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 - Creating To-Do Lists In WordPressTime is always in short supply, especially if you are a business owner or busy team leader.

There is just too much to do and remember. You have clients to meet, projects to complete, meetings to attend, fires to extinguish, deliveries to make, commitments to keep and so on. The stress of trying to get things done on time never stops.

Now … add the extra dimension of trying to promote and grow your business online and maintaining your website or blog updated with regular content and everything can start feeling unmanageable and out of control.

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

A simple “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.

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to do” list helps you monitor your progress when trying to achieve specific objectives. Your to do list can be minutely detailed and very specific, or serve as a reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

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

Free Up Resources

Creating a to do list means you don’t have to try to memorize things or clutter your brain with details. Once things are recorded on a to do list, your head is free to process other information and you can focus on more important things.

Better Manage Your Time

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you manage your time more effectively. You can develop a clearer perspective on what is more important vs what is not, and what steps should be done first.

Keep Work Logs

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

Less Stress

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and very little time to do it all in. Creating to-do lists let you prioritize important items that need to get done within a reasonable timeframe, and reschedule non-urgent items that can be addressed later. This can help reduce stress.

Better Delegation Of Tasks

A to do list helps 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 to-do lists, both in business and in your personal life. Creating a to do list, prioritizing tasks and working in a systematic way improves your business productivity and efficiency.

What about adding to do lists to your WordPress website or blog?

In this step-by-step tutorial you are going to learn how to easily add to-do lists to your WordPress site to help your team get things done  faster and more efficiently using a great little WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

Cleverness to do list plugin

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin


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


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

You can set up the plugin to assign 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 item completions.

The shared to-do list has a variety of settings available. You can assign to-do items to a specific user (this includes a setting to email a new to do item to assigned users) and optionally to have those items only seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels using capabilities. There are also settings to enable the display of deadline and progress fields. Category support is also included as front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the admin backend to manage your list and the to do list can also display on a 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 shortcodes for front-end administration of your list. Management of categories is accessible 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 planners if you also use a copy of the developer’s premium plugin, Post Planner.

How To Install The Plugin

From your WP administration area, go to the main menu and choose Plugins > Add New

Install WP Plugin

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin …

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

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

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

Once the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

Note: The settings screen can also be accessed by choosing To-Do List > Settings from your dashboard menu …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Menu

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ section …

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

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

Configuring The Plugin

The Settings screen is divided into four tabs:

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

Let’s now review each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Settings


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

List View

List View lets you specify how lists will be viewed. You can choose from 3 kinds of list views:

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

If this option is enabled, you can display which of your members has added an item to your to-do list.

Note: This setting only applies when ‘List View’ is set to ‘Group’.

Show Date Completed

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

Show Deadline

Enabling this option lets you specify deadlines for to-do items …

Cleverness - To Do List Deadline

Show Progress

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list WP - To Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

plugin to do list - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

WP to-do list plugin - To Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display content in to-do list items using paragraphs.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you plan to run a collaborative site 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 task of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner

Visit this site to learn more this plugin: WordPress Post Planner – Multi-Author Publishing Plugin For WordPress

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

WordPress button - 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 plugin WP - Advanced Settings

This brings you to the plugin’s ‘Advanced Settings’ area …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Advanced Settings

This screen lets you customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do tasks to users and perform database maintenance.

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

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

Here you can customize your To-Do List …

to-do list plugin Cleverness - To-Do List Advanced Settings - Customize To-Do List Settings

You can configure the following options in this section:

Date Format

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

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

This section lets you customize the labels for highest (important), middle and low priority items …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - Priority drop-down menu

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled, the item’s ID show on your list …

Cleverness plugin WP - Show To-Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If enabled (‘Yes’), the date your to-do list was added appears on the To-Do Items table …

Cleverness - sort by date

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 options 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

The following settings can be configured in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

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

Enable this option to display to-do items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leave this option disabled to display items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this area Author displays the type of users that can be assigned 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 you enable this option, WordPress automatically sends an email to users with their assigned to-do items …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Assigned To-Do Items Email

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

Note: If you disable this option, you can skip the remaining settings in this section.

