How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - How To Create A To-Do List In WordPressThere never seems to be enough hours in the day to get things done, especially if you are running a hectic business.

There is just so much to do and remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to put out, appointments to make, commitments 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 updated with new content and everything can quickly start to become unmanageable and out of control.

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

A proven method that can help you save time, alleviate stressful workloads, and allow you to regain control is to use “to do” lists.

The Benefits Of Using A To Do List

A “to-do” list helps you measure your progress as you work towards completing tasks. Your to do list can be detailed and very specific, or serve as a reminder of tasks that need to be done today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

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


To-do lists help you create order, stay organized and reach goals sooner.

Be More Strategic

Creating and organizing to do lists helps you view the larger picture and create a strategy to get everything done on budget and on time.

Keep Documented Work Logs

A to-do list allows you to retain documented logs of what has been done. You can use this as evidence of work to employers or clients, or just as a way of helping you measure your own productivity and efficiency.

Stress Relief

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and so little time to do it all in. Creating a to-do list allows you to prioritize important items that have to be completed within the time you have available, and push out items that can be worked on later. This can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and take away some of the stress you may be feeling.

Better Delegation Of Work

To-do lists help you assign work to other people better. This is also important if you plan to work within a team (see further below).

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 in a systematic way and your business productivity and efficiency is sure to improve.

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

In this detailed step-by-step tutorial you are going to learn how to create a to do list in WordPress to help get things done online  faster and more efficiently using a customizable, multi-featured to-do list WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

Cleverness to do list plugin

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin


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


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

You can configure Cleverness To-Do List with 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 offers different settings. You can delegate to do items to a specific user (this includes emailing a new to-do item to assigned users) and optionally to have those items be viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels using capabilities. There are also settings available to show deadline and progress fields. Category support is also included in the front-end administration.

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

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

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

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Installation

Inside your WP administration section, scroll down the main menu and click on Plugins > Add New

Install WP Plugin

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

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

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

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

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

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

When you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

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

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

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ area …

Cleverness - To Do List Settings Tab

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

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Setup

The Settings area is divided into 4 tabs:

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

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

To-Do List Settings

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

To-Do List Categories

Select ‘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 menu …

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List Categories Menu

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

to-do lists plugin Cleverness - To-Do List Categories > Add New 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 lets you choose how to-do lists are viewed. You can select 3 list views:

  • Individual – Use this option if you want each user to be able 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 have a master list for all users, where users have their own individual items to complete. If you choose the ‘Master’ list view, make sure to adjust the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

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

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option lets you display which of your users has 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 to-do tasks.

Show Deadline

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Settings Deadline

Show Progress

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

WP plugin to do list - To Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

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

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

plugin to do list - To-Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option to display content in to-do list items using paragraphs.

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, from the same plugin developer to help make the process of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner

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

After you have configured your options, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

WP button - save changes

Advanced Settings

After you have configured the settings in the To-Do List Settings tab, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to proceed …

WordPress to do list plugin - Advanced Settings

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

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

This area lets you customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do items to other users and perform plugin 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 …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Advanced Settings Tab - To-Do List Customization Settings

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Date Format

This section lets you specify how to display dates on your todo lists (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about formatting dates in WordPress, see 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 important, middle and lowest items …

Cleverness plugin - Priority drop-down menu

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do list - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

If this option is enabled, item IDs will display on the to-do list …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Show To Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) shows the date the table of items was added …

WordPress to do lists plugin - Date Added column

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

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

WordPress plugin to do lists - 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 to assign tasks to other users …

Cleverness WP plugin to-do list - 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

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display items only to users who have been assigned those items. Leave this option disabled to display to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this section Subscriber) displays the type of users that can be assigned todo items. Leave the checkbox unticked for any roles that you don’t want to assign to-do items.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

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

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

Note: If you disable this option, skip the remaining 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 lists plugin - Add Category to Email Subject

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

If you don’t want to-do categories to show 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 multiple project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness plugin WP 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. You can enter the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

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

From Email

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

Cleverness - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Enter a subject field for the email that will be automatically sent to users when new items have been assigned to your to-do list …

Cleverness - To-Do Item Email Subject Field

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 plugin - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area you can perform database maintenance operations related to plugin data directly from the plugin settings area itself …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Advanced Settings > Clean up Database

This function is useful if, for example, you see that old todo items are still displaying on your site.

The tasks below can be performed in this section:

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


Any database operations carried out from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are comfortable to carry out database maintenance in this section, then we recommend backing up your database first.

If you don’t want to perform manual backups, then consider hiring a professional service, or use a backup plugin. Learn 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 …

WordPress plugin to-do lists - User Permissions Settings

Important Info

If you are using the Individual List type, the only item applicable in this section is the View To-Do List permission …

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions Settings Tab - View To Do-List dropdown menu

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

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

The 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-administrator users to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness to-do list plugin WP - User Permissions Settings

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

View To-Do List

This permits 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 permit the selected capability to mark to-do items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

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

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the chosen capability to edit existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

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

Delete To-Do Item Capability

This setting permits the selected capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

This option allows 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 area …

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

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

Cleverness - Import/Export Settings Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This opens up a new window allowing you to download and save your data as plain text to a storage medium (e.g. your hard drive) …

to do list Cleverness - Import/Export - Export Settings

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

Export WordPress

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 selecting ‘To-Do’ from the ‘Choose what to export’ section and clicking on the ‘Download Export File’ button to save your file to your hard drive…

WP Menu Tools > Export - 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 - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings Section - Import To-Do File

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plugin Usage

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Menu

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

WP to do list plugin - To-Do List screen

Add New To-Do Items To Your List

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

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

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

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

plugin to-do lists - 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 already contains many items, as the link will simply send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the screen) …

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

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

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

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

WordPress to-do lists plugin - How To Add New To-Do Items

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editing And Deleting Items

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

Edit And Delete To Do Items From Your List

Depending on how you have configured the plugin (see previous section), users assigned to completing tasks may also receive email notifications …

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

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

WordPress plugin to-do lists - View To Do List User Dashboard

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - Completed To-Do Item

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

Cleverness plugin - Completed To Do List Items User Dashboard

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

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

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness plugin provides added functionality that lets you display to-do lists on your website using widgets, and display lists on content inside a page or post using shortcodes.

Using The 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 your to-do list to display …

Cleverness plugin WP - Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do lists - Widgets

The list will appear wherever you have added the ‘to-do-list’ widget (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness - Widgets

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

You can also create to-do lists on your site using shortcodes.

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - Short Codes

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

Using Plugin Short Codes

This section explains various ways to configure and use short codes for displaying lists on your pages and posts.

Once you know what type of information you would like to display on your site, create a new page or post and either type or paste the short code inside the content editor …

Plugin Shortcodes

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

Plugin Shortcodes

Visit this site for more information about this plugin:

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


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