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 are running a fast-paced business, time always seems to be in short supply.

There are just so many things to do and remember. You have 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 amount of things that need ”doing” never stops.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and maintaining your website updated with regular content and everything can suddenly begin to feel unmanageable and out of control.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a team, it’s important to be able to organize and manage your daily tasks.

One ”tried and true” method 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 helps you monitor your progress as you to get projects completed. Your to do list can be minutely detailed or specific, or just serve as a concise reminder of what needs to be done over a given period of time.

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

Free Up Resources

Creating to do lists means you don’t have to try and remember things or store a ton of information inside your mind. Once tasks are recorded on a to do list, your head is free to process information and you can focus on more important things.

Better Manage Your Time

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time and manage your workload more effectively. You can develop a clearer perspective on what is truly important vs what isn’t, and what tasks should be done first.

Keep Documented Work Logs

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

Eliminate Stress

Stress can result from feeling overwhelmed by the thought that there is so much that needs doing and so very little time to do it in. Using a to do list lets you prioritize important items that have to be completed immediately, and push out non-urgent items that can be worked on at a later time. This can help reduce stress.

Sense Of Accomplishment

Crossing items off to do lists gives you a sense of accomplishment and allows you to stress less, as you can objectively see (or show) that the workload is being completed and that things are moving forward.

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 systematically and your business efficiency and productivity will surely increase.

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

In this detailed tutorial you are going to learn how to easily create to-do lists in WordPress to help your team get things done  faster and more efficiently using a customizable, multi-featured to-do list WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

to-do list Cleverness

Download The Plugin

Plugin Description

This WordPress plugin lets you easily add to-do lists to a WP website or blog.


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

You can set up Cleverness To-Do List with private to-do lists for individual users, to have all users share the same to-do list, or to have a master list with individual item completions.

The shared to do list 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 user) and optionally to have assigned items be viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users based on user roles. There are also settings available to display deadline and progress fields. Category support is included as well as front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the admin backend to help you manage your lists and your to-do lists are also listed on a dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as shortcode 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 set up a multi-author blog you can use the to-do lists plugin to create custom to do lists for your post editors if you also use a copy of the Post Planner plugin.

How To Install The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Log into your WordPress dashboard scroll down the main menu select Plugins > Add New …

WP Plugin Menu

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin after installing it …

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

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

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

After you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

Note: You can also get to the ‘Settings’ screen by selecting To-Do List > Settings from the admin menu …

Cleverness to do list plugin - To-Do List Menu

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ section …

to-do lists Cleverness - To Do List Settings Tab

Let’s configure the plugin …

Setting Up The Plugin

The Settings screen is divided into 4 sections:

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

Let’s go through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

to do list plugin - To-Do List Settings Tab

To-Do List Categories

Select ‘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 will be added to the To-Do List plugin menu …

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List Categories Section

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

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

List View

List View lets you specify how your lists are viewed. There are three list views you can choose:

  • Individual – Choosing this option lets each user create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Use this option if you want all users to be able 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 select the ‘Master’ list view, make sure that you set the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

Cleverness to do list - To Do List Settings Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display which members have 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 (‘Yes’), completion dates will display for your to-do items.

Show Deadline

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

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

Show Progress

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

Cleverness to-do lists - To-Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

plugin to do list - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option to display content in to-do lists using paragraphs.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you are running 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 helps to make the process of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner

Visit this site to learn more this plugin: WordPress Post Planner – Plugin For WordPress

Once you have finished configuring your plugin options in this section, click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

WP button - save changes

Advanced Settings

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

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

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

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

This area lets you customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do items to users and carry out 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 …

Cleverness plugin to do lists WP - To-Do List Advanced Settings - Customize To Do List Settings

The following options can be configured in this section:

Date Format

Here you can 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, refer to the relevant 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 low priority items …

to do list plugin Cleverness - Priority Labels

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

Cleverness to do list - colour-coding priorities

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled (‘Yes’), the items’ IDs appear on the list …

Cleverness to-do list - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If enabled, the date the to-do list was added shows up on your table of items …

Cleverness to-do list - Date Added column

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 settings in this section and assign items to other users …

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

You can configure the following options in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you assign to-do items to other users …

WordPress plugin 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

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays tasks only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled (‘No’) displays items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this area Author displays 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 check box unticked.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

When this option is enabled, WordPress automatically sends users an email with their assigned to-do items …

plugin to do lists Cleverness - 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 this option is disabled, skip other items in this section.

