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Plugin API/Filter Reference/the content


The "the_content" filter is used to filter the content of the post after it is retrieved from the database and before it is printed to the screen.

A plugin (or theme) can register as a content filter with the code:

<?php add_filter( 'the_content', 'filter_function_name' ) ?>

Where 'filter_function_name' is the function WordPress should call when the content is being retrieved. Note that the filter function must return the content after it is finished processing, or site visitors will see a blank page and other plugins also filtering the content may generate errors.

filter_function_name should be unique function name. It cannot match any other function name already declared.


Debug Page

This could be used to provide generated content for a page (as an alternative to the Shortcode_API), or for a set of pages sharing some characteristics (e.g. the same author):

// returns the content of $GLOBALS['post']
// if the page is called 'debug'
function my_the_content_filter($content) {
  // assuming you have created a page/post entitled 'debug'
  if ($GLOBALS['post']->post_name == 'debug') {
    return var_export($GLOBALS['post'], TRUE );
  // otherwise returns the database content
  return $content;

add_filter( 'the_content', 'my_the_content_filter' );

Post Icon

This filter function adds an image before the post on the post page (see is_single()). It assumes an image named post_icon.png exists in the theme images folder. It runs at a lower priority (20) which runs later than most other filters (default is 10).

add_filter( 'the_content', 'my_the_content_filter', 20 );
 * Add a icon to the beginning of every post page.
 * @uses is_single()
function my_the_content_filter( $content ) {

    if ( is_single() )
        // Add image to the beginning of each page
        $content = sprintf(
            '<img class="post-icon" src="%s/images/post_icon.png" alt="Post icon" title=""/>%s',
            get_bloginfo( 'stylesheet_directory' ),

    // Returns the content.
    return $content;

Featured Image

Adds a featured image set from the single post Edit screen which displays before the content on single posts only.

 add_filter( 'the_content', 'featured_image_before_content' ); 
 function featured_image_before_content( $content ) { 
    if ( is_singular('post') && has_post_thumbnail()) {
        $thumbnail = get_the_post_thumbnail();

        $content = $thumbnail . $content;

    return $content;

See Also