How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

Learn how to easily create a to-do list in WordPress.

How To Create A To-Do List In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - How To Create A To Do List In WordPressIf you run a growing business, time always seems to be in short supply.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, urgent tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to extinguish, appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The amount of things that need ”doing” never seems to stop.

Now … add the extra dimension of promoting and growing your business online and keeping your website updated with fresh content and everything can quickly start to become unmanageable and chaotic.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a team, you need to be able to organize and prioritize your daily tasks, track your progress, and, if necessary, assign tasks and responsibilities to team members efficiently.

One ”tried and true” method that can help you save time, reduce stress, and allow you to regain control is to use “to-do” lists.

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to-do” list can help you monitor your progress as you complete projects. Your to-do list can be very detailed and very specific, or just serve as a concise reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc.

Here are just a few of the benefits of using to-do lists:

Think More Clearly

Writing to-do lists means that you don’t have to memorize stuff or store information inside your mind. Once tasks are recorded on a to do list, your mind is free to process information and you can focus on things that are more important to you.

Be More Strategic

Creating and organizing to do lists helps you see the bigger picture and come up with a strategy for getting everything completed on time and on budget.

Reschedule Or Reorganize Quickly

Having a to do list helps you better handle situations. If an appointment gets cancelled or extra time is made available because something was completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reorganize and keep working with no disruption.

Relieve Stress

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and very little time to do it in. Using a to-do list allows you to prioritize urgent tasks that have to get done immediately, and push out non-urgent items that can be addressed at a later time. This can help reduce stress.


Using to do lists and other project management tools is essential for getting other people involved on some of your larger or more complex projects.

As you can see, there are many benefits to using to-do lists, both in business and in your personal life. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work systematically and your business efficiency and productivity will improve.

What about using to do lists on your WordPress website or blog?

In this tutorial you are going to learn how to create a to do list in WordPress to improve business efficiency and productivity using a great little plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

Cleverness to-do lists plugin

Download URL

Plugin Description

This WordPress plugin provides users with a to do list feature.


Note: the plugin features described below will be discussed in more detail in the tutorial section.

You can set up the plugin with private to do lists for each user, to have all users share your to do list, or to have a master list with individual completion of items.

The shared to do list option provides different settings. You can delegate to do items to specific users (this includes emailing a new to do item to users) and optionally to have those items only seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users based on user roles. There are also settings to show deadline and progress fields. Category support is included as well as front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the admin backend to manage your lists and your to do list can also be displayed on the dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as shortcode to display the to-do list items on your site. There are 2 short codes for front-end administration of the list. Category management is accessed through the back-end admin section.

If you plan to run a multi-author site you can use the to-do lists plugin to create custom to-do lists for your post editors if you also use a copy of the Post Planner plugin for WordPress.

Installing The Plugin

Log into your WordPress administration section and choose Plugins > Add New …

WP Plugin Menu

In the Install Plugins section, type in “cleverness” into the search field and click Enter on your keyboard …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - plugin to-do list - Install Cleverness To-Do List

Locate the plugin in the Search Results area and click Install Now

plugin to do list - Cleverness plugin WP to-do lists - Install Cleverness To-Do List

Click Activate Plugin

Cleverness plugin to-do list - to-do list plugin - Activate To-Do List

Note: You can also activate the plugin from the Plugins area …

WP plugin to do lists - Cleverness plugin WP to-do lists - Activate To Do List

Once you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

Cleverness to-do list plugin - Cleverness to-do lists plugin WP - Cleverness To-Do List Settings

Note: You can also get to the plugin’s ‘Settings’ area by selecting To-Do List > Settings from your admin menu …

Cleverness to do lists - To Do List Menu

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ screen …

to do lists Cleverness - To Do List Settings Tab

The section below shows you how to set up the plugin …

How To Set Up The Plugin

The Settings screen is divided into four sections:

  • To-Do List Settings – This section is where you can specify the plugin’s main settings.
  • Advanced Settings – The options in this section let you customize your to-do lists, assign to-do items to other users and perform plugin database maintenance tasks.
  • User Permissions – This area lets you set up user permissions and capabilities for Master and Group List types.
  • Import/Export – This tab lets you import and export your to-do plugin and list data settings.

