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 - How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPressThere are never enough hours in the day to get everything done, especially if you run a fast-paced business or manage other people.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, projects to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to extinguish, appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The “doing” never ends.

Now … add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website or blog updated with new content and things can quickly start to feel unmanageable and overwhelming.

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

One ”tried and true” tool 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.

Benefits Of Using A To-Do List

A “to do” list helps you measure your progress as you work to get tasks completed. Your to do list can be minutely detailed and specific, or just serve as a reminder of tasks that need doing today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc.

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

Create Order

A to-do list helps you create order, stay organized and achieve goals faster.

Time Prioritization

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you manage your time better. You can gain a clearer perspective on what’s truly urgent vs what is not, and what tasks have to be completed first.

Keep Work Logs

A to do list allows you to retain documented logs of what work has been done. This can be used to provide evidence of work done to employers or clients, or simply as a method of helping you monitor your own productivity and efficiency.

Ensures Accountability

With no accountability there’s no commitment to completion, and no motivation to take meaningful action. Lack of accountability can also allow excuses to creep in and take over your productivity.

Improved Collaboration

Creating 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 a to-do list, both in business and in your personal life. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work in a systematic way and your business productivity and efficiency is sure to increase.

What about adding a to-do list to your WordPress website?

In this detailed tutorial you are going to learn how to easily create a to do list in WordPress to help your business grow online  faster and more efficiently using a great little plugin for WordPress called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

plugin to-do lists Cleverness

Plugin Download URL


This plugin lets you easily add to-do lists to a WordPress site.

Plugin Features

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

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

The shared to-do list option offers a number of different settings. You can delegate to do items to a specific user (this includes emailing 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 show deadline and progress fields. Category support is included as well as front-end administration.

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

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

If you plan to run a multi-author site you can use this plugin to create custom to do lists for your post planners if you also install the Post Planner plugin.

Installing The Plugin

Log into your site’s dashboard area, scroll down the menu select Plugins > Add New …

Install WP Plugin

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

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

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

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

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

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

When the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

WordPress plugin to-do lists - To-Do List > Settings Menu

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ page …

Cleverness - To-Do List Settings

Let’s go through the plugin setup process …

How To Configure The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The Settings screen is divided into four sections:

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

Let’s now take you through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

to-do list plugin - To-Do List Settings Screen


Choose ‘Enabled’ to organize 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 menu …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Categories Menu

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

to do list plugin - To Do List Categories

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

Private categories are not visible when using 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. You can select three types of to do list views:

  • Individual – Use this option if you want each user to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Choosing this option lets all users share one to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you to create a 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 set the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

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

‘Sort Order’ lets you specify how to sort list items.

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

Show Added By

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

Show Deadline

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can specify deadlines for to-do tasks …

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

Show Progress

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

WP plugin to do list - To Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), the ‘To-Do List’ menu displays in your WP Admin bar

WP to do lists plugin - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

If enabled, you will be able to add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

Cleverness plugin - To Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option to display content in your to-do list items 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, from the same developer that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Multi-Author Publishing Plugin

Visit this site to learn more this handy plugin: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Editorial Solution Plugin

Once you are done configuring your options, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

WordPress 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 - To-Do List Advanced Settings

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

Cleverness to-do lists - Advanced Settings Tab

In this screen you can customize your To Do lists, assign to-do items to other users and carry out 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’ screen lets you customize your To Do List …

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

The following options can be configured in this section:

Date Format

In this section you can specify how to display dates on 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 relevant section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

This section lets you customize your labels for prioritizing highest, middle (normal) and lowest items …

Cleverness - Priority Labeling

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

Cleverness plugin to do lists - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), the items’ IDs show on the list …

Cleverness plugin WP - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If enabled, the date the to-do list was added appears on the table of items …

plugin to do lists Cleverness - Date Added

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

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

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

The following options can be configured in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to assign to-do items to other users …

to do lists plugin 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 (‘Yes’) displays tasks only to users who have been assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled (‘No’) displays items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this section Contributor to display the type of users that can be assigned todo items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a specific role, then leave its checkbox unticked.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

If you enable this option, WordPress automatically sends users an email with their assigned to-do items …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - 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 the remaining items 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 …

Cleverness plugin - Add Category to Email Subject

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

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

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This is a useful option if your website has several project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

From Email

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

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Type into this field a subject field for the email that will be distributed automatically to users when new items have been assigned to your to-do list …

Cleverness plugin WP - Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Text in Emails Sent to User

Enter 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 plugin - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database maintenance

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

You can perform the following tasks in this section:

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


Actions that you perform on your database from this screen cannot be undone. If you are comfortable to perform database maintenance in this section, then make sure to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to perform manual backups, then get help from a WordPress professional, or use backup plugins. You can read about a 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 …

Cleverness - User Permissions


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

to-do lists plugin Cleverness - User Permissions Settings - 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 be able to perform for each option …

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

By default, general capabilities for each user role are configured 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 permit non-administrators to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions Tab

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

View To-Do List

Here you can permit 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

This setting enables the chosen capability to mark items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This enables the selected capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the selected capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the chosen capability to assign items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can enable 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

Here you can permit 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 allow the selected capability to add new categories.


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

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

WordPress to do lists plugin - Import/Export Settings Tab

Now you can easily export and import your data and plugin settings …

Cleverness to do lists - Import/Export Settings Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

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

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

Tools > Export WP

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

Export WP - To-Do

Importing To-Do List Data

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Import/Export - Import/Export Settings Section - Import File

Select the file in your hard drive or external drive and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

Your file will be imported.

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

Plugin Usage

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

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

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

Cleverness to-do list - To-Do List page

How To Add A New Item To Your To Do List

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - 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, as the link will simply take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the page) …

Cleverness plugin to do list - Adding New Items To Your To Do List

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

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

Select 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 …

WordPress plugin to-do list - Add New To-Do Items To Your List

Note: If you have chosen a list type that allows you to assign items to users, select a user from the drop-down list and assign them the item …

Cleverness plugin - Assign To Do Items to Users

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

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

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

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

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

Cleverness to do lists - Adding New To-Do Items

Edit And Delete To Do Items

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

Editing And Deleting Items

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

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

Once you have created your to do list, users can view the list when logged into their WP user dashboard …

plugin to do list - View To Do List

When users responsible for an item complete the task and tick the item check box …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - Completed To-Do Item User Dashboard

… the item is then deleted from the “To-Do” list …

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Complete To Do Item

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin offers additional functions that let you display a to-do list on your WordPress website using widgets, and insert lists into any page or post 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’ section (Appearance > Widgets) and drag the ‘To-Do List’ widget to the menu location where you would like your to-do list to appear …

to-do lists plugin - Using The Plugin Widget

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

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

Your list will display where you have inserted the widget (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness plugin to-do list - Widgets

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

Plugin Short Codes

You can also display to-do lists on your site with short codes.

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Menu

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

to-do lists Cleverness - Short Codes

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

Using Plugin Shortcodes

This documentation section explains different ways to configure and use shortcodes for displaying lists and checklists on your content.

Once you know what information you want to add to your site, open up a new post or page and either type or paste the short code into the content editor …


Publish your page or post and you should see the list displayed in the location where you have inserted the shortcode …

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

Go here to learn more about this plugin:

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


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