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 - How To Create A To-Do List In WordPressIf you are running a growing business, time is always in short supply.

There is just too much to do and remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to put out, calls and 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 trying to promote and grow your business online and maintaining your website or blog updated with regular content and everything can start to become unmanageable and chaotic.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a project, it’s important to be able to organize and prioritize your daily tasks, track your progress and daily accomplishments, and, if necessary, assign tasks to members of your team or staff efficiently.

A simple “tried and true” method that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability, and allow you to take control is to use a “to do” list.

To Do Lists – Benefits

A “to-do” list can help you monitor your progress when trying to complete tasks. Your to do list can be quite detailed and specific, or serve as a reminder of what needs to be done over a given period of time.

Here are some of the benefits of using to do lists:

Free Your Brain

Creating to do lists means that you won’t have to try to memorize stuff or store information inside your mind. Once tasks are written down on a to do list, your mind is free to process information and you can focus on other things that are important.

Be More Strategic

Creating and organizing to do lists helps you break larger projects into doable tasks and create a strategy to get tasks done efficiently.

Keep Documented Work Logs

To-do lists allow you to maintain documented logs of what has been done. You can use this as evidence of work to employers or clients, or simply as a method of helping you monitor your own productivity and efficiency.


With no accountability there’s no commitment to completion, and no motivation to take meaningful action. Lack of accountability lets excuses creep in and influence your productivity.

Sense Of Accomplishment

Crossing items off to do lists gives you a sense of accomplishment and allows you to relax more, as you can objectively see (or show) that the work is being completed and that progress is being made.

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 towards completing the tasks you have listed and your business efficiency and productivity will increase.

What about adding a to do list to your website or blog?

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

Cleverness To-Do List

Cleverness to do lists

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin


This plugin provides users with a to do list feature.


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

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

The shared to do list has a variety of settings available. You can delegate to-do items to specific users (this includes a setting to email new to-do items to the user) and optionally to have those items only viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users based on user roles. There are also settings available to enable the display of 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 lists and the to-do list can also display on a dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as shortcode to display the to-do list items on your blog. There are two short codes for front-end list administration. Management of categories is accessible through the back-end admin section.

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

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Installation

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

WP Plugin Menu

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

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

Locate the Cleverness To-Do List item in the Search Results section and click Install Now

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

Activate the plugin after installing it …

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

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

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

Once the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

Cleverness to-do list - To Do List > Settings Menu

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ area …

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

Let’s set up the plugin …

Plugin Configuration

The Settings screen is divided into 4 sections:

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

Let’s now go through each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

to-do lists Cleverness - To-Do List Settings Tab


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

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

WordPress to do list plugin - To Do List Menu

This allows you to add categories to your lists (see ‘Plugin Usage’ section further below for more details) …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - To-Do List Add Category

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

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

List View

List View allows you to specify how to-do lists are viewed. There are 3 types of list views:

  • Individual – Selecting this option lets each user create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Use this option if you want all users to be able to share one to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you to create a 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 (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

Cleverness plugin to do list - To Do List Settings Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

If this option is enabled, you can display which users on your site have added an item to your to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

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

Show Deadline

If enabled, you will be able to specify deadlines for to-do tasks …

Cleverness - To-Do List Deadline

Show Progress

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

If enabled, the ‘To-Do List’ menu displays in your WP Dashboard Admin bar

to do lists Cleverness - To Do List Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - To-Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), automatic paragraphs are used to display content in your 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 plugin developer to help make the process of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - Plugin For WordPress

For more information about this handy plugin, go here: WordPress Post Planner – Multi-Author Publishing Plugin For WordPress

After configuring your plugin options, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

WP button save changes

Advanced Settings

After configuring the settings in the To-Do List Settings tab, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab …

to do list plugin Cleverness - Advanced Settings

This brings you to the plugin’s ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

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

In this tab you can 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

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

WordPress to do list plugin - To Do List Advanced Settings - To Do List Customization Settings

You can configure the following options in this section:

Date Format

In this section 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 formatting dates in WordPress, see the date section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

This section lets you customize labels for highest, middle and low priority items …

Cleverness to-do list - Priority Labeling

high priority items are shown in red in the lists and lowest priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness plugin - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) will show item IDs on your list …

WP to do list plugin - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

WordPress to-do list plugin - sort by date

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 to-do items to other users …

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

You can configure the following settings in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

If this option is enabled, you can assign tasks to other users …

plugin to do list - 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, you can display items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leave this option disabled (‘No’) to display to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this area Subscriber) to display the type of users that can be assigned to-do items. Leave the check box unticked for any roles that you do not want to assign to-do items.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Email Assigned To Do Items to User

If you don’t want to send out emails to users, then leave this option disabled.