Add Category to Subject

If you have enabled categories in your plugin settings and select ‘Yes’ for this option, the to-do category will display on the subject of your emails …

Cleverness plugin - Add Category to Email Subject

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want to display categories in the subject of your emails.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enabling this option lets you display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This is a useful option if your site has 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 email notices to users. Add the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

Cleverness - To Do Item Email From Field

From Email

Enter the email address that you want showing as the “sent from” email address …

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Type in a subject field for the email that will be automatically sent to users whenever new items have been assigned to your to-do list …

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

Enter the body of the email message that will be sent out automatically to users when a new item has been assigned to your to-do list.

Cleverness to do list - To-Do Item Email Text Field

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can perform database maintenance operations associated with plugin data inside your plugin settings area without having to access your server …

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

This function is useful if, for example, you notice that old items are still appearing on your site.

The tasks below can be performed in this section:

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


Any actions that you perform on the database from this screen cannot be undone. If you are sure that you want to proceed with any of the database operations available in this section, then remember to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to back up your files manually, then consider getting support services from a WordPress professional, or use a WordPress backup plugin. Learn about a great WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to completely automate your backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness plugin WP to do list - User Permissions Tab

Important Info

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

to do lists Cleverness - User Permissions - 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 would like users to be able to perform for each option …

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions Settings - View To Do-List

By 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 non-administrators should only be authorized to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions Tab

Let’s now review the settings for this tab:

View To-Do List

This permits 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 enables the chosen capability to mark to-do items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

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

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This option enables the chosen capability to edit existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This option enables the selected capability to delegate items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can permit 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 option allows the chosen capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

This option permits the selected capability to add new categories.


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be very useful. For example, you may need to transfer data from one website to another, or store your data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

WordPress to do lists plugin - Import/Export Settings

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

Cleverness to do lists - Import/Export Settings Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

to-do list plugin - Import/Export Settings Tab - Import/Export Settings Section - Download Export File

This will open up a new window allowing you to download and save the data in a plain text file (e.g. Notepad) to an internal or external hard drive …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Import/Export Settings - Export Settings

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

WordPress Tools > 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 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 storage medium…

Export WP Menu - To Do Data

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

Locate the previously saved to-do list data file and click ‘Open’ …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Import/Export - Import/Export Settings Section - Import File

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

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

Your file will be imported.

Now that you have configured all of the plugin settings, you are ready to start create and edit your to-do lists.

How To Use Cleverness To-Do List

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

WP to do lists plugin - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List screen

Add New To Do Items

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

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

to do lists Cleverness - Adding New To-Do Items

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Add New To Do Items 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 already contains many items, since the link is only going to take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the screen) …

WordPress to-do lists plugin - Adding New To Do Items

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

Depending on how you have configured the plugin settings, you may or may not see certain options displayed when when you add 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 new to-do item …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Repeat this process to keep adding items to your list …

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

Edit And Delete Items From Your List

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

Edit And Remove To Do Items From Your List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

plugin to do list - Completed To Do Item

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin offers added functionality that lets you display a to-do list on your website using widgets, and add lists to content inside a post or page using shortcodes.


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 location in your sidebar (or footer) menu where you would like your to-do list to show …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do list - Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness - Widgets

The list will now display on your site where you have inserted the ‘to-do-list’ widget (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness plugin - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

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

Short Codes

Cleverness To-Do List also lets you display to-do lists and checklists to your site by inserting shortcodes into your content.

To access the documentation on using short codes, click on To-Do List > To-Do List from your dashboard menu …

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

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

Cleverness - Plugin Short Codes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

The documentation section explains various ways to configure and use shortcodes for displaying lists and checklists on your content.

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

After publishing your page or post, you will see the list showing exactly where you have inserted the short code …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

Visit this site 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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