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Display a WordPress excerpt only when you hover over the featured image of a post

design studio

By Brand Candy


Read Time: 2 Minutes

WordPress excerpt is hidden and only slides up over the featured image on hover

Let’s say you have a feed of posts on your WordPress site being pulled up through your index.php, category.php, or a custom category template file. The most common way this feed is displayed is with the featured image, title, and excerpt for each post.

Something we often do at Brand Candy is to only show the excerpt when the featured image or title are hovered over. We often display the excerpt as an overlay that slides up over the featured image. This can work well if the images are a main feature in the feed and you don’t want them broken up by text.

Below is a basic example, using only CSS, that can be adapted in endless ways to suit your project. We use this type of thing quite often and in loads of different ways, including pulling up a secondary featured image on hover, displaying a call to action button, etc, etc…

Good luck!

Please feel free to ask questions in the comments at the bottom of this post.

WordPress loop and HTML (place this in your index.php, category.php, or your custom category template)

<?php if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>
    <a href="<?php the_permalink() ?>">

      <div class="post-wrap"><!--wrapping container to hold all the elements and to be used as the main hover element-->
        <div class="image-wrap"><!--contains the featured image and the overlay with the excerpt inside it-->
          <?php the_post_thumbnail('recipe-thumbnails'); ?>
          <div class="recipe-overlay"><!--This overlay is hidden and will only display when the main post-wrap div is hovered over-->
            <?php the_excerpt(); ?>
        <h3><?php the_title(); ?></h3>

<?php endwhile; ?>
<?php endif; ?>


.image-wrap {
  position: relative;
  line-height: 0; /*when there is only an image in a div some browsers leave a little space below the image. This gets rid of that space*/
.image-wrap img {
  width: 100%;
  height: auto;
.overlay {
  position: absolute; /*absolute position so that this div can sit over the image*/
  top: 100%; /*pushes the div to the bottom of the relatively positioned image-wrap div*/
  background: #000;
  width: 90%; /*width and height are offset by the padding. Total should add to 100% if you want the overlay to cover the entire image*/
  height: 90%;
  padding: 5%;
  color: #fff;
  transition:200ms; /*This is the speed you want the overlay to retract when moving the mouse off*/
.post-wrap:hover > .image-wrap .overlay {
  top: 0; /*when the post-wrap div is hovered, the overlay div moves from it's original position (top:100%) to this position*/
  transition:300ms; /*This is the speed you want the overlay to slide up on hover*/