Note: If this option is disabled, you can skip other settings in this section.

Add Category to Subject

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

plugin to do lists Cleverness - Add Category to Subject

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

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

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 multiple 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

This field allows you to customize the “From” field when sending out email notifications. Add your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

to-do list Cleverness - From Field for Emails Sent to User

From Email

Type in the email address that you want showing as the “sent from” email address …

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

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 plugin to do list - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This area lets you carry out database maintenance operations associated with plugin data directly from your plugin settings area without the need to log into your web server …

Cleverness plugin WP - 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 appearing on your site.

The following tasks can be performed in this section:

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


Any database operations carried out from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are comfortable to perform database operations in this section, then remember to backup your WP database first.

If you don’t want to do site backups, then get help from a WordPress professional, or use a backup plugin. You can learn more about a great WordPress backup plugin that can automate your backup process here:

User Permissions

Here you can configure user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types …

WP to-do list plugin - User Permissions Settings Tab


If you are using Individual List, the only permission that is applicable for this section is the View To-Do List permission …

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

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

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

The default general capabilities for 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 non-admin users should only be allowed to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

WP to-do list plugin - User Permissions Tab

Below is a description of the settings in the User Permissions tab:

View To-Do List

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

Add To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the selected capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the chosen capability to modify existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This option enables the selected capability to assign to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

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

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

This option allows the chosen capability to purge all the completed items.

Add Categories Capability

This option permits the selected capability to add new categories.


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may decide to transfer data from one website to another, or export the data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

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

Now you can easily import and export your to-do list data and plugin settings …

WP plugin to-do list - Import/Export

Exporting To-Do List Data

To export and download your to-do list data settings click on the ‘Download Export File’ …

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

This will open up a window allowing you to download and save your data in a plain text file (e.g. Notepad) to a storage medium …

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

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

WP Export Menu

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

Export WP - Export To-Do

Importing To-Do List Data

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do lists - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings - Import To-Do Data File

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

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

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

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

Your file data will be imported.

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

How To Use Cleverness To-Do List

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

plugin to-do lists - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List screen

Adding A New Item To Your List

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

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

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

You can also add new to-do items from the ‘To-Do List’ dashboard section by clicking on the ‘Add To-Do item’ link …

to do lists Cleverness - How To Add 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 take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the screen) …

Cleverness - How To Add New To Do Items

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

Depending on the way you have configured your plugin settings, you may or may not see certain options displayed when adding new to-do items.

Select 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 …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - Adding A New Item To Your To-Do List

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

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

Cleverness to-do list - Add New To-Do Items

Repeat this process to continue adding items to your to-do list …

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

Editing And Deleting Items From Your List

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

Editing And Removing Items From Your List

Depending on how you have configured the plugin (discussed in the previous section), users assigned to tasks may also receive an email notification in their inboxes …

WordPress to do list plugin - Assigned To Do Items Email

After creating your to-do list, users can view it when logged into their own user dashboard …

WordPress to-do list plugin - View To Do List

When the user assigned with completing an item clicks on the item checkbox …

Cleverness plugin - Complete To Do List Item User Dashboard

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Complete To-Do List Item User Dashboard

And gets added to the ‘Completed Items’ table located in the main screen of the ‘To-Do List’ plugin …

WordPress to do lists plugin - Complete To Do Items User Dashboard

Additional Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin offers added functionality that lets you display a to-do list on your WordPress website using widgets, and insert a list into any page or post using short codes.

Plugin Widget

To add to-do lists to your site using widgets, go to the ‘Widgets’ page (Appearance > Widgets) and drag the ‘To-Do List’ widget to the menu location where you want the to-do list to display …

Cleverness plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

Configure the settings in the widget and click ’Save’ …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin WP - Widgets

The to-do list will appear on your site where the widget was added (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

plugin to do lists Cleverness - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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


The plugin also lets you create lists on your site by inserting shortcodes into your content.

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

Cleverness to-do lists - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

Cleverness plugin - Plugin Shortcodes

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

Plugin Short Codes

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

Once you know what information you would like to add to your site, create a new post or page and either type or paste the shortcode into the content area …

Plugin Shortcodes

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

Short Codes

Visit this site to learn more about this plugin:

Congratulations! Now you know how to add to-do lists in WordPress.


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