How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

How To Create A To-Do List In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - Creating A To Do List In WordPressTime is always in short supply, especially if you are a business owner.

There is just too much to do and remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, projects to complete, meetings to attend, fires to put out, 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 promoting and growing your business online and maintaining your website updated with fresh content and everything can start to become unmanageable and out of control.

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

A simple proven method that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability, and allow you to regain control is to use a “to do” list.

The Benefits Of Using To Do Lists

A “to-do” list can help you track your progress as you to get tasks completed. Your to-do list can be detailed and specific, or just serve as a reminder of the things that need doing over a given period of time.

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

A To-Do List Helps You Stay Organized

Having to do lists help you create order, stay organized and reach goals sooner.

Be More Strategic

Creating and organizing to do lists helps you break larger projects into more doable tasks and formulate a strategic plan for getting things done on time and on budget.

Quickly Reorganize

A to-do list helps you better deal with situations. If you suddenly find that a meeting has been cancelled at short notice or extra time becomes available because some aspect of the project was completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reorganize and keep moving forward with minimal disruption.

Eliminate Stress

Stress can result from feeling overwhelmed by the thought that there is so much that needs doing and very little time to do it all in. Using to-do lists allow you to work on urgent things that need to be completed within the time you have available, and push out tasks that can be addressed at a later time. This can help reduce stress.


Using to-do lists and other project management tools is essential for working with other people 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 things systematically and productivity and efficiency in your business will 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 tutorial you are going to learn how to create a to do list in WordPress to help get things done online  faster and more efficiently using a great little plugin for WordPress called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness plugin

Plugin Download URL


This WordPress plugin lets you easily add a to do list to WordPress.

Plugin Features

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

You can set up the plugin to assign 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 offers different settings. You can delegate to do items to specific users (this includes a setting to email a new to do item to assigned users) and optionally to have assigned items only seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users based on user roles. There are also settings available to enable the display of 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 list and the to-do list 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 2 shortcodes for front-end list administration. Category management is restricted to the back-end.

If you plan to set up a multi-author site 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 from the same developer.

Installing The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Log into your WordPress admin section and click on Plugins > Add New …

WordPress Plugin Add New

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin after installing it …

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

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

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

Once the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

Note: The plugin’s settings area 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 ‘Settings’ screen …

WordPress to-do list plugin - To-Do List Settings Tab

Let’s set up the plugin …

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Configuration

The “To-Do List” plugin ‘Settings’ area is divided into four tabs:

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

Let’s review each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

to do lists plugin - To Do List Settings


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

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Categories Menu

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

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

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

Private categories are not visible when using 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. There are three to do list views available:

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

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

‘Sort Order’ lets you specify how to sort list items.

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

Show Added By

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

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

Show Date Completed

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays completion dates for to-do tasks.

Show Deadline

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

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

Show Progress

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

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

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

Cleverness plugin WP to do list - 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

plugin to do list - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

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

Integrate with Post Planner

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

WordPress Post Planner

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

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

WordPress save changes button

Advanced Settings

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

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

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ area …

Cleverness plugin - Advanced Settings

In this tab you can customize your To Do lists, assign to-do items to users and perform database maintenance tasks.

Let’s take you 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 - Advanced Settings - Customize To-Do List Settings

The following options can be configured in this section:

Date Format

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

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list - Priority section

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

Cleverness to-do list - colour-coded priority

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled, item IDs will show on the to-do list …

to-do list Cleverness - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) will display the date your To-Do Items table was added …

plugin to-do lists Cleverness - sort by date

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

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

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

The following settings can be configured in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enable this option to assign tasks to other users …

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

Note: This setting must be set to ‘Yes’ for the settings below it to work.

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

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display to-do items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled (‘No’) displays items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this section (Administrator displays the type of users that can be assigned to-do items. Leave the check box 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 to-do list - Assigned To-Do Items Email

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want to send out emails to users.

Note: If this option is disabled, skip the remaining 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 …

to do lists Cleverness - Add Category to Email Subject

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want to-do categories added to the subject of your emails.

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 is a useful option if you have a number of project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

From Email

Type into this field the email address that you want to display as the “sent from” email address …

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness WP to-do lists plugin - Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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.

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can perform database maintenance operations related to plugin data inside your plugin settings area itself without having to log into your server …

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

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

The tasks below can be performed in this section:

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

Important Info

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

If you don’t want to back up your data manually, then consider getting professional WordPress help, or use a backup plugin. You can learn more about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to completely automate your file and data backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions Settings Tab


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

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

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

WordPress to do lists plugin - User Permissions Settings Tab - 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 using the Master list type make sure that you only allow non-administrator users to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

Cleverness to do list plugin WP - User Permissions

Let’s go through the settings in the User Permissions tab:

View To-Do List

Here you can permit 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 option allows the chosen capability to mark items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option enables the chosen capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This allows the chosen capability to edit 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

This option enables 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

This option enables the chosen capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

This setting permits the chosen 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 copy over data from one website to another, 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 lists Cleverness - Import/Export Tab

Here you can export or import your to-do list data and plugin settings …

Cleverness - Import/Export Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

WP plugin to do lists - Import/Export Settings - Import/Export Settings Section - Download Export File

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

to do list Cleverness - Import/Export Settings - Export Settings File

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

WP Menu Tools > Export

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

Export WP - Export To-Do

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 …

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

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

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

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

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

Your file data will be imported.

Once you have configured all plugin settings, you can start creating and editing your lists.

How To Use Cleverness To-Do List

To create a new to-do list, log into your WordPress admin, then go to the menu and select To-Do List > To-Do List

Cleverness to-do list - To-Do List Menu

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

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

Adding New Items To Your List

There are several 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 …

WP to do lists plugin - Adding New Items To Your List

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

to do list 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, as the link will simply take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the screen) …

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

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

Depending on the way you have configured the plugin’s settings, some options may not display when when you add new to-do items.

Configure 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 new item to your list …

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

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

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

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

plugin to do list - Assign To Do Items to Users

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

to-do list Cleverness - Adding New To-Do Items

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

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

Edit And Delete Items From Your List

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

Edit And Delete Items

Depending on your plugin configuration plugin settings (discussed in the previous section), users assigned to completing tasks may also receive an email notification in their inboxes …

Cleverness plugin WP - Email Assigned To Do Items to User

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

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

When a user assigned with completing an item clicks on the item check box …

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

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

Cleverness plugin to do lists - Complete To Do Item

And gets listed the ‘Completed Items’ section located in the main screen of the ‘To-Do List’ plugin …

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

Additional Plugin Information

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


To add to-do lists 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 list to show …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - Using The Plugin Widget

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

to-do lists Cleverness - Widgets

Your to-do list will display wherever you have inserted the widget (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

to-do list plugin - Widgets

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

Plugin Shortcodes

You can also display to-do lists and checklists on your site by placing short codes into your content.

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

WP plugin to-do list - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

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

Using Plugin Shortcodes

The documentation section explains different ways to configure and use shortcodes for displaying lists and checklists on your pages and posts.

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

Using Plugin Shortcodes

After publishing your page or post, you will see the list showing in the location where you have added the short code …

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Shortcodes

To download this plugin, visit the plugin website here:

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


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