How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

Creating To-Do Lists In WordPress

WP Plugin Tutorials - Creating A To-Do List In WordPressThere never seems to be enough time to get things done, especially if you are a busy person trying to run a business or manage a team.

There is just too much to do and remember. You have clients to meet, tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to extinguish, appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The stress of trying to get things done on time never seems to end.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra dimension of trying to promote and grow your business online and maintaining your website updated with regular content and things can quickly start feeling unmanageable and chaotic.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a team, you need to be able to organize and manage your daily tasks.

One proven tool that can help you save time, reduce stress, and allow you to take control is to use a “to do” list.

The Benefits Of Using To Do Lists

A “to do” list can help you track your progress as you work to achieve your objectives. Your to do list can be minutely detailed or specific, or act as a reminder of tasks that need to be done over a given period of time.

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

Free Up Resources

Creating to-do lists means you won’t have to keep remembering stuff or clutter your brain with details. Once tasks are jotted down on a to-do list, your mind is free to process other information and you can focus on more important things.

Be More Strategic

After creating and organizing a to do list, you can break larger projects into doable tasks and come up with a strategic plan for getting things done on budget and on time.

Document Your Work

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


With no accountability there is no commitment to getting things completed, and no motivation to take meaningful action. Lack of accountability can also allow excuses to creep in and impact your productivity.

Collaborating With Others

Creating to do lists and other project management tools is essential for working with others 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 towards completing the tasks you have listed and productivity and efficiency in your business is sure to increase.

Let’s turn now to using a to-do list on your website. More specifically, how to add a to do list to WordPress.

In this step-by-step 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

to do list Cleverness

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Download URL


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

Plugin Features

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

You can configure 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 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 assigned items be seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. There are also settings to enable the display of deadline and progress fields. Category support is also included in the front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the backend to help you manage your lists and your to-do lists can also display on the dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as short code to display the to-do list items on your site. There are 2 shortcodes for front-end list administration. Management of categories is accessed via the back-end admin section.

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

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Installation

Log into your site’s dashboard area, and choose Plugins > Add New …

WP Plugin Install

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

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

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

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

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

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

After the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

Note: The plugin’s settings area can also be accessed by selecting To-Do List > Settings from the admin menu …

Cleverness - To-Do List

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ page …

plugin to do lists - To Do List Settings

Let’s go through the plugin setup process …

Setting Up The Plugin

The Settings screen is divided into four tabs:

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

Let’s now go through each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

WP plugin to do list - To Do List Settings

To-Do List Categories

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

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

WP plugin to do lists - To Do List Menu Categories

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do lists - To-Do List Categories > Add New Category

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

Private categories are not visible when using widgets or short codes (only when ‘Sort Order’ is set to ‘Category’)

List View

List View lets you choose how your lists will be viewed. You can choose three to do list views:

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

to-do list Cleverness - To Do List Sort Order

‘Sort Order’ lets you specify how to order your to-do list items.

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display which users on your site have added an item to the to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

If this option is enabled, completion dates will display for to-do tasks.

Show Deadline

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

to do lists plugin Cleverness - To Do List Settings Deadline

Show Progress

If enabled, you will be able to specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

If this option is enabled, the ‘To-Do List’ menu displays in your WordPress Admin bar

WP to-do list plugin - 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

WordPress plugin to do lists - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If enabled, automatic paragraphs are used to display content in to-do lists.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you plan to run a multi-author website or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, developed by the same plugin author to help make managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Plugin

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

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

WordPress save changes button

Advanced Settings

Once you have configured the general settings, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab …

to-do list Cleverness - To Do List Advanced Settings

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

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

This tab lets you customize your To Do lists, assign to-do items to other users and perform database maintenance.

