How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

Creating A To-Do List In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - Creating To-Do Lists In WordPressTime is always in short supply, especially if you are a busy person trying to run a business or manage a team.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to extinguish, appointments to make, commitments to keep and so on. The amount of things that need to get done never ends.

Now … add the extra dimension of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website or blog updated with fresh content and everything can suddenly begin to feel unmanageable and out of control.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a team, you need to be able to organize and prioritize your activities, track your progress and daily accomplishments, and, if necessary, delegate responsibilities to other people efficiently.

One proven tool that can help you save time, alleviate stressful workloads, and allow you to take control is to use “to-do” lists.

The Benefits Of Using To Do Lists

A “to do” list helps you measure your progress when trying to achieve certain goals. Your to do list can be detailed and very specific, or just serve as a reminder of what needs to be done over a given period of time.

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

Clear Thinking

Writing a to do list means you won’t have to try to memorize stuff or clutter your head with details. Once tasks are written down on a to-do list, your brain is free to process other information and you can focus on things that are more important to you.

Better Time Management

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time. You can develop a clearer perspective on what’s truly important vs what isn’t, and what tasks should be completed first.

Keep Work Logs

To-do lists let you keep documented logs of what work has been done. You can use this to provide evidence of work done to clients or employers, or just as a means of helping you monitor your own productivity and efficiency.

Ensures Accountability

With no accountability there is no commitment to getting things completed, and no motivation to act with a sense of purpose. Lack of accountability lets excuses creep in and take over your productivity.

Better Delegation

Having a to-do list helps you better assign tasks to other people. This is also important if you plan to collaborate on a team-based project (see further below).

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

What about adding to-do lists to your WordPress website or blog?

In this tutorial we are going to show you how to easily add to-do lists to a WordPress website or blog to improve business efficiency and productivity using a great little plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

Cleverness plugin to-do lists WordPress

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin


This WordPress plugin lets you easily add a customizable to-do list to WordPress.


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

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

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

A new menu item is added to the admin backend to help you manage your list and your to do lists are also listed on the dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is also available as short code to display the to-do list items on your blog. There are 2 shortcodes for front-end list administration. Category management is accessible through the back-end.

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 install the developer’s premium plugin, Post Planner.

Plugin Installation

Log into your WordPress admin and in the main menu select Plugins > Add New …

WordPress Plugins Menu

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Cleverness plugin - Install Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Locate the item in the Search Results tab and click Install Now

Cleverness - to-do list plugin - Install To Do List Plugin

Activate the plugin …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - Cleverness to-do lists plugin WordPress - Activate Cleverness To Do List Plugin

Note: You can also activate the plugin in the Plugins screen …

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

Once you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

Note: You can also get to the settings screen by choosing To-Do List > Settings from your dashboard menu …

to do list plugin - To Do List > Settings Menu

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ page …

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

The section below shows you how to go through the plugin setup process …

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Configuration

The plugin’s ‘Settings’ screen is divided into 4 tabs:

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

Let’s go through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness to-do lists - To-Do List Settings

To-Do List Categories

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

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

Cleverness - To Do List Menu Categories

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

Cleverness to do lists - To-Do List Add Category

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

Private categories will not be visible using sidebar widgets or shortcodes (only when ‘Sort Order’ is set to ‘Category’)

List View

List View allows you to choose how your to-do lists will be viewed. There are 3 kinds of to do list views available:

  • Individual – Use this option if you want each user to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Selecting this option lets all users share the same to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you to create one master list for all users, where users have their own individual completion of items. If you select the ‘Master’ list view, make sure that you set the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

WordPress to do lists plugin - To Do List Settings Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can display which users have added an item to the to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays completion dates for your to-do tasks.

Show Deadline

If this option is enabled, you can specify deadlines for your to-do items …

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List Deadline

Show Progress

Enabling this option lets you specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness to do list plugin - To-Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display content in to-do lists using paragraphs.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you plan to run a multi-author site or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, developed by the same author that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - Plugin For WordPress

To learn more this plugin, visit this site: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Multi-Author Publishing Plugin

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

WordPress save changes

Advanced Settings

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

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

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ screen …

Cleverness - To-Do List Advanced Settings Tab

In this section you can customize your To Do lists, assign to-do tasks to users and perform database maintenance tasks.

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

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

This section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab allows you to customize your To-Do List …

WordPress plugin to do lists - To Do List Advanced Settings Tab - Customize To-Do List Settings

You can configure the following settings 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

Here you can customize labels for important, middle and lowest (low) priority items …

Cleverness to-do list - Priority section

Items prioritized as “important” are shown in red and lowest (low) priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness plugin - colour-coded priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option shows item IDs on your list …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - Show To Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) will show the date your To-Do Items table was added …

Cleverness - Date Added

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

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

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

The following options can be configured in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to assign tasks to other users …

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

Note: This setting must be set to ‘Yes’ for the settings below it to work.

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

Enabling this option displays tasks only to users who have been assigned those items. Leave this option disabled (‘No’) to display items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this area (Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, Subscriber) to display the type of users that can be assigned 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

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

Cleverness to-do lists plugin WP - Assigned To-Do Items Email

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want to send out emails to users.

