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 WordPressTime always seems to be in short supply, especially when you are running a fast-paced business or managing a team.

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

Now … on top of all this, add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and maintaining your website or blog updated with fresh content and things can start becoming unmanageable and chaotic.

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

A simple proven tool that can help you save time, alleviate stress, and allow you to gain some control is to use a “to do” list.

Benefits Of Using A To Do List

A “to do” list helps you keep track of your progress as you work towards your goals. Your to do list can be detailed or specific, or serve as a concise reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc.

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

To Do Lists Help Create Order

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

Time Prioritization

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

Log Your Work

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


Without accountability there is no commitment to completion, and no motivation to act with a sense of purpose. Lack of accountability can also allow excuses to creep in and impact your productivity.

Collaborate Better With Others

Using to-do lists and other project management tools is essential for collaborating with others on some of your larger or more complex projects.

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 systematically and efficiency and productivity in your business will surely increase.

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

In this step-by-step tutorial you are going to learn how to create a to do list in WordPress to improve business efficiency and productivity using a customizable, multi-featured to-do list plugin for WordPress called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness plugin WP to-do list

Download URL


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


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

You can set up the plugin to have private to-do lists for individual users, to have all users share your 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 specific users (this includes a setting to email new to do items 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 show 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 the to-do lists can also display on a dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as shortcode to display the to-do list items on your blog. There are 2 short codes for front-end list administration. Management of categories is accessible via the back-end.

If you plan to set up a multi-author blog you can use the 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.

How To Install The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

In your site’s dashboard section, go to the menu and choose Plugins > Add New

WordPress Plugin Install

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

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

Locate the Cleverness To-Do List plugin in the Search Results section and click Install Now

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

Activate the plugin after installing it …

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

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

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

When the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

Note: The plugin’s ‘Settings’ screen can also be accessed by choosing To-Do List > Settings from your admin menu …

Cleverness to do list - To Do List > Settings Menu

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ screen …

Cleverness plugin - To Do List Settings Tab

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

How To Set Up The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The Settings area is divided into four tabs:

  • To-Do List Settings – Here you can specify the plugin’s main 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 – In this section you can set up user permissions and capabilities for Master and Group List types.
  • Import/Export – This area is where you can export and import to-do plugin and list data settings.

Let’s review each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

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

To-Do List Categories

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

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

WordPress 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) …

WordPress to-do lists plugin - To Do List Categories Section

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

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

List View

List View allows you to choose how to-do lists are viewed. You can select 3 types of to do list views:

  • Individual – Choose this option if you want each user to be able to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Selecting this option lets users share the same to-do list.
  • Master – Choose this option to create one master list for all users, where users have their own individual completion of items. If using the ‘Master’ list view, make sure to adjust the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

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

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

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

Show Added By

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

Note: This setting only works if ‘List View’ is set to ‘Group’.

Show Date Completed

If this option is enabled, completion dates will display for your to-do tasks.

Show Deadline

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Settings Deadline

Show Progress

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

WordPress plugin to-do list - To-Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

Cleverness - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

Cleverness plugin - To Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If enabled, automatic paragraphs are used to display content in your to-do list items.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you plan to run a collaborative website or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, from the same plugin developer that helps to make the task of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner

For more information about using this WordPress plugin, go here: WordPress Post Planner – Plugin For WordPress

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

WP save changes

Advanced Settings

After configuring the general settings, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to proceed …

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

This brings up the plugin’s ‘Advanced Settings’ screen …

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

This area lets you customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do tasks to users and perform 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

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

The following settings 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, visit the relevant section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

In this section you can customize your labels for prioritizing highest, normal and lowest (low) items …

Cleverness - Priority drop-down menu

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

Cleverness plugin to do list - colour-coding priority

Show To-Do Item ID

If this option is enabled, the items’ IDs show on your list …

to-do lists plugin - Show To Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If enabled (‘Yes’), the date your to-do list was added shows on the items table …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - Date Added

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 settings in this area and assign items to other users …

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

The following options can be configured in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

Cleverness plugin - Assign To-Do Items to Users

Note: This set this option to ‘Yes’ for the settings below it to work.

