How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

Creating A To Do List In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - How To Create To Do Lists In WordPressWhen you run a growing business or manage any kind of project that involves people collaborating, time always seems to be in short supply.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to put out, calls and appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The “doing” never stops.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra dimension of promoting and growing your business online and keeping your website or blog updated with new 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 prioritize your daily tasks, keep track of your progress and daily accomplishments, and, if necessary, assign tasks to others effectively.

One simple “tried and true” tool that can help you save time, reduce stressful workloads, and allow you to take control is to use “to do” lists.

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to do” list can help you track your progress as you work towards completing tasks. Your to do list can be detailed or specific, or serve as a reminder of tasks that need to be done over a given period of time.

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

Free The Brain

Writing a to-do list means you don’t have to try to memorize stuff or store unnecessary information inside your mind. Once tasks are jotted down on a to-do list, your mind is free to process information and you can focus on more important things.

Time Prioritization

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time and manage your workload more effectively. You can develop a better perspective on what’s truly important vs what is not, and what tasks need to be completed first.

Log Your Work

To-do lists let you maintain documented logs of what work has been done. This can be used as evidence of work done to employers or clients, or simply as a means of helping you assess your own productivity and efficiency.

Relieve Stress

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and so very little time to do it all in. Creating a to-do list lets you prioritize urgent items that have to get done immediately, and push out tasks that can be worked on at a later time. This can help reduce stress.

Better Delegation Of Tasks

To-do lists help you better delegate work to others. This is also important if you plan to collaborate within a team (see further below).

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 in a focused manner and productivity and efficiency in your business is sure to increase.

Let’s turn now to using a to-do list on your website. More specifically, adding a to-do list to WordPress.

In this step-by-step tutorial we are going to show you how to easily add a to-do list to a WordPress website or blog to help your business grow online  faster and more efficiently using a customizable, multi-featured to do list plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

plugin to-do lists

Download The Plugin


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


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

You can configure Cleverness To Do List with private to do lists for each user, to have all users share your to-do list, or to have a master list with individual item completions.

The shared to do list option has a variety of settings available. You can delegate to do items to a specific user (this includes emailing new to-do items to the assigned user) and optionally to have assigned items be 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 included as well in the front-end administration.

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

A sidebar widget is also available as short code to display the to do list items on your site. There are 2 shortcodes for front-end list administration. Category management is accessible via the back-end.

If you plan to run a multi-author site you can use the 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 Plugin

Log into your WordPress dashboard and in the main menu select Plugins > Add New …

WP Plugin Install

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

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

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

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

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

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

When you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

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

to do lists plugin Cleverness - To-Do List

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ section …

Cleverness to do lists - To-Do List Settings Tab

Let’s set up the plugin …

How To Set Up The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The plugin’s ‘Settings’ area is divided into 4 tabs:

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

Let’s now review each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

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


Choose ‘Enabled’ to organize your to-do 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 …

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Categories Section

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

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

List View

List View lets you specify how to-do lists will be viewed. You can choose from three types of to do list views:

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

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

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option lets you display which of your members has added an item to your to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

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

Show Deadline

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

WP plugin to do list - To-Do List Deadline

Show Progress

If enabled (‘Yes’), you will be able to specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

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

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do lists - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

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

Use Auto Paragraphs

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

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 developer that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner

For more information about using this WordPress plugin, visit this site: WordPress Post Planner

When you have finished configuring your plugin options, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

WP save changes

Advanced Settings

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

WordPress to-do lists plugin - Advanced Settings

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

to-do list Cleverness - Advanced Settings

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

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

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

In this section you can customize your To Do List …

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

The following options can be configured in this section:

Date Format

In this area you can 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 date section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

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

Cleverness to do list - Priority Labeling

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Priority column

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled, item IDs appear on your to-do list …

Cleverness plugin to-do list - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

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

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

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to assign tasks to other users …

Cleverness to-do list - 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 displays to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this section (Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, Subscriber) displays the type of users that can be assigned to-do 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 (‘Yes’), WordPress automatically sends an email to users with their assigned to-do items …

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

If you don’t want emails sent out to users, then leave this option disabled (‘No’).

Note: If you disable this option, 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 …

WP plugin to do lists - Add Category to Email Subject

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

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

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 - 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 email notices. Add the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

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

From Email

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do Item Email From Field

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

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

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

This is useful if, for example, you see that old items are still showing on your site.

You can perform the following tasks in this section:

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


Any actions that you perform on the database from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are comfortable to carry out database operations in this section, then make sure to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to back up your data manually, then consider getting assistance from a WordPress professional, or use a backup plugin. Learn about a great WordPress backup plugin that can fully automate your backup process here:

User Permissions

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

WordPress plugin to-do lists - User Permissions Tab

Important Info

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

WP to do list plugin - User Permissions Tab - View To-Do-List drop-down menu

If you plan to set up user permissions and capabilities for Group or Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you want users to perform for each option …

Cleverness plugin to do lists - User Permissions Settings - View To Do-List drop-down menu

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

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

Note: When using the Master list type non-admin users should only be permitted to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness to do lists plugin - User Permissions

Here is a description of the settings in this section:

View To-Do List

This setting enables 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 enable the chosen capability to mark items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option permits the selected capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the selected capability to modify existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the chosen capability to assign items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can permit 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 allow the selected capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can allow the chosen capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

Here you can enable the selected 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 store your list data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Import/Export Settings

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a new window allowing you to download and save your data as plain text to an internal or external storage device …

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

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

Export Menu

You can include to-do list data in an export file (in XML format), either by selecting ‘All content’ (includes everything – pages, posts, 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 an internal or external hard drive…

WordPress Menu Tools > Export - To-Do

Importing To-Do List Data

To import a previously saved to-do list data file, click on the ‘Browse’ button next to the ‘Choose File to Import’ field …

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings - Import To Do Data 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 to-do lists.

Plugin Usage

To create a new to do list, log into your WordPress admin, then scroll down the menu and click on To-Do List > To-Do List

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

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

Cleverness to-do lists - To-Do List page

Adding New To Do Items To Your List

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

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

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

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

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

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, since the link is only going to send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the screen) …

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

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

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

Set up 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 WP to-do list - Adding A New Item To Your List

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

Cleverness - Assign To Do Items to Users

You can also assign items to multiple users (click on ‘x’ to delete a user) …

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

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

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

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

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

Edit And Delete To-Do Items From Your List

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

Edit And Remove 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

Once you have created your to do list, users can view it when logged into their own user dashboard …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - View To Do List

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin provides additional functions that let you display to-do lists on your WordPress website using widgets, and add lists to content inside a page or post using shortcodes.

Using The Cleverness To-Do List 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 location in your sidebar (or footer) menu where you want the to-do list to display …

Cleverness plugin - Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Widgets

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

You can also display to-do lists to your site with shortcodes.

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

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness - Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

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

Plugin Shortcodes

This section explains different ways to configure and use short codes to display lists and checklists on your pages and posts.

Once you know what information you want to display on your site, create or edit a new or existing post or page and either type or paste the short code inside the content section …

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Short Codes

Publish your post or page and you will see the list displayed in the location where you have added the shortcode …


Visit the plugin website here for more information about this plugin:

Congratulations! Now you can create and add a to-do list to your WordPress site.


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