Limit Content Length in WordPress with wp_trim_words()

wp_trim_words() is a nifty function added in WordPress 3.3 that allows you to set the character/words limit for a specific block of content.

wp_trim_words() takes 3 params: $text, $num_words and $more.

$text is simply the text you want truncated. wp_trim_words() will take this text and strip out all the tags before truncating it. The cool thing about this function is that it is localized, so translators can specify how they want the text truncated. The text can be truncated based on words or character count, which can be helpful for languages where the word count is based solely upon single characters.

$num_words is an integer that specifies how many words you want to display before the text is truncated. The default setting to this is 55.

$more is the text appended to your truncated content. It is set to … by default, but you could change this into something like a “Read More” type of thing if you want.

Let’s say you want to limit the output of your content to 80 words. We can do a simply query and use wp_trim_words() to achieve this with relative ease.

As you can see from above, we are simply creating a new query and outputting the title and content, only the content is being truncated by wp_trim_words() to only show the first 80 words.

Limiting the content length is now a piece of cake with this nifty little function – hope you can find some uses for it in your upcoming projects!

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  • Jamie Mitchell

    Awesome! thanks

    how can i add the read more aswell? it does not seem to show

  • WP Mayor

    Would be nice if this function would have the option to not strip out all tags, and also to add a read more link. Having “Read More” without it being a link is a bit useless…

  • webapptester

    You saved me! :D

  • Nguyễn Đình Quân

    I find it! It’s allow me cut-down the post content on the front page :)

  • Bill Koontz

    this worked like a charm.. thanks all!

  • prakash prakash

    Its working fine. Thanks.

  • Sallam

    Can we use this to limit the max characters of each word in comments? I need to stop people from writing repeated letters like “toooooooooooooooooooo long” and possibly change it to “too long”, allowing a max of 2 consecutive letters in each word.

  • BenM


    Thanks for the article. I am looking for an easy way (i’m not a programmer) to limit or count the number of words for a specific text box on a job posting submissions page. Any resources you can point me to?


  • edyzen

    Good article
    But how to allow all tags in the content ?
    Any idea? thanks

    • griffinjt

      This function strips all formatting. If you need formatting it tact, you might be better off creating custom excerpts or using a plugin like Advanced Excerpt where you can determine the number of characters to show and the tags to allow (I use that plugin on this site).

  • Hoang DT

    nice post, thank you

  • Riley Adam Voth

    Hey Thomas! Just stumbled onto you today while scouring the internet for a plugin or way to limit post lengths for WP posts.

    I’m not a developer by any means, but I own and operate a multi-author blog for young men (most in ministry) and help coach them to develop their thoughts, write well, write for the web, etc. I’m looking for a way to limit the post sizes to say, 700 words max. Some of these guys write thousands of words/post and they’re great, except they’ll never be read. What you wrote here sounds like it could do that, but is there a plugin possibility for this for the uneducated like myself? Thanks for your time and keep up the Good work. :)