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 Plugin Tutorials - Creating A To Do List In WordPressIf you are running a hectic business or managing other people, there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have deadlines to meet, tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to put out, deliveries to make, commitments to keep and so on. The “doing” never seems to end.

Now … add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and maintaining your website updated with fresh content and everything can quickly start feeling unmanageable and overwhelming.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a team, it’s important to be able to organize and manage your daily tasks.

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

Benefits Of Using To Do Lists

A “to-do” list helps you track your progress as you work to achieve specific objectives. Your to-do list can be minutely detailed or specific, or just serve as a reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

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

Think Clearly

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

Save Time

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time and manage your workload more effectively. You can develop a better perspective on what is more important vs what’s not, and what tasks should be completed first.

Keep Documented Work Logs

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

Stress Relief

Stress can result from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and so little time to do it in. Creating a to do list lets you prioritize important items that need to be completed immediately, and push out non-urgent items that can be worked on at a later time. This can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and relieve some of the stress you (and your team) may be feeling.

Collaborating With Others

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 towards completing the tasks you have listed and efficiency and productivity in your business is sure to increase.

Let’s turn now to using to-do lists on your website or blog. More specifically, how to add to do lists to WordPress.

In this detailed step-by-step tutorial we are going to show you how to easily add a to do list to a WordPress site to improve business efficiency and productivity using a customizable, multi-featured to-do list plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

Cleverness plugin to-do list WP

Download URL


This WordPress plugin lets you easily add to do lists to a WP website or blog.

Plugin Features

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

You can configure Cleverness To Do List to have private to do lists for each user, to have all users share the same to-do list, or to have a master list with individual completion of items.

The shared to do list provides different settings. You can assign to do items to specific users (this includes emailing new to do items to users) and optionally to have assigned items only seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. There are also settings available to 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 admin backend to manage your lists and your 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 short codes for front-end administration of your list. Management of categories is accessible via the back-end admin section.

If you plan to set up a multi-author blog you can use this plugin to create custom to do lists for your post planners if you also install a copy of the Post Planner plugin for WordPress.

How To Install The Plugin

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

Plugins Menu

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

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

Locate the entry in the Search Results area and click Install Now

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

Activate the plugin …

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

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

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

After the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

Cleverness - To-Do List > Settings

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ page …

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

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

Configuring The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The Settings area is divided into four sections:

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

Let’s review each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

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

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 …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Categories

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - To Do List Categories Section

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

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

List View

List View lets you specify how your lists are viewed. There are 3 to-do list views you can select:

  • Individual – Choose this option if you want each user to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Choosing this option lets users share the same to-do list.
  • Master – Select this option 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 to configure the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

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

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

If you choose 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 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

Enabling this option displays completion dates for your to-do items.

Show Deadline

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

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

Show Progress

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

Cleverness to-do lists - To-Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - To-Do List Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

to-do lists plugin - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If enabled (‘Yes’), automatic paragraphs are used to display content in your to-do lists.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you are running 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 developer to help make the process of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Plugin

To learn more this WordPress plugin, visit this site: WordPress Post Planner

After configuring your options, click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WP save changes

Advanced Settings

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

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

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ area …

Cleverness to-do lists - Advanced Settings Tab

In this area you can customize your To Do lists, assign to-do tasks to users and carry out plugin 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

In this section you can customize your To Do List …

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

The following settings can be configured in this section:

Date Format

Here you can specify how to display dates on your todo list (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about formatting dates in WordPress, visit the relevant section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

In this area you can customize your labels for highest (important), normal and lowest (low) priority items …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do lists - Priority Labels

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

plugin to do list - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

If this option is enabled, item IDs show up on the list …

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

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin - sort by date

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

If you have selected either ‘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 …

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

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

Cleverness plugin WP - 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 to-do items 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

Checking the boxes in this area Subscriber) displays the type of users that can be assigned to-do items. If you don’t want to assign to-do items to a particular role, then leave its check box unticked.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

If this option is enabled, WordPress will automatically send users an email with their assigned to-do items …

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

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) 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 plugin to do lists WP - Add Category to Email Subject

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

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

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

If this option is enabled, you can display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This is a useful option if you have various project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - 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. Add your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

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

From Email

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

Cleverness plugin - To Do Item Email From Field

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

In this field, enter a subject field for the email that will be sent out automatically to users when a new item has been added in your to-do list …

plugin 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.

plugin to-do list - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can carry out database maintenance tasks associated with plugin data inside the plugin settings area …

plugin to-do lists - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

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

The following tasks can be performed in this section:

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

Useful Information

Any database operations performed from this screen cannot be reversed. 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 site backups, then consider getting professional support, or use a backup plugin. You can read about a great WordPress backup plugin that can fully automate your site backups here:

User Permissions

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

to do lists Cleverness - User Permissions Settings

Useful Information

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

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

If you plan to set up user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you want users to perform for each option …

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

The default general capabilities for 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 working with the Master list type non-administrators should only be authorized to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list itself.

plugin to-do list - User Permissions Tab

Let’s review the settings in this tab:

View To-Do List

This enables 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 enable the selected capability to mark to-do items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

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

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This allows the chosen capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This setting enables the chosen capability to assign to-do 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

This option allows the chosen capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

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


Being able 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 store the list data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

to do list plugin Cleverness - Import/Export Settings Tab

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

Cleverness plugin to do list - Import/Export

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

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

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

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

WordPress Menu Export

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

Export WordPress - 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 …

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

Select the previously saved to-do list data file in your hard drive or external drive and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

Your file will be imported.

Now that you have configured all of the 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 select To-Do List > To-Do List

to-do lists Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

to-do list plugin Cleverness - To-Do List screen

How To 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 admin bar …

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Add New To Do Items

You can also click on the ‘Add New Item’ link in the ‘To-Do Items’ section (note: only use this option if your To Do list already contains many items, as the link will simply send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the screen) …

plugin to-do list - Adding New To Do Items

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

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

Set up 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 item to your list …

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

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

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

You can also make multiple users responsible for the same item (click on ‘x’ to delete a user) …

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

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

Cleverness to-do list - Add New To Do Items

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

WordPress to do list plugin - Add New To Do Items

Edit And Delete To Do 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 Deleting Items

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP to do list - 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 Item

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

to do list Cleverness - Completed To Do Item

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list - Complete To-Do List Item

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin offers additional functions that let you display to-do lists on your website using widgets, and display lists on content inside a post or page using shortcodes.

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

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

plugin to do list - Plugin Widget

Configure the widget settings and click the ‘Save’ button …

Cleverness - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

Your to-do list will display on your site where the widget has been inserted (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness plugin WP - Plugin Widget

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


You can also display lists and checklists on your site using shortcodes.

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

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

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

WordPress to do lists plugin - Using Plugin Short Codes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

This documentation 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, open up a new post or page and either type or paste the shortcode into the content editor …

Plugin Short Codes

Publish your page or post and you should see the list showing exactly where you have added the shortcode …

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

For more information about this plugin, visit this site:

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


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