Add Category to Subject

If categories are enabled in your plugin settings and you have selected ‘Yes’ for this option, the to-do category will display in the subject of emails sent to users …

Cleverness plugin WP to do list - Add Category to Subject

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

If you don’t want to display categories in the email subject, then leave this option disabled (‘No’).

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

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

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

plugin to do list - To Do Item Email From Field

From Email

In this field, add the email address that you would like showing as the “sent from” address …

to do list plugin - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness - To-Do Item Email Subject Field

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab lets you carry out database maintenance operations associated with plugin data directly from your plugin settings area itself …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - To Do List Advanced Settings > Database maintenance

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

You can perform the following tasks in this section:

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


Any database operations carried out from this screen cannot be undone. If you are sure that you want to perform database operations in this section, then remember to backup your WP database first.

If you don’t want to back up your site yourself, then use a professional, or use WordPress backup plugins. Learn about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to completely automate your backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list WordPress - User Permissions Tab


If you are using Individual List, the only configurable item that applies in this section is the View To-Do List option …

Cleverness plugin WP - User Permissions Tab - View To Do-List

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

WP to do lists plugin - User Permissions - View To Do-List

The default general capabilities of each user role are set 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-admin users should only be allowed to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list.

Cleverness WordPress plugin to do list - User Permissions Tab

Let’s review the settings in the User Permissions tab:

View To-Do List

This option permits the selected 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 allow the chosen capability to mark items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the selected capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the chosen capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the chosen capability to delegate to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can allow 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 enable the chosen capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can permit the selected capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

This option enables the selected capability to add new categories.


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

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

to do list plugin Cleverness - Import/Export Settings Tab

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

Cleverness to-do list plugin - 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’ …

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

This opens up a new window allowing you to view or save the data in plain text format to a storage medium (e.g. your hard drive) …

plugin to do list - Import/Export Tab - 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 main menu and selecting Tools > Export

Export 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…

WP Export Menu - Export To Do Data File

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 - Import/Export Settings Tab - Import/Export Settings Section - Import To Do Data File

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

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

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

Cleverness - Import/Export - Import/Export Settings - 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 are ready to begin create and edit to do lists.

Plugin Usage

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

plugin to do list - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List page

Adding New To Do Items To Your List

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Add New Items To Your List

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

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

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

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

Depending on how you have configured your plugin settings, some options may not display when new items to your to-do list.

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 new item to your list …

Cleverness plugin - Add New To Do Items

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Assign To-Do Items to Users

After an item has been added, it will display as an entry in the ‘To-Do List’ table …

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

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

Cleverness - How To Add New To-Do Items

Editing And Deleting 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 …

Edit And Delete To Do Items From Your List

Depending on your plugin configuration settings (discussed earlier), users assigned to completing tasks may also receive email notifications …

Cleverness - Email Assigned To Do Items to User

Once you have created your to-do list, users can view the list from their own dashboard …

Cleverness plugin - View To-Do List

When users assigned with the item complete the task and tick the item checkbox …

plugin to-do list - Completed To Do Item

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

plugin to-do lists - Complete To Do Item

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

Cleverness - Completed To-Do Items User Dashboard

Additional Information

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

Using The Cleverness 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 list to appear …

Cleverness plugin to do lists WordPress - Plugin Widget

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

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

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

WP to do list plugin - Plugin Widget

To learn more about using widgets in WordPress, see the tutorial below:

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

You can also add to-do lists to your site by placing short codes into your content.

To access the plugin’s short code documentation, select To-Do List > To-Do List from your dashboard menu …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

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

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

Using Plugin Shortcodes

The documentation section explains various ways to configure and use shortcodes to display lists and checklists on your posts and pages.

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

Plugin Shortcodes

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

Plugin Short Codes

Visit the plugin website to learn more about this plugin:

Congratulations! Now you know how to create and add a to-do list to your WordPress site or blog.


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