How to disable Magento “short description” field for products

Magento has a lot of “sensible defaults” as settings, but we find time and time again, we end up disabling the short description field for product pages in Magento.

Disabling the short description attribute for your store tends to be for a few reasons:

  • the client is importing contents from another during a site migration to Magento, and the old product data doesn’t (generating a short description automatically tends to end up messy!)
  • the client’s website is being penalised for duplicate content (very rare, in our experience) – often as the short description uses exactly the same content as the longer product description
  • the custom Magento theme design chosen for the store does not accommodate the short description field

Disabling the product’s short description in Magento

To disable the short description field entirely for your Magento store, log in to your Magento store’s administration panel, and navigate to Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attribute sets:

Navigate to Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attribute Sets

Select your product attribute set (this is usually Default, unless), and you’ll see the screen below. Drag and drop the short_description field to the Unassigned Attributes column on the right, and click Save Attribute Set:

Remove the short_description field from Magento

Disabling the product short description field as a required field

As well as entirely removing Magento’s short description field for products, you can change your product attribute settings so that the short description is no longer required to add a product to your store, which hides the short description field for all products that don’t have one added.

This field can be turned off fairly easy: log in to your Magento administration panel, and navigate to Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attributes.

Disable short description in Magento product pages

From the list of product attributes shown, find short_description:

Selecting the attribute short_description in Magento's backend

Select this attribute to edit it, and locate the Values Required field. Set this field’s value to No to click the Save Attribute button at the top-right of the screen.

Depending on your caching options, you may need to clear Magento’s caches and possibly reindex your product data to see the change take affect.

Turn Magento's short description off as a required field

This works in the most recent version of Magento Enterprise Edition and Magento Community Edition (we use Magento Community Edition 1.7 or 1.8), and should work on much earlier versions of Magento too (though see about upgrading your Magento store soon!).