I load an Article node with node_load() and I'd like to get the summary for the Body field. I know that I can access it with $node->body[$node->language][0]['summary'] but unless the user explicitly adds a Summary Body, then this field is empty.

I know that drupal will automatically generate a "trimmed body" if they don't add a Summary Body. How can I access that trimmed body?


I'm not interesting in render()ing the content, I just want the text. My module is generating a json feed for an external source.

4 Answers 4


node_view() is appropriate when you need to render whole node or many of it's fields.
But sometimes you have to render the only field you need. It can be done with field_view_field() or field_view_value():

$node = node_load($nid);
// Render array of body field.
$build_body = field_view_field('node', $node, 'body', 'teaser');
// Render it in common way.
echo render($build_body);

The interesting thing is that you can pass your own field formatter settings instead of view mode with the fourth parameter. Please, read API docs for more info.

  • Thanks, I'll check these out! You may have answered another question I had as well. Jul 5, 2012 at 16:50

A fairly detailed discussion on this topic is on Drupal 7 How to load a teaser programatically.

$teaser = render(node_view(node_load($nid), 'teaser'));
print $teaser['body'][0]['#markup'];

I wan't summary field always filled then I use something like this function (in custom module):

 * Implements of hook_node_presave().
function mymodule_node_presave($node) {
  // if is summary not empty we can continue
  if (isset($node->body[LANGUAGE_NONE][0]['summary']) && !empty($node->body[LANGUAGE_NONE][0]['summary'])) return;

  // we use module smart_trim to create smart trimmed variant of summary
  $build_body = field_view_field('node', $node, 'body', array(
    'type' => 'smart_trim_format',
    'settings' => array(
      'trim_length' => 8,
      'trim_type' => 'words',
      'trim_suffix' => '...',
      'more_link' => FALSE,
      'more_text' => 'Read more',
      'summary_handler' => 'full',
      'trim_options' => array(
        'text' => TRUE,

  // store created summary
  $node->body[LANGUAGE_NONE][0]['summary'] = $build_body[0]['#markup'];

Module smart_trim is used as renderer for summary.


For anyone interested, here is the most minimal solution. I will use db_select to execute the query rather than node_load.

//first build the query
$query = db_select('node', 'n');
$query->fields('n', array('nid', 'title', 'language'));
$query->join('field_data_body', 'body', 'body.entity_type=\'node\' && body.deleted=0 && body.entity_id=n.nid');
$query->addField('body', 'body_value', 'body_value');
$query->addField('body', 'body_summary', 'body_summary');
$query->addField('body', 'body_format', 'body_format');

//fetch a single item as an associative array
$item = $query->execute()->fetchAssoc();

//If an explicit summary has not been provided, we generate it here
if (empty($item['body_summary'])) {
    $summary = check_markup($item['body_value'], $item['body_format'], $item['language']);
    $item['body_summary'] = text_summary($summary, $item['body_format']);

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