Let’s now go through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

plugin to-do list - To Do List Settings Screen

To-Do List Categories

Choose ‘Enabled’ to organize lists into categories, otherwise leave this option set to ‘Disabled’.

Note: If you enable this option, a ‘Categories’ item will be added to the To-Do List menu …

to-do lists Cleverness - To Do List Menu

This allows you to add categories that can help organize your to-do lists (see ‘Plugin Usage’ section further below for more details) …

plugin to do lists - To-Do List Add Category

You can set up ‘public’ and ‘private’ categories for your lists.

Categories marked ‘private’ will not be visible using sidebar widgets or short codes (only when ‘Sort Order’ is set to ‘Category’)

List View

List View lets you specify how to-do lists are viewed. There are 3 kinds of list views available:

  • Individual – Use this option if you want each user to be able to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Use this option if you want all users to share one to-do list.
  • Master – Select this option to have one master list for all users, where users have their own individual items to complete. If you choose the ‘Master’ list view, make sure that you configure the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

plugin to do list Cleverness - To Do List Sort Order

‘Sort Order’ lets you specify how your to-do list items will be sorted.

If you choose Alphabetical, Category or ID options, items will be sorted first by priority.

Show Added By

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can display which of your users has added an item to the to-do list.

Note: This setting only applies when ‘List View’ is set to ‘Group’.

Show Date Completed

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), completion dates will display for to-do items.

Show Deadline

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you specify deadlines for to-do tasks …

plugin to-do list - To Do List Settings Deadline

Show Progress

If enabled, you can specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

to-do list plugin Cleverness - To-Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display the ‘To-Do List’ menu in your WP Admin bar

WordPress to-do lists plugin - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

Enabling this option lets you add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

Cleverness - To Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If enabled (‘Yes’), automatic paragraphs are used to display content in to-do list items.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you plan to run a collaborative website or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To-Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, from the same developer that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Plugin

Visit this site to learn more this plugin: WordPress Post Planner

After you are done configuring your plugin options in this section, click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WordPress button save changes

Advanced Settings

After configuring the general settings, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to proceed …

to do list Cleverness - To-Do List Advanced Settings Tab

This brings up the plugin’s ‘Advanced Settings’ screen …

Cleverness plugin to do lists - Advanced Settings

This tab lets you customize your To Do lists, assign to-do tasks to users and carry out database maintenance tasks.

Let’s go through how to configure the plugin’s ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Customize The To-Do List

Here you can customize your To-Do List …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - Advanced Settings Tab - To Do List Customization Settings

You can configure the following options in this section:

Date Format

In this area you can specify how to display dates in your to-do list (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about how to format dates in WordPress, refer to the relevant section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

In this area you can customize your labels for highest (important), middle and low priority items …

Cleverness plugin - Priority drop-down menu

Items given the highest (important) priority display in red in your lists and lowest priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness plugin to do lists - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option will display item IDs on the list …

WP to do lists plugin - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If enabled (‘Yes’), the date your to-do list was added shows on the table of items …

WP to-do lists plugin - Date Added column

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Assign To-Do Items Settings

If you have selected ‘Group’ or ‘Master’ View for your to-do list, you can configure the options in this area and assign items to other users …

plugin to do lists Cleverness - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Assign To-Do Items Settings

The following settings can be configured in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enabling this option lets you assign to-do items to other users …

Cleverness plugin - Assign To Do Items to Users

Note: This set this option to ‘Yes’ for the settings below it to work.

Show a User Only the To-Do Items Assigned to Them

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can display items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled (‘No’) displays items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this section (Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, Subscriber) to display the type of users that can be assigned todo items. Leave the checkbox unticked for any roles that you don’t want to assign to-do items.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), WordPress automatically sends an email to users with their assigned to-do items …

Cleverness plugin - Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want to send out emails to users.

Note: If this option is disabled, skip the remaining settings in this section.