Note: If this option is disabled, skip the other items 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 in the subject of emails sent to users …

Cleverness to-do list - Add Category to Subject

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want categories to show the email subject.

If you don’t want to display to-do categories in the subject of your emails, then leave this option disabled.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enable this option to display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This option is useful if, for example, you have a number of project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

Use this field to customize the “From” field when sending out emails to users. You can enter the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

Cleverness WP plugin to do list - To Do Item Email From Field

From Email

In this field, enter the email address that you want displayed as the “sent from” address …

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Add into this field a subject field for the email that will be automatically sent to users when a new item has been added to your to-do list …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do list - To-Do Item Email Subject Field

Text in Emails Sent to User

Add 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 lists - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This section allows you to perform database maintenance tasks related to plugin data directly from your plugin settings area …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - To Do List Advanced Settings > Clean up Database

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

You can perform the tasks below in this section:

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


Any database operations performed from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are sure that you want to proceed with any of the database operations available in this section, then we recommend backing up your WordPress database first.

If you don’t want to back up your site yourself, then hire the services of a professional, or use a WordPress backup plugin. You can read about a great WordPress backup plugin that can automate your site backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness plugin WP - User Permissions Settings


If you have selected Individual List, the only configurable item that is applicable in this section is the View To-Do List permission …

Cleverness to-do list plugin - User Permissions - View To Do-List drop-down menu

If you are setting up user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you would like users to have access to for each option …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - User Permissions Settings - View To-Do-List dropdown menu

By default, general capabilities of each user role are as follows:

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

Note: When using the Master list type make sure that you only authorize non-admin users to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness WP to do lists plugin - User Permissions Tab

Let’s now review the settings for the User Permissions section:

View To-Do List

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

Complete To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the chosen capability to mark to-do items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This setting allows the chosen capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This permits the chosen capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This setting enables the selected capability to assign items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

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

Delete To-Do Item Capability

This option enables the chosen capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can allow the chosen capability to purge all the completed items.

Add Categories Capability

This option permits 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 want to copy over data from one site to another, or store your data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Tab

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

Cleverness plugin WP to do list - Import/Export Settings Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a window allowing you to view or download your data as plain text to a storage device …

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

In addition to exporting list data from the ‘Import/Export’ tab, you can also export data by going to your WordPress dashboard menu and choosing Tools > Export

Export WP

You can include to-do list data in a WordPress 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 on the ‘Download Export File’ button to save your file to your storage medium…

WP Menu Tools > Export - To-Do

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 …

to-do list Cleverness - Import/Export - Import/Export Settings - Import To-Do Data File

Locate the previously saved to-do list data file and click ‘Open’ …

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

Once uploading your data file, click on ‘Import Settings’ …

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings - Import To Do Data File

Your file data will be imported.

Now that you have configured all of the plugin settings, you are ready to start create and edit to do lists.

Plugin Usage

To create a new to do list, log into your WordPress admin, then go to the menu and click on To-Do List > To-Do List

WordPress plugin to do list - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

to do lists Cleverness - To-Do List screen

Add New Items To Your To-Do List

There are several ways to add new items to your to-do list.

For example, you can add a new item to your to-do list from your WP admin bar …

WP plugin to do lists - Adding New To-Do Items To Your List

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

Cleverness plugin to do list - Add New Items To Your List

You can also click on the ‘Add New Item’ link in the ‘To-Do Items’ section (note: only use this option if your To Do list already contains many items, since the link is only going to send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the screen) …

Cleverness plugin - Adding New To-Do Items

The above methods will bring you to the ‘Add New To-Do Item’ area.

Depending on how you have set up your plugin, some options may not display when when you add new to-do items.

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

Cleverness WP to do list plugin - How To Add New To-Do Items

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

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

Once a new item has been added, it will be listed as an entry in the ‘To-Do List’ table …

Cleverness plugin WP - Adding New To Do Items To Your List

Repeat the above process to add new items to your to-do list …

WP to-do lists plugin - How To Add A New Item To Your List

Editing And Removing To-Do Items From Your List

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 From Your List

Depending on your configuration plugin settings (discussed earlier), users assigned to tasks may also receive an email notification in their inboxes …

Cleverness plugin to-do list - Assigned To Do Items Email

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

to do list plugin - View To-Do List User Dashboard

When the user assigned with the item completes the task and clicks on the item checkbox …

plugin to-do list - Completed To-Do List Item

… the item no longer appears in the “To-Do” list …

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - Complete To-Do List Item User Dashboard

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

Cleverness WP plugin to-do list - Complete To Do List Items User Dashboard

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin provides additional functions that let you display a to-do list on your site using widgets, and display lists on any post or page using shortcodes.

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

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

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

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

plugin to-do list Cleverness - Plugin Widget

Your to-do list will display where you have placed the widget (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

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

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin also lets you display to-do lists and checklists on your site with short codes.

To access the documentation on using shortcodes, select To-Do List > To-Do List from the WP admin menu …

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness to-do lists plugin WP - Using Plugin Shortcodes

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

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Short Codes

This documentation section explains various ways to configure and use shortcodes for displaying lists and checklists on your pages and posts.

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

Plugin Short Codes

After publishing your post or page, you will see the list showing in the location where you entered the short code …


To download this plugin, visit the plugin website here:

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


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