Trim long texts by words in PHP

Posted by Danny Herran on Oct 14, 2010 in Backend | No comments

We don’t like reading chopped sentences like “Star Wars Old Republic is be….”. It looks fugly. Usually, when trimming text you will go with substr(), but there is a much better way to do it, and believe me, you trimmed text will look so much better than before.

Let’s get to the point. A PHP function that will do the job for us:

function trim_text($input, $length, $ellipses = true, $strip_html = true, $output_entities = true){
  // Strip tags, if desired
  if($strip_html) {
    $input = strip_tags($input);

  // No need to trim, already shorter than trim length
  if(strlen($input) <= $length) {
    return $input;

  // Find last space within length
  $last_space = strrpos(substr($input, 0, $length), ' ');
  $trimmed_text = substr($input, 0, $last_space);

  // Add ellipses (...)
    $trimmed_text .= '...';

    $trimmed_text = htmlentities($trimmed_text);

  return $trimmed_text;

If you need to trim a long text by 120 characters, you could do something like:

echo trim_text($long_text, 120);

The other options are pretty self explanatory. Add elipses (…), remove HTML tags, and return the text with html entities.