Add Category to Subject

If categories are enabled in your plugin settings and you have selected ‘Yes’ for this option, the to-do category will display on the subject of your emails …

Cleverness - Add Category to Subject

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want to display categories in the subject of your emails.

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want categories to appear the subject of your emails.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enabling this option lets you display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This is a useful option if your website has a number of project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do lists - To-Do Item Email From Field

From Field for Emails Sent to User

Use this field to customize the “From” field when sending out emails. Enter the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

Cleverness plugin - From Field for Emails Sent to User

From Email

In this field, enter the email address that you would like showing as the “sent from” address …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do Item Email From Field

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Enter a subject field for the email that will be automatically sent out to users whenever a new item has been assigned in your to-do list …

to-do list plugin - Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Text in Emails Sent to User

In this field, type the body of the email message that will be sent out automatically to users when a new item has been assigned to your to-do list.

Cleverness to-do list - Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area you can perform database maintenance operations related to plugin data inside the plugin settings area without the need to access your web server …

WordPress to do list plugin - To Do List Advanced Settings > Database maintenance

This is useful if, for example, you see that to-do items you have previously deleted are still displaying on your site.

The tasks below can be performed:

  • Delete Tables – Remove custom database tables that you are no longer using.
  • Delete All To-Do Items – Remove all of your to-do items.


Any database operations performed from this screen cannot be undone. If you are comfortable to proceed with any of the database operations available in this section, then remember to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to do your own backups, then get professional WordPress support, or use WordPress backup plugins. You can read about a great WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to perform complete file and data backups here:

User Permissions

This section lets you configure user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types …

Cleverness WordPress to-do lists plugin - User Permissions Settings Tab


If you select the Individual List type, the only configurable item that is applicable in this section is the View To-Do List option …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do list - User Permissions Settings - View To Do-List

If you plan to configure user permissions and capabilities for Group or Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you want users to have access to for each option …

Cleverness plugin to-do list - User Permissions Settings - View To Do-List

The default general capabilities of each user role are set as follows:

  • Subscribers: Read
  • Contributors: Edit Posts
  • Authors: Publish Posts
  • Editors: Edit Others Posts
  • Administrators: Manage Options

Note: When working with the Master list type make sure that you only allow non-administrator users to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

Cleverness to-do list plugin WordPress - User Permissions Settings Tab

Let’s go through the settings in this section:

View To-Do List

Here you can allow the chosen capability to view to-do items in the dashboard widget and on the To-Do List page under the ‘Tools’ section.

Complete To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the chosen capability to mark items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This permits the selected capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This setting permits the selected capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This setting allows the selected capability to assign to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This setting allows the selected capability to view all tasks even if “Show Each User Only Their Assigned Tasks” is set to ‘Yes’.

Delete To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the selected capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

This setting enables the chosen capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

Here you can enable the selected capability to add new categories.


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be very useful. For example, you may need to transfer data from an existing list to another website, or store your list data for backup or reporting purposes.

To access this function, click on the ‘Import/Export’ tab in your plugin settings section …

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Settings

Use this section to import and export your to-do list data and plugin settings …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do lists - Import/Export Settings

Exporting To-Do List Data

You can export and download your list data settings by clicking on the ‘Download Export File’ …

to-do list plugin Cleverness - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings - Download Export File

This opens up a window allowing you to view or download your data in a plain text file (e.g. Notepad) to a storage device …

WP to-do list plugin - Import/Export - Export Settings File

As well as exporting to-do list data from the ‘Import/Export’ section, you can also export data by going to your WordPress admin menu and choosing Tools > Export

WP Export Menu

You can include to-do list data in an export file (in XML format), either by selecting ‘All content’ (includes everything – posts, pages, etc…), or just select ‘To-Do’ from the ‘Choose what to export’ section and click the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to your hard drive…

WordPress Menu Tools > Export - To-Do Data

Importing To-Do List Data

Importing a list data file is easy. Just click on the ‘Browse’ button next to the ‘Choose File to Import’ field …

WordPress plugin to do list - Import/Export Settings - Import/Export Settings Section - Import To-Do File

Select the file and click ‘Open’ …

Cleverness - Import/Export - Import/Export Settings - Import File

After the data file has been uploaded in your settings area, click on ‘Import Settings’ …

WP plugin to-do lists - Import/Export Settings Tab - Import/Export Settings - Import File

Your file data will be imported.