Show a User Only the To-Do Items Assigned to Them

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display to-do 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

Check the boxes in this section Contributor to display the type of users that can be assigned to-do items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a particular role, then don’t tick its checkbox.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

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

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

Note: If you disable this option, you can skip other 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 WordPress plugin to-do list - Add Category to Email Subject

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

If you don’t want to display categories in the email subject, then leave this option disabled.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This option is useful if, for example, your site has several project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness plugin WP - 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 the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

Cleverness WordPress to do list plugin - From Field for Emails Sent to User

From Email

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

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

to-do lists 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.

WordPress plugin to do lists - 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 directly from your plugin settings area …

to-do lists Cleverness - To Do List Advanced Settings > Clean up Database

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

You can perform the following tasks:

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

Important Info

Any database operations performed from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are sure that you want to proceed with any of the database operations available in this section, then we recommend backing up your WordPress database first.

If you don’t want to perform site backups, then consider getting support services from a WordPress professional, or use a backup plugin. You can learn more about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to completely automate your WordPress file and database backups here:

User Permissions

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

WP to-do list plugin - User Permissions

Useful Information

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

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

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

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

The 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 working with the Master list type make sure that you only permit non-administrator users to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list.

WP plugin to do list - User Permissions Tab

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

View To-Do List

Here you can permit 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 allow the chosen capability to mark to-do items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

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

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This option permits the chosen capability to modify existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can permit 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 permit the chosen capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

This permits the selected capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

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


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be very useful. For example, you may want to transfer data from an existing 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 …

plugin to do lists - Import/Export Tab

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

Cleverness - Import/Export Settings Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

to do lists Cleverness - Import/Export Tab - 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 an internal or external hard drive …

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

As well as exporting list data from the ‘Import/Export’ section, you can also export data by going to your WordPress dashboard menu and choosing Tools > Export

WP Menu Export

You can include to-do list data in an export file (in XML format), either by checking ‘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 storage device…

WP Export Menu - Export To-Do Data File

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 …

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

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

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

After uploading the data file, click the ‘Import Settings’ button …

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

Your file data will be imported.

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

Plugin Usage

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

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

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

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

Add New Items To Your List

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

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

to do lists Cleverness - Adding New To-Do Items

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

Cleverness - Add A New Item To Your To-Do List

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

Cleverness plugin - Add New To Do Items To Your List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once you have added the new item, the item will be listed as an entry in the ‘To-Do Items’ table …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Adding A New Item To Your List

Repeat the above process to add new items to your to-do list …

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

Editing And Deleting Items

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

Editing And Deleting Items

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

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

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

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

When the user assigned with completing an item ticks the item checkbox …

Cleverness plugin to do lists WordPress - Complete To Do Item

… the item disappears from the “To-Do” list …

to-do lists plugin - Completed To Do Item

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

WordPress plugin to-do lists - Completed To-Do List Items User Dashboard

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin provides added functionality that lets you display a to-do list on your site using widgets, and display lists on content inside a page or post using short codes.

Using The Cleverness 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 menu location where you would like the to-do list to show …

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

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

to-do list plugin - Plugin Widget

The to-do list will display wherever the ‘to-do-list’ widget was placed (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness WP to-do lists plugin - Plugin Widget

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

Using Plugin Shortcodes

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin also lets you display to-do lists to your site by inserting short codes into your content.

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Menu

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

WordPress to-do list plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

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

Using Plugin Short Codes

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

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


Publish your post or page and you should see the list displayed exactly where you entered the short code …

Plugin Shortcodes

Go here to download this plugin:

Congratulations! Now you can add to-do lists to your WordPress site.


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