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 WordPressAs a busy person trying to run a business or manage a team, there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to extinguish, calls and appointments to make, commitments to keep and so on. The “doing” never stops.

Now … add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and maintaining your website or blog updated with fresh content and everything can start feeling unmanageable and chaotic.

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

One simple proven tool that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability, and allow you to gain some control is to use a “to do” list.

Benefits Of Using To-Do Lists

A “to-do” list helps you keep track of your progress when trying to achieve your objectives. Your to do list can be detailed and specific, or act as a reminder of tasks that need doing over a given period of time.

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

Free Up Resources

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

Manage Your Time Better

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 urgent vs what is not, and what tasks have to be done first.

Keep Documented Work Logs

To-do lists let you keep documented logs of what work has been done. You can use this to provide evidence of work to clients or employers, or just as a way of helping you track your own productivity and efficiency.


With no accountability there is no commitment to completion, and no motivation to take meaningful action. Lack of accountability lets excuses creep in and take over your work day.

Better Work Delegation

Having to do lists help you better delegate work to others. This is also important when collaborating on a team-based project (see further below).

As you can see, there are many benefits to using a to do list, both in business and in your personal life. Creating to-do lists, prioritizing tasks and working towards completing the items listed increases productivity and efficiency in your business.

What about using to do lists on your WordPress website?

In this detailed tutorial we are going to show you how to easily add a to-do list to WordPress to help your team get things done  faster and more efficiently using a customizable, multi-featured to-do list WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness plugin to-do lists

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin URL


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

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Features

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

You can set up Cleverness To Do List with private to do lists for individual users, to have all users share the same to do list, or to have a master list with individual item completions.

The shared to-do list has a variety of settings available. You can delegate to do items to a specific user (this includes emailing a new to-do item to users) and optionally to have assigned items be viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels using capabilities. There are also settings available to display deadline and progress fields. Category support is included as well 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 blog. There are two short codes for front-end list administration. Category management is accessed via the back-end.

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

Installing The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Log into your WordPress admin scroll down the menu click on Plugins > Add New …

WP Plugin Install

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

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

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

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

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

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

Once you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List > Settings

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ area …

Cleverness - To-Do List Settings

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

Plugin Configuration

The plugin’s ‘Settings’ screen is divided into four sections:

  • To-Do List Settings – The options in this area let you specify the main plugin settings.
  • Advanced Settings – This area is where you customize your to-do lists, assign tasks to other users and perform plugin 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 section lets you import and export your to-do plugin and list data settings.

Let’s configure each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

plugin to do lists - To Do List Settings Tab


Select ‘Enabled’ to organize your to-do list 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 plugin menu …

Cleverness plugin to do lists - To-Do List Menu

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

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

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

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

List View

List View allows you to specify how your lists will be viewed. You can choose three kinds of list views:

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Settings Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option lets you display which users have added an item to your 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

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you specify deadlines for your to-do tasks …

WP to do list plugin - To Do List Deadline

Show Progress

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

Cleverness to-do lists - To Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

Cleverness 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

Cleverness plugin to do list - 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 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, developed by the same author that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Plugin

To learn more this handy plugin, visit this site: WordPress Post Planner – Plugin For WordPress

After configuring your plugin options in this section, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WP save changes

Advanced Settings

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

to do list plugin - Advanced Settings

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Advanced Settings

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

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

The following options can be configured in this section:

Date Format

This section lets you 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, 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 highest (important), middle and lowest items …

Cleverness plugin WP - Priority Labeling

Items given the highest priority display in red in your lists and lowest priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

plugin to-do list Cleverness - Priority column

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option shows the items’ IDs on the list …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

to-do lists Cleverness - 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 to-do items to other users …

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

You can configure the following options in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enable this option to assign tasks to other users …

Cleverness plugin to do lists - 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

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can display items only to users who have been assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled displays to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this section Author displays the type of users that can be assigned items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a particular role, then leave its checkbox unticked.

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 …

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

If you don’t want to send out emails to users, then leave this option disabled (‘No’).

Note: If you disable this option, you can skip the other 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 categories added to the email subject.

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

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

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

Cleverness to-do lists - To Do Item Email From Field

From Field for Emails Sent to User

Use this field to customize the “From” field when sending out emails to users. Type your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

WP plugin to-do lists - From Field for Emails Sent to User

From Email

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

Cleverness plugin to do lists - To-Do Item Email From Field

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Enter a subject field for the email that will be automatically distributed to users when a new item has been added in your to-do list …

WordPress to do list plugin - To-Do Item Email Subject Field

Text in Emails Sent to User

Add into this field the body of the email message that will be sent out automatically to users when a new item has been assigned to your to-do list.

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this section you can carry out database maintenance operations associated with plugin data directly from the plugin settings area itself …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database maintenance

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

The tasks below can be performed in this section:

  • Delete Tables – Remove 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 performed from this screen cannot be undone. If you are comfortable to proceed with any of the database operations available in this section, then we recommend backing up your database first.

If you don’t want to do site backups, then get professional assistance, or use WordPress backup plugins. You can learn more about a great WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to completely automate your WordPress file and data 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 Tab


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

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

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

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

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

WordPress plugin to do list - User Permissions Tab

Let’s now review the settings for this section:

View To-Do List

This setting 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

This setting permits the selected capability to mark items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

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

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This enables the selected capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This setting allows the selected capability to assign to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This setting permits 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 to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

This permits the chosen capability to add new categories.


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be very useful. For example, you may want to copy over data from an existing to-do list to another website, or export the data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

to-do list Cleverness - Import/Export Settings Tab

Now you can export or import your list and plugin settings …

WordPress plugin to do lists - Import/Export Settings Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export - Import/Export Settings - Download Export File

This opens up a new window allowing you to view or save your data in a plain text file (e.g. Notepad) to an internal or external drive …

Cleverness to do lists plugin WP - Import/Export Settings Tab - Export Settings

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

Tools > Export WP Menu

You can include to-do list data in a WordPress export file (in XML format), either by checking ‘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 an internal or external hard drive…

WordPress Menu Export - Export To Do Data

Importing To-Do List Data

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your file data will be imported.

Once you have configured all of the plugin settings, you are ready to begin creating and editing to do lists.

How To Use The Plugin

To create a new to-do list, log into your WordPress admin, then scroll down the menu and click on To-Do List > To-Do List

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List Menu

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

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

Add New To-Do Items To Your List

There are a number of ways to add new to-do items.

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

Cleverness plugin WP - How To Add A New Item To Your List

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

Cleverness to do list - Add New To Do Items To Your 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, as the link is only going to send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the page) …

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

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

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

Set up 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 item to your list …

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

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

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

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

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

Once After adding a new item, it will display as an entry in the ‘To-Do List’ table …

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

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

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

Edit And Delete Items

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

Editing And Removing 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 to-do lists - Email Assigned To Do Items to User

Once you have created your to do list, users can view it inside their WP dashboard …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - View To Do List User Dashboard

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

Cleverness plugin - Completed To Do Item

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Completed To-Do Item

Additional Information

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

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 location in your sidebar menu where you would like the to-do list to appear …

Cleverness plugin to do lists - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

Short Codes

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin also lets you add to-do lists and checklists on your site with shortcodes.

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

to do list plugin Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

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

Once you know what type of information you want to display on your site, create or edit a new or existing page or post and either type or paste the short code into the content section …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

After publishing your post or page, you will see the list displayed exactly where you have added the short code …

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Short Codes

Go here to download this plugin:

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


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