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 Plugin Tutorials - How To Create A To-Do List In WordPressIf you plan to run a growing business, time always seems to be in short supply.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have clients to meet, projects to complete, meetings to attend, fires to put out, calls and appointments to make, commitments to keep and so on. The amount of things that need to get done never seems to end.

Now … add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and maintaining your website updated with fresh content and everything suddenly begins to feel unmanageable and chaotic.

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

A simple proven tool that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability, 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 as you work towards completing tasks. Your to do list can be quite detailed and very specific, or act as a concise reminder of tasks that need to be done today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc.

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

To Do Lists Create Order

To-do lists help you create order, keep things organized and achieve goals faster.

Better Time Management

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

Document Your Work

A to do list allows you to retain documented logs of what has been done. You can use this as evidence of work done to clients or employers, or just as a means of helping you track your own productivity and efficiency.

Stress Less

Stress can result from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and so little time to do it all in. Using to-do lists let you work on urgent items that need to be completed immediately, and reschedule non-urgent items that can be worked on at a later time. This can reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and help to relieve some of the stress you may be feeling.

Improved Collaboration

Using 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. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work in a systematic way and your business efficiency and productivity will surely improve.

What about adding to do lists to your website?

In this tutorial we are going to show you how to create a to do list in WordPress to improve business efficiency and productivity using a great little plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness plugin to do list

Plugin URL


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

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 the plugin to assign 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 has a variety of settings available. You can assign to do items to specific users (this includes a setting to email new to do items to the assigned user) and optionally to have those items only viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels using capabilities. There are also settings available to display 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 your to do lists 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 blog. There are two short codes for front-end list administration. Category management is accessed through 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 the Post Planner plugin for WordPress from the same developer.

How To Install The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

In your site’s admin section, scroll down the menu and click on Plugins > Add New

WP Plugins

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin …

Cleverness - Cleverness plugin - Activate Cleverness To-Do List

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

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

When the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List > Settings

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ section …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - To Do List Settings

Let’s set up the plugin …

Setting Up The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The Settings screen is divided into four tabs:

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

Let’s now take you through each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - 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 gets added to the To-Do List plugin menu …

WordPress plugin to do lists - To Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Categories Section

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

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

List View

List View lets you specify how lists are viewed. There are 3 kinds of list views:

  • Individual – Selecting this option allows each user to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Choosing this option lets all users share the same to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you to have one 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 plugin to-do list - To Do List Settings Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

If enabled, you can display which users on your site have added an item to your 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 items.

Show Deadline

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

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

Show Progress

If this option is enabled, you will be able to specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

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

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

Cleverness - 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 are running a multi-author website 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 - Plugin For WordPress

To learn more about using this plugin, go here: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Multi-Author Publishing Plugin

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

WordPress button - save changes

Advanced Settings

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

to-do list Cleverness - Advanced Settings Tab

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

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

This section lets you 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’ screen lets you customize your To Do List …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do lists - To Do List Advanced Settings - 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 on your to-do list (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about how to format dates in WordPress, visit the relevant section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

Here you can customize the labels for highest, middle (normal) and lowest priority items …

WordPress to do lists plugin - Priority drop-down menu

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - color-coded priorities

Show To-Do Item ID

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do lists - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If enabled, the date the to-do list was added appears on the items table …

Cleverness to-do list plugin - Date Added

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 area and assign items to other users …

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

You can configure the following settings in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you assign tasks to other users …

to-do lists 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

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

User Roles to Show

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

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

If you enable this option, WordPress will automatically send users an email 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 emails sent out to users.

Note: If you disable this option, you can skip other settings 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 in the subject of emails sent to users …

Cleverness - Add Category to Subject

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

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want categories to display 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 plugin - To-Do Item Email From Field

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

From Email

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

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

In this field, 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 lists - Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this section you can perform database maintenance operations associated with plugin data directly from your plugin settings area …

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Clean up Database

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

You can perform the tasks below:

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


Any database operations you perform from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are sure that you want to carry out database operations in this section, then remember to backup your WordPress database first.

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

User Permissions

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do lists - User Permissions Settings Tab

Useful Info

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

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

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

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

The default general capabilities for each user role are as follows:

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

Note: When working with the Master list type make sure that you only allow 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 Settings Tab

Let’s review the settings for this section:

View To-Do List

Here you can permit the selected capability to view to-do items in the dashboard widget and on the To-Do List page under the ‘Tools’ section.

Complete To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the chosen capability to mark items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option permits the chosen capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

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

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This setting enables the chosen capability to delegate items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can enable 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

This setting enables the chosen capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

This setting permits the chosen capability to add new categories.


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may want to copy over data from an existing list to another website, or store your list data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Import/Export Tab

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

to do lists plugin - Import/Export Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This opens up a window allowing you to view or download the data as plain text to an internal or external hard drive …

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

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

Tools > Export WordPress

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

Tools > Export WP - Export To-Do

Importing To-Do List Data

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

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

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

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

After your data file has been uploaded to your settings area, click on ‘Import Settings’ …

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

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

Once you have configured all of the plugin settings, you can begin create and edit to-do lists.

How To Use The Plugin

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

WordPress to-do lists plugin - To-Do List Menu

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

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

How To Add New To-Do Items To Your List

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

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

to do lists Cleverness - Add New To Do Items

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

Cleverness plugin WP to do list - Adding A New Item To Your 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 contains many items, as the link is only going to send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the page) …

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

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

Depending on how you have configured your plugin’s settings, some options may not display when new items to your to-do list.

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

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

Note: If you have selected 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 …

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

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

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

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

Cleverness to do lists - Adding New To Do Items

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

Cleverness plugin - Add New To Do Items

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 …

Editing And Deleting Items

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

Cleverness plugin - Assigned To Do Items Email

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

to do list plugin - View To Do List

When users responsible for the item complete the task and tick the item check box …

Cleverness - Complete To Do List Item

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

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

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

to do list Cleverness - Completed To Do List Item

Additional Information

The Cleverness plugin offers added functionality that lets you display a to-do list on your WordPress site using widgets, and add a list to any post or page using shortcodes.

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 location in your sidebar menu where you want your to-do list to show …

plugin to-do list Cleverness - Widgets

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

Cleverness - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

Your to-do list will appear where you have placed the widget (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness plugin to do list - Plugin Widget

To learn more about using WordPress widgets, see the tutorial below:

Using Plugin Short Codes

You can also add lists on your site by placing shortcodes into your content.

To access the documentation on using short codes, select To-Do List > To-Do List from the WP admin menu …

to do list Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

to do lists Cleverness - Plugin Shortcodes

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

Short Codes

This documentation 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 would like to add to your site, create a new post or page and either type or paste the short code inside the content section …


Publish your page or post and you will see the list showing in the location where you have inserted the short code …

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Short Codes

Go here for more information about this plugin:

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


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