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

WP Plugin Tutorials - How To Create To Do Lists In WordPressIf you run a hectic 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 deadlines to meet, urgent tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to extinguish, deliveries to make, schedules to keep and so on. The amount of things that need to get done never seems to end.

Now … add the extra dimension of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website or blog updated with fresh content and everything can suddenly begin feeling unmanageable and overwhelming.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a team, you need to be able to organize and prioritize your daily tasks, keep track of your progress, and, if necessary, assign tasks to members of your team or staff efficiently.

A proven method that can help you save time, reduce stress, and allow you to take control is to use “to do” lists.

Benefits Of Using A To-Do List

A “to-do” list helps you keep track of your progress when working towards a certain goal. Your to-do list can be detailed or specific, or just serve as a reminder of the things that need to be done today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc.

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

Clear Thinking

Creating a to do list means that you won’t have to try and remember stuff or store information inside your mind. Once tasks are written down on a to do list, your brain is free to process information and you can focus on things that are more important to you.


Creating and organizing to-do lists helps you see the larger picture and create a strategic plan to get everything completed on budget and on time.

Reschedule Quickly

Using to do lists help you better cope with events. If a meeting gets cancelled or extra time is made available because something was completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reorganize or reschedule and keep moving forward with minimal loss of focus.

Stress Less

Stress can result from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and very little time to do it in. Using a to-do list allows you to prioritize important tasks that have to get done within a reasonable timeframe, and push out non-urgent tasks that can be addressed later. This can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and alleviate some of the stress you may be feeling.

Collaborating With Others

Creating to do lists and other project management tools is essential for getting other people involved on some of your larger or more complex projects.

As you can see, there are many benefits to using a to do list, both in business and in your personal life. Creating a to-do list, prioritizing tasks and working in a focused manner increases productivity and efficiency in your business.

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

In this detailed tutorial you are going to learn how to create to do lists 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

plugin to do lists

Plugin Download URL

Plugin Description

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

Plugin Features

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

You can set up Cleverness To-Do List to have private to-do lists for individual users, to have all users share a to do list, or to have a master list with individual completion of items.

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

A new menu item is added to the backend to help you manage your list and your to-do list can also display on the dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is also available as shortcode to display the to do list items on your site. There are two shortcodes for front-end administration of your list. Category management is restricted to the back-end admin section.

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 Post Planner plugin.

Installing The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Log into your site’s administration area scroll down the menu choose Plugins > Add New …

Install WP Plugin

In the Install Plugins screen, type in “cleverness” into the search field and click Enter on your keyboard …

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

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

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

Activate the plugin after installing it …

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

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

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

After the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

Cleverness - Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List Settings

Note: The settings section can also be accessed by selecting To-Do List > Settings from the dashboard menu …

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

This brings you to the plugin ‘Settings’ area …

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

Let’s go through the plugin setup process …

Configuring The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The plugin’s ‘Settings’ area is divided into four tabs:

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

Let’s go through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness plugin - To Do List Settings Screen


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

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

to-do list plugin Cleverness - To Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Categories

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

Private categories will not be visible using 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 three list views:

  • Individual – Select this option if you want each user to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Selecting this option allows all users to share the same to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you to have 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 adjust the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

WordPress to-do lists plugin - To Do List Sort Order

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

If you select Category, Alphabetical or ID, Category, ID 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

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

Show Deadline

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

to do lists Cleverness - To Do List Deadline

Show Progress

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

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

Use WYSIWYG Editor

If this option is enabled, you will be able to add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

to-do lists plugin - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

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

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, from the same plugin developer that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner

Go here to learn more this plugin: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Editorial Solution Plugin

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

WP button save changes

Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness plugin - Advanced Settings Tab

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ screen …

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

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

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 …

WordPress to do list 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 in 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 your labels for prioritizing highest, middle and lowest items …

to-do lists Cleverness - Priority section

Items prioritized as “important” are colour-coded in red and low priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness plugin WP to-do list - colour-coded priorities

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled, the items’ IDs show on the to-do list …

Cleverness to do lists - Show To Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - 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 options in this area and assign to-do items to other users …

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

You can configure the following options in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

plugin 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

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

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this area (Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, Subscriber) to display 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

If you enable this option, WordPress automatically sends an email to users with their assigned to-do items …

Cleverness plugin - Assigned To Do Items Email

If you don’t want emails sent out to users, then leave this option disabled.