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

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

In this area you can customize your To-Do List …

Cleverness 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

Here 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, visit the date section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

In this section you can customize your labels for prioritizing highest, normal and lowest items …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin WordPress - Priority Labeling

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

Cleverness - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option will display item IDs on the to-do list …

Cleverness plugin WP to-do lists - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option shows the date your table of items was added …

to-do lists Cleverness - sort by 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 settings in this section and assign items to other users …

Cleverness - 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 …

to-do lists Cleverness - 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

Enabling this option lets you display tasks only to users who have been assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled will display to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

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

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

When you enable this option, WordPress will automatically send users an email with their assigned to-do items …

Cleverness plugin - Assigned To-Do Items Email

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

Note: If you disable this option, you can skip other 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 plugin to-do lists - Add Category to Email Subject

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want categories to display the email subject.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enable this option (‘Yes’) 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 WordPress to-do list - Show Who Assigned the To Do Item in Email

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

From Email

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

WP to do lists 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 out to users whenever a new item has been added to your to-do list …

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

Type in 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 - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

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

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

This function is useful if, for example, you see that items you have previously deleted are still showing up on your site.

The tasks below can be performed in this section:

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


Actions that you perform on the database from this screen cannot be undone. If you are comfortable to proceed with any of the database operations available in this section, then make sure to backup your WP database first.

If you don’t want to back up your site yourself, then get professional assistance, or use backup plugins. Learn about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to perform complete file and data backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - User Permissions Settings


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

Cleverness plugin WP - User Permissions Tab - View To Do-List drop-down menu

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

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

By default, general capabilities of each user role are set up 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-administrators to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

WordPress plugin to-do list - User Permissions Settings Tab

Let’s go through the settings in the User Permissions section:

View To-Do List

This setting enables the selected 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

Here you can allow the selected capability to mark items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

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

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This enables the chosen capability to edit existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This option 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 enable the selected capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can enable the chosen capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

Here you can permit the chosen capability to add new categories.


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

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

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - Import/Export

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

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - Import/Export Settings

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a new window allowing you to download and save your data in plain text format to an internal or external storage medium …

to-do lists Cleverness - Import/Export Tab - 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

WordPress Menu Export

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

WP Tools > Export Menu - To-Do

Importing To-Do List Data

To import a list data file, click on the ‘Browse’ button next to the ‘Choose File to Import’ field …

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

Locate the file and click ‘Open’ …

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

Once the data file has been uploaded to your settings area, click the ‘Import Settings’ button …

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

The data from the existing to-do file will be imported.

Now that you have configured all of the 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

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

This brings you to the ‘To-Do List’ screen …

Cleverness to do list - To-Do List page

How To 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 bar …

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

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

Cleverness - Adding A New Item To Your To Do 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 contains many items, since the link will simply take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the page) …

WordPress to-do list plugin - Adding New Items To Your List

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

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

Configure 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 new to-do item …

Cleverness to do lists - 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 …

to do lists plugin - Assign To Do Items to Users

You can also assign multiple users to the same item (click on ‘x’ to delete users) …

WordPress plugin to-do list - Assign To Do Items to Users

Once After adding a new item, the item will be listed as an entry in the ‘To-Do Items’ table …

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

Repeat the above process to keep adding items to your list …

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

Editing And Deleting Items From Your List

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

Edit And Delete To-Do Items From Your List

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Assigned To Do Items Email

After creating your to-do list, users can view it inside their user dashboard …

Cleverness WordPress to-do list plugin - View To-Do List

When the user assigned with an item completes the task and clicks on the item check box …

Cleverness plugin - Completed To-Do List Items User Dashboard

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

Cleverness - Completed To Do List Item

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

Cleverness to do list - Complete To Do Item

Additional Plugin Information

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

Using The Cleverness 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 menu location where you would like the to-do list to show …

Cleverness to do list plugin - Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness to do list - Plugin Widget

Your list will display on your site where the widget was inserted (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

plugin to do lists - Widgets

To learn more about how to use widgets in WordPress, see the tutorial below:


Cleverness To-Do List also lets you create lists and checklists to your site using shortcodes.

To access the plugin’s shortcode documentation, click on To-Do List > To-Do List from the admin menu …

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

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

Cleverness to do list plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

This section explains different ways to configure and use short codes to display lists and checklists on your pages and posts.

Once you know what information you want to add to your site, open up a new page or post and either type or paste the shortcode inside the content area …

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Short Codes

After publishing your page or post, you should see the list showing exactly where you added the shortcode …

Plugin Short Codes

For more information about this plugin, go here:

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


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