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 - How To Create To Do Lists In WordPressTime is always in short supply, especially if you are running a fast-paced business or managing other people.

There is just so much to do and remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, urgent tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to put out, deliveries to make, commitments to keep and so on. The “doing” never seems to end.

Now … add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website or blog updated with regular content and things can start to become unmanageable and chaotic.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a project, it’s important to be able to organize and manage your daily tasks.

One ”tried and true” method that can help you save time, alleviate stress, and allow you to regain control is to use “to-do” lists.

The Benefits Of Using To Do Lists

A “to-do” list helps you monitor your progress when trying to achieve certain objectives. Your to-do list can be very detailed and specific, or act 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:

Free Your Brain

Writing to-do lists means that you won’t have to keep remembering stuff or clutter your brain with details. Once tasks are written down on a to-do list, your mind is free to process other information and you can focus on other important areas.

Better Strategic Planning

After creating and organizing your to-do list, you can see the larger picture and create a strategic plan to get tasks done on budget and on time.

Reschedule Quickly

A to-do list helps you better handle situations. If you find that an appointment has been cancelled at short notice or extra time is made available because something got completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reorganize and continue working without loss of focus.


Without accountability there is no commitment to getting things completed, and no motivation to take meaningful action. Lack of accountability can also let excuses creep in and influence your productivity.


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 a to-do list, both in business and in your personal life. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work in a systematic way and efficiency and productivity in your business is sure to improve.

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

In this detailed step-by-step tutorial we are going to show you how to easily add a to-do list to your WordPress site to improve business efficiency and productivity using a customizable, multi-featured to do list WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness to do lists

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin


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

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Features

Note: the plugin features described below are 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 item completions.

The shared to do list option offers a number of settings. You can assign to-do items to specific users (this includes emailing new to do items to the user) and optionally to have assigned items only viewable 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 also included as front-end administration.

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

A sidebar widget is available as well as shortcode to display the to-do list items on your site. There are two short codes for front-end administration of your list. Management of categories is accessed through the back-end.

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

Installing The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Log into your site’s admin and in the menu choose Plugins > Add New …

WordPress Plugin Add New

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin …

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

Note: You can also activate this plugin from the Plugins area …

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

When the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do list - To-Do List > Settings Menu

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ area …

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

Let’s configure the plugin …

Plugin Configuration

The Settings screen is divided into 4 sections:

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

Let’s configure each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

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


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 menu …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List Categories Section

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

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

List View

List View lets you specify how your to-do lists will be viewed. You can select 3 kinds of to do list views:

  • Individual – Selecting this option lets each user create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Selecting this option allows users to share the same to-do list.
  • Master – Use this option to create a master list for all users, where users have their own individual completion of items. If using the ‘Master’ list view, make sure to configure the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

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

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display which of your users has added an item to the to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

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

Show Deadline

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

Cleverness - To Do List Settings Deadline

Show Progress

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

Cleverness WordPress plugin to-do lists - 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 - To-Do List Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

This option lets you add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

Cleverness plugin WP to-do list - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If enabled (‘Yes’), automatic paragraphs are used to display content in your to-do list items.

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, developed by the same author that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Plugin

Visit this site for more information about this plugin: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Multi-Author Publishing Plugin

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

WordPress save changes

Advanced Settings

After you have configured the general settings, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab …

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

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

Cleverness plugin to do lists WP - Advanced Settings

In this area you can customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do items to other users and carry out database maintenance.

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

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Date Format

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

Note: To learn more about how to format 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 highest (important), normal and lowest priority items …

Cleverness to do list - Priority Labels

Items prioritized as “important” display in red in the lists and lowest priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness to do list - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) shows the item’s ID on your list …

to do lists Cleverness - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If this option is enabled, the date the to-do list was added shows on your To-Do Items table …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - sort by date

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

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

WP plugin to do list - 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

If enabled, you can assign tasks to other users …

Cleverness to-do lists - 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

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

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this section Editor to display the type of users that can be assigned items. Leave the check box unticked for any roles that you do not want to assign to-do items.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

If this option is enabled, WordPress will automatically send an email to users with their assigned to-do items …

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

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

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

to do list Cleverness - Add Category to Subject

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

If you don’t want categories added to the subject of your emails, then leave this option disabled (‘No’).

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

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

WP plugin to do list - To-Do Item Email From Field

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

From Email

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

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness - To Do Item Email Subject Field

Text in Emails Sent to User

Add 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.

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

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

Cleverness - To Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

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

You can perform the tasks below in this section:

  • Delete Tables – Delete 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 your database from this screen cannot be undone. If you are comfortable to perform database maintenance in this section, then we recommend backing up your database first.

If you don’t want to back up your site manually, then consider getting help from a WordPress professional, or use a WordPress backup plugin. You can read about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to perform complete WordPress file and database backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness WP plugin to-do lists - User Permissions Settings


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

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

If you are configuring user permissions and capabilities for Group or Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you would like users to be able to perform for each option …

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

The default general capabilities of each user role are set up as follows:

  • Subscribers: Read
  • Contributors: Edit Posts
  • Authors: Publish Posts
  • Editors: Edit Others Posts
  • Administrators: Manage Options

Note: When using the Master list type make sure that you only permit non-admin users to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

Cleverness to do list plugin - User Permissions Tab

Here is a description of the settings for this tab:

View To-Do List

This setting allows 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

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

Add To-Do Item Capability

This setting permits the selected capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This permits the selected capability to edit existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This option permits 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 permit the chosen capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

This setting allows the chosen capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

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


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may need to copy over data from an existing list to another website, or export your list data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

to-do list plugin - Import/Export Settings Tab

Use this section to export and import your list and plugin settings …

Cleverness to do list - Import/Export Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a new window allowing you to view or download your data as plain text to a storage device …

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

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

Tools > Export WordPress

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

Tools > Export WP - Export To-Do Data File

Importing To-Do List Data

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

Cleverness - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings Section - Import File

Locate the file and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

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

After configuring all of the plugin settings, you can begin create and edit your lists.

How To Use The Plugin

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

to do list plugin - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

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

Adding A New Item To Your To-Do 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 dashboard toolbar …

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

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

Cleverness - How To Add New Items To Your To-Do 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, since the link is only going to take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the page) …

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

All the methods shown above will take 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, enter appropriate information into the relevant fields and click on the ‘Submit To-Do Item’ button to add the new to-do item …

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

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

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

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

to do list Cleverness - Assign To Do Items to Users

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

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

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

Cleverness - How To Add New To-Do Items To Your List

Edit And Delete Items

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

Edit And Delete Items From Your List

Depending on how you have set up the plugin (see previous section), users assigned to completing tasks may also receive email notifications …

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

After creating your to do list, users can view the list inside their WordPress user dashboard …

Cleverness - View To Do List User Dashboard

When users assigned with completing an item click on the item checkbox …

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

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

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

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

WordPress to do list plugin - Completed To Do List Item

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin offers additional functions that let you display to-do lists on your site using widgets, and insert lists into any page or post using shortcodes.

Plugin Widget

To add to-do lists 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 want the list to show …

Cleverness plugin - Widgets

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Widgets

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

plugin to do list - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Using Plugin Shortcodes

You can also display lists on your site with shortcodes.

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

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

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

Cleverness to do list plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

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

Plugin Short Codes

This documentation section explains different ways to configure and use shortcodes for displaying lists and checklists 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 section …

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Short Codes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

For more details about this plugin, visit the plugin website:

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


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