, also there is one for before. Using the pseudo class :before

  • Julian January 21, 2013, 7:42 am

    Quick question: will this work with asian scripts (Japanese, in particular)? The problem I have with the default excerpts is that because Japanese has no spaces between words, the entire post ends up in the excerpt. With your box I can specify the number of characters, but I notice that you say “to the nearest word”, which makes me think I’ll still have the same problem …

    • Matthew Horne January 21, 2013, 8:05 am

      I couldn’t tell you, but I can switch the language on my test site and see if it works.

      • Julian January 21, 2013, 12:51 pm

        Thank you! that would be a big help. If it works out I’ll definitely be buying =)

  • Duane February 28, 2013, 4:42 pm

    Any ETA on an update that will allow us to append the “Read More…” link to the end of the excerpt? I’d really like to see that feature added.

    • Matthew Horne March 1, 2013, 7:43 am

      In the next update, I have to fix an issue with the url working both inside and outside the loop.

  • Pampurrs March 19, 2013, 8:43 pm

    Hi there,

    I just bought this box with the hope that it would allow me to create 2 or 3 column excerpts. I don’t see an option to do this. Is this not possible with your box?



    • Matthew Horne March 20, 2013, 7:04 am

      If you use a query box in the columns, so one query box per columns, configure the posts you want to pull for each, then replace the default excerpt with this excerpt box and you can alter the length for each, individually, the excerpt box can be used multiple times via the add box option.

  • Pampurrs March 19, 2013, 8:50 pm

    Also, I just noticed that I am not able to change the length. It is set on 250, but doesn’t allow me to change it.



    • Matthew Horne March 20, 2013, 7:02 am

      Hi Pam, the number 250 is just a placeholder, you can just type in a number and it will overwrite that. In a future update I am going to add an option to change the global excerpt length, as this box is limited in max excerpt length by the wordpress global length, but you can change the length at this time, from anywhere between 0 – 55 words which is about 0 – 350 characters.

  • Curtis Flick April 10, 2013, 11:26 pm

    Love the box but I am having a weird problem. The last word of all my excerpts are missing. Any idea what this could be?

    • Matthew Horne April 11, 2013, 9:21 am

      This is fixed in the next update, also the length will be set by the number of words, not character length. I will be releasing this shortly.

      • Curtis Flick April 11, 2013, 1:55 pm

        Fantastic, thanks!

  • Ricky April 21, 2013, 12:31 am


    It’s not working for me, I can make the excerpt smaller but not any bigger… I’ve added the php into custom.php but it’s still not working.

    I’m using the marketers delight theme.

    Any help would be great thanks!

  • Jeff April 24, 2013, 12:35 am

    will this box allow you to have tags work for excerpts. Basically what I’m trying to do is have the formatting in the excerpt be the same as in the original post.

    • Matthew Horne April 24, 2013, 8:14 am

      At this point, no, however I am working to allow it to pull the content, whilst allowing you to cap it as well as still having the current options.

      That still wouldn’t pull the tags though, that’s something different altogether, you would have to add the tags to the post box where your excerpts will be.

  • Ricky April 24, 2013, 10:27 pm

    Hey Matt,

    Thanks for the help before. I do have one more question – How can I switch it back to the old style so it is by character length rather than word length?

    it’s just in some posts there are long words, then in others there are small and I am using a grid layout which makes the layout un-even. I don’t mind words being cut off!

    • Matthew Horne April 25, 2013, 6:10 am

      If you got to the download area, then locate the custom excerpt, you will see on the right side (Previous Versions), You can just download that version and delete the current version and upload an older one. I will look at possibly adding an option to select via word or character count at a later date.

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