How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

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How To Create To Do Lists In WordPress

WordPress Plugin Tutorials - Creating To-Do Lists In WordPressTime always seems to be in short supply, especially if you are running a growing business.

There are 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, schedules to keep and so on. The stress of trying to get things done on time never ends.

Now … add the extra dimension of trying to promote and grow your business online and maintaining your website or blog updated with fresh content and everything can start to become unmanageable and out of control.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a project, you need to be able to organize and prioritize your daily activities, monitor your progress, and, if necessary, assign tasks to others efficiently.

A simple proven method 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.

To Do Lists – Benefits

A “to-do” list helps you track your progress as you work towards your objectives. Your to do list can be quite detailed and specific, or act as a concise reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc.

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

Free Up Resources

Writing to-do lists means that you won’t have to keep remembering things or clutter your brain with details. Once things 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

Creating and organizing to-do lists helps you view the bigger picture and create a strategic plan for getting things done on budget and on time.

Keep Documented Work Logs

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

Stress Less

Stress can result from feeling overwhelmed by the fact that there are so many things that needs doing and very little time to do it in. Creating a to do list allows you to prioritize urgent items that have to get done within the time you have available, and reschedule non-urgent tasks that can be addressed later. This can help you stress less.

Improved Collaboration

Creating 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. Creating to-do lists, prioritizing tasks and working in a systematic way improves efficiency and productivity in your business.

Let’s turn now to using a to do list on your website or blog. More specifically, how to add a to do list to WordPress.

In this detailed step-by-step tutorial you are going to learn how to create a to do list in WordPress to help your team get things done  faster and more efficiently using a great little plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness plugin WP

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin


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

Plugin Features

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

You can configure Cleverness To Do List 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 option provides a number of different settings. You can assign to do items to specific users (this includes emailing new to-do items to users) and optionally to have assigned items be viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. There are also settings to show 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 manage your lists and the to do lists can also appear on the dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as shortcode to display the to do list items on your blog. There are 2 short codes for front-end administration of the list. Management of categories is accessed via the back-end admin section.

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 planners if you also download a copy of the developer’s premium plugin, Post Planner.

How To Install The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

From your site’s dashboard, scroll down the main menu and select Plugins > Add New

WordPress Plugin

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

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

Locate the Cleverness To-Do List entry in the Search Results section and click Install Now

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

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

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

After you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

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

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - To-Do List

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ page …

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

Let’s configure the plugin …

Setting Up The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The Settings area is divided into four tabs:

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

Let’s now go through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Settings Tab


Select ‘Enabled’ to organize 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 …

Cleverness plugin - To Do List Menu

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

WP to-do lists plugin - To Do List Categories > Add New Category

You can set up ‘public’ and ‘private’ categories for your to-do 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 allows you to specify how your lists are viewed. You can choose from three types of to-do list views:

  • Individual – Select 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 the same to-do list.
  • Master – Select this option to create a master list for all users, where users have their own individual items to complete. If you select the ‘Master’ list view, make sure to adjust the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

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

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

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

Show Added By

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can display which members on your site have added an item to your to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

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

Show Deadline

If enabled, you can specify deadlines for to-do items …

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

Show Progress

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness plugin - To Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays the ‘To-Do List’ menu in your WP Admin bar

to-do lists Cleverness - 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

Cleverness plugin to-do list - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

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

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, from the same plugin developer to help make the process of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner

Visit this site to learn more this handy plugin: WordPress Post Planner

When you are done configuring your options, click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

WordPress button save changes

Advanced Settings

After configuring the settings in the To-Do List Settings tab, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to proceed …

WordPress to-do lists plugin - Advanced Settings

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

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

In this tab you can customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do items to users and carry out plugin 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

Here you can customize your To Do List …

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

You can configure the following options in this section:

Date Format

In this section you can specify how to display dates on your todo lists (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

This section lets you customize your labels for prioritizing highest (important), normal and low items …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - Priority section

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

plugin to-do lists - color-coding priority

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled (‘Yes’), item IDs display on your to-do list …

Cleverness to do lists - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) will display the date the items table was added …

Cleverness to-do list - Date Added

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Assign To-Do Items Settings

The following options can be configured in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

If enabled, you can assign to-do items 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 tasks only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leave this option disabled (‘No’) to display items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this area (Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, Subscriber) to display the type of users that can be assigned to-do items. Leave the checkbox unticked for any roles that you don’t want to assign to-do items.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

When you enable this option, WordPress will automatically send an email to users with their assigned to-do items …

to do list Cleverness - 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, you can skip the remaining 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 on the subject of your emails …

Cleverness plugin WP - Add Category to Email 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 to display categories in the email subject.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enabling this option displays the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This option is useful if, for example, your site has several project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

This field lets you customize the “From” field when sending out emails to users. Type your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

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

From Email

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

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

In this field, type 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 - To Do Item Email Text Field

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

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

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

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

You can perform the tasks below in this section:

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


Actions that you perform on the database from this screen cannot be undone. If you are comfortable to proceed with any of the database operations available in this section, then make sure to backup your WordPress database first.

If you don’t want to back up your site yourself, then get help from a WordPress professional, or use backup plugins. Learn about a WordPress backup plugin that can automate your site backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - User Permissions Settings

Useful Information

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions - View To-Do-List drop-down menu

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 working with the Master list type make sure that you only permit non-administrators to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list itself.

WordPress to-do list plugin - User Permissions Settings

Let’s review the settings in the User Permissions section:

View To-Do List

This option 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 option enables the selected capability to mark items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

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

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This enables the selected capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

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

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

This setting permits the selected capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

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


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may decide to transfer 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 section …

Cleverness plugin WP - Import/Export Settings

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

WordPress to-do list plugin - Import/Export Settings

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a window allowing you to download and save the data in plain text format to an internal or external storage device …

Cleverness plugin WP - Import/Export Tab - Export Settings

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

Tools > Export WP Menu

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 download your file to your storage device…

Export WP Menu - 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 plugin to do list - Import/Export Settings - Import/Export Settings Section - Import To-Do File

Locate 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 File

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

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

Your file will be imported.

Once you have configured all plugin settings, you can begin creating and editing to-do lists.

Plugin Usage

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List page

Adding New To-Do Items To Your List

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list - Adding A New Item To Your To Do 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, as the link will simply take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the screen) …

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

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

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

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

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

Note: If you have chosen a list type that allows you to assign tasks to 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 make multiple users responsible for the same item (click on ‘x’ to delete users) …

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

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

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

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

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

Editing And Deleting 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 Delete Items

Depending on how you have configured the plugin (discussed earlier), users assigned to completing tasks may also receive email notifications …

Cleverness - Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

Once you have created your to do list, users can view the list inside their own WordPress user dashboard …

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

When users assigned with an item complete the task and click on the item checkbox …

Cleverness plugin - Complete To Do List Item

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

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

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

Cleverness - Completed To-Do Item

Additional Information

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

Using The Cleverness 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 menu location where you want your list to display …

to do list Cleverness - Plugin Widget

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

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

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

Cleverness - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

You can also add lists on your site with shortcodes.

To access the plugin’s short code documentation, click on To-Do List > To-Do List from your admin menu …

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

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

Cleverness - Plugin Shortcodes

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

Plugin Shortcodes

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

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 area …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

Publish your page or post and you should see the list displayed where you entered the shortcode …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

Go here to download this plugin:

Congratulations! Now you know how to add to-do lists in WordPress.


"I was absolutely amazed at the scope and breadth of these tutorials! The most in-depth training I have ever received on any subject!" - Myke O'Neill,