Display Excerpts in Twenty Twelve Theme

Here’s how you can make Twenty Twelve theme show excerpts instead of the full post. I’ll also show you how you can display a smaller thumbnail on the homepage, and remove the featured image from the single post view as well as add and customize a “Continue Reading” link.

Use a child theme

As always, it’s a good idea to create a child theme when making modifications to Twenty Twelve (or any default WordPress theme). Here’s a help article on how to crate one, there’s a blank child theme you can download at the bottom of the post. How to create a WordPress Child Theme

Once you’ve done that, copy content.php from Twenty Twelve to your child theme folder and open it.

Edit Template files

Open content.php and around line 33 find

This conditional tells your theme to display excerpts only for the search page. To make it also display them on the home page add is_home to it like this.

Save and close content.php and refresh your site. You should see posts displayed as excerpts, but there’s more you can do.

The next part is totally optional. I’ll show you had to add a 140×140 thumbnail instead of the large one Twenty Twelve uses, and also how to display a “Continue Reading” link at the end of the excerpt.

Use a smaller thumbnail

Create a file called functions.php (if you already have one, add this next code to it) and open it.

We’re going to use a 140x140px size thumbnail so we need to tell WordPress to create this thumbnail size for any images that are uploaded.
Add this to your functions.php

Save functions.php but leave it open, there’s more code to add to it later.

Add new thumbnail to the loop

Open content.php and on line 34 fine

Below this line add

This adds the thumbnail to the excerpt, aligns it to the left and links to the post. I’ve also added a css class so you can style the thumbnail if you want. Use .excerpt-thumb to style it.

If you save content.php and refresh your site, you should see a smaller post thumbnail, but also see the normal featured image above the posts as well. This needs to be removed, so in content.php go to line 18 and remove this line.

Save and close content.php and refresh your site. The large featured image should be gone, leaving only the left aligned 140x140px thumbnail. If you click on a post, the featured image should also be gone from there as well.

If you do want the featured image to display on the single post view as it does in the excerpt here’s how you can add it.

In content.php just below where we added the post thumbnail code, around line 41 find the line

Below it add

Save and close content.php. You should see the left aligned post thumbnail in the content on the single posts page.

Adding the Continue Reading Link

By default the excerpt will only display [...] at the end of the text. If you want a linked “Continue Reading” link instead, open functions.php and add this below the code we added earlier for the new image size.

This removes the [...] and replaces it with our own text, hyperlinks it to the post, and also adds a css class so you can style the link if you like.
Modify the text however you want, and use .continue-reading in your style sheet to customize the link.

Save and close functions.php and view your website. Here’s a preview of what it the finished results should look like.

If your thumbnail images are not displaying the proper sizes, it’s because WordPress hasn’t created that size images yet. You can fix this by installing one of my favorite plugins Ajax Rebuild Thumbnails and running it once. It can be deactivated after that.
This plugin simple creates the 140×140 image size (or whatever image size you selected) needed for previously uploaded media.

Hope this tutorial was helpful to you. Here’s a child theme with the above code already added, use it however you like.

132 thoughts on “Display Excerpts in Twenty Twelve Theme

    1. Hi Ali, You can create your own excerpt on the post editor page. Create a new post, at the top click “Screen Options” checkmark “excerpts” then a new text area should be displayed under the post editor, add your excerpt there. If your theme supports it, it should display it.

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  2. It’s in maintenance mode but i can deactivate if you need to see.
    I have code I added for the caption of he featured image to show.
    How do I not allow that to show on index page.

    Also, the continue reading link is gone when I use the excerpt option.

    Also, if I use an ordered list in the post, the format is gone in the index page.

    1. Hi James, the continue reading link should automatically display. If it’s not, make sure you’ve added the code mentioned under “Adding the Continue Reading Link”

      All html is stripped from the excerpt, that’s a WordPress feature. Check the old forums (link in the sidebar) for posts on adding live links to excerpts, or allow html in excerpts, there are a few posts that explain how to allow html within it.

      If you don’t want thumbnails displayed then skip the part that says to add

      Open a forum post if you need any more help with this, the comments are becoming overwhelming

  3. Hi, thanks for a fantastic tutorial, I have one quick question – How can I set the length of the excerpt?

    I’ve tried using the traditional way that seems to be on all the forums

    but it doesn’t seem to work since adding in the rest of your code. Any help would be appreciated.

  4. Hi tnx allot for your help! I learned alot. Still something went wrong when i added the code for: reading more text it doensn’t appear. I did exactly what you did.

    // Remove the … from excerpt and change the text

  5. Hey awesome guide. It made my site look great. I had two questions to ask you:

    1) How can you make a small boarder (either white or black) around the thumbnail picture?

    2) How can you make it so when people click on “archive” or a category, all your posts there also are displayed the same way with an excerpt and thumbnail? Instead of the full post as it is by default.

    Thanks a million!!!

    1. You can use is_category to display them on category pages like this

      Read here for more info on displaying them in other areas of your theme http://codex.wordpress.org/Conditional_Tags

      You can add a border or style the image by using the .excerpt-thumb class like this

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