After configuring all plugin settings, you can begin create and edit your to-do lists.

Plugin Usage

To create a new to-do list, go to your WordPress dashboard menu and click on To-Do List > To-Do List

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List > To-Do List

This brings up the ‘To-Do List’ screen …

Cleverness plugin WP to-do list - To-Do List screen

Add New To-Do Items

There are a number of ways to add new to-do items to your list.

For example, you can add new to-do items to your list from your WP admin toolbar …

to do list plugin - Adding New To-Do Items

You can also add new items to your to-do list in your Dashboard by clicking on the ‘Add To-Do item’ link …

to do lists plugin Cleverness - Adding New To-Do Items

You can click on the ‘Add New Item’ link in the ‘To-Do Items’ section (note: only use this option if your To Do list contains many items, since the link will simply send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the page) …

to do lists Cleverness - Adding New To-Do Items To Your List

All the methods shown above will take you to the ‘Add New To-Do Item’ section.

Depending on how you have set up your plugin, you may or may not see certain options displayed when adding new to-do items.

Configure the options you have enabled for your to-do items, enter appropriate values and information into the relevant fields and click on the ‘Submit To-Do Item’ button to add the new to-do item …

to do lists Cleverness - Add New To-Do Items

Note: If you are using a list type that lets you assign responsibilities over items to users, select a user from the drop-down list and assign them the item …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do lists - Assign To Do Items to Users

You can also make multiple users responsible for the same item (click on ‘x’ to remove a user) …

Cleverness - Assign To Do Items to Users

After the item has been added, it will display as an entry in the ‘To-Do Items’ table …

Cleverness to do lists - How To Add New To-Do Items

Repeat this process to add new items to your to-do list …

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - Add New To-Do Items To Your List

Edit And Delete Items

To edit or delete an item, click on the ‘Edit’ or ‘Delete’ buttons associated with each item under the ‘Action’ column …

Edit And Delete To Do Items

Depending on your plugin configuration plugin settings (discussed earlier), users assigned to tasks may also receive email notifications …

to-do lists plugin - Email Assigned To Do Items to User

Once you have created your to-do list, users can view the list inside their own dashboard …

Cleverness plugin - View To-Do List

When the user assigned with completing an item ticks the item checkbox …

Cleverness to do list - Completed To-Do Items User Dashboard

… the item is removed from the “To-Do” list …

Cleverness - Completed To Do Items User Dashboard

And appears in the ‘Completed Items’ section located in the main screen of the ‘To-Do List’ plugin …

Cleverness - Completed To-Do List Item

Additional Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin offers additional functions that let you display a to-do list on your site using widgets, and insert a list into content inside a page or post using short codes.

Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

To add a to-do list to your site using widgets, go to the ‘Widgets’ section (Appearance > Widgets) and drag the ‘To-Do List’ widget to the location in your sidebar (or footer) menu where you want your list to show …

Cleverness plugin - Plugin Widget

Configure the widget settings and click the ‘Save’ button to update your settings …

to-do lists plugin - Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Widget

The list will appear on your site where the ‘to-do-list’ widget has been placed (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

To learn more about using WordPress widgets, see the tutorial below:

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

The plugin also lets you display lists and checklists to your site with short codes.

To access the plugin’s short code documentation, click on To-Do List > To-Do List from your dashboard menu …

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List > To-Do List

Click the ‘Help’ tab on the top right hand corner of your screen …

Cleverness to do lists - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

Click on the ‘Shortcodes’ menu entry to access the Shortcode Documentation screen …

Plugin Short Codes

The documentation section explains various ways to configure and use short codes to display lists and checklists on your posts and pages.

Once you know what information you want to add to your site, create or edit a new or existing page or post and either type or paste the short code into the content section …

Plugin Short Codes

Publish your post or page and you should see the list showing exactly where you have added the short code …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

Visit this site to download this plugin:

Congratulations! Now you can create and add a to-do list to your WordPress site.


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