Note: If this option is disabled, 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 on the subject of your emails …

to-do lists plugin Cleverness - Add Category to Email Subject

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want to-do categories to appear 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 option is useful if, for example, you have multiple project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness WP plugin 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 notices. Type your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

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

From Email

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

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Type in a subject field for the email that will be automatically sent to users whenever a new item has been added in your to-do list …

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

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This section allows you to carry out database maintenance tasks associated with plugin data inside the plugin settings area without having to log into your server …

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

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

You can perform the following tasks in this section:

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


Actions that you perform on the database from this screen cannot be undone. If you are comfortable to carry out database maintenance in this section, then we recommend backing up your WP database first.

If you don’t want to do your own backups, then hire a professional service, or use backup plugins. You can learn more about a WordPress backup plugin that can automate your site backups here:

User Permissions

In this section you can configure user permissions and capabilities for Group or Master List types …

Cleverness to do lists - User Permissions Tab


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

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

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

plugin to do lists - User Permissions Settings Tab - View To Do-List

By default, general capabilities for each user role are configured 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 authorize non-admin users to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list.

Cleverness - User Permissions Settings

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

View To-Do List

This option enables 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

This option enables the selected capability to mark items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option permits the chosen 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

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can allow 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

This permits the chosen capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can enable the selected capability to purge all the completed items.

Add Categories Capability

This option permits the selected 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 reporting purposes.

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

Cleverness WP to-do list plugin - Import/Export Tab

Use this section to easily export or import your to-do list data and plugin settings …

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

Cleverness WordPress to-do lists plugin - Import/Export Settings Tab - Import/Export Settings - Download Export File

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

Cleverness - Import/Export Tab - Export Settings

As well as exporting list data from the ‘Import/Export’ tab, you can also export data by going to your main menu and selecting Tools > Export

WordPress Menu Tools > Export

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

Export WP - 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 …

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

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

to-do lists plugin Cleverness - Import/Export - Import/Export Settings - Import File

The data from the existing to-do file will be imported.

After configuring all 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 select To-Do List > To-Do List

Cleverness to-do lists - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List screen

Add New To-Do Items To Your List

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Add New To-Do Items

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

WP to-do list plugin - How To Add A New Item To Your 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 contains many items, as the link is only going to take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the screen) …

Cleverness plugin - Adding A New Item To Your List

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

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

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 new item to your list …

Cleverness to do list plugin - Adding New To Do Items

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 to-do lists - Assign To Do Items to Users

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

Cleverness - Assign To-Do Items to Users

Once a new item has been added, the item will display as an entry in the ‘To-Do Items’ table …

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

Repeat this process to keep adding items to your to-do list …

to-do list Cleverness - How To Add A New Item To Your List

Editing And Deleting To Do Items

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

Editing And Removing To Do Items From Your List

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

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

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

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

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

WordPress plugin to-do list - Completed To-Do Item

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

WordPress to do lists plugin - Complete To Do Item

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

WordPress plugin to-do list - Completed To Do Items User Dashboard

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness plugin offers added functionality that lets you display to-do lists on your WordPress site using widgets, and add lists to any 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’ section (Appearance > Widgets) and drag the ‘To-Do List’ widget to the menu location where you would like the list to appear …

Cleverness to do lists - Widgets

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

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

Your to-do list will now display on your site where the ‘to-do-list’ widget has been added (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

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

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

Plugin Short Codes

The plugin also lets you display to-do lists to your site with short codes.

To access the documentation on using shortcodes, select To-Do List > To-Do List from your dashboard menu …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Menu

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

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

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

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

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

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Shortcodes

After publishing your post or page, you should see the list showing where you added the shortcode …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

To download this plugin, visit this site:

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


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