How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

How To Create A To-Do List In WordPress

WordPress Plugin Tutorials - How To Create A To Do List In WordPressTime always seems to be in short supply, especially if you run a hectic business.

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

Now … add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website updated with regular content and everything can start to become 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 day.

A ”tried and true” tool that can help you save time, reduce stress, and allow you to regain control is to use “to do” lists.

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to do” list helps you measure your progress when trying to complete projects. Your to-do list can be quite detailed and very specific, or serve as a reminder of the things that need doing today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

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

Keep Things Organized

A to do list helps you create order, stay organized and achieve your goals faster.

Better Strategic Planning

By creating and organizing a to-do list, you can break down your workload into more doable tasks and come up with a strategy for getting everything done on time and on budget.

Quickly Reorganize And Reschedule

Having a to-do list helps you better handle sudden and unexpected situations. If an appointment gets cancelled or extra time becomes available when something gets completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reschedule and keep moving forward with little to no loss of focus.


With no accountability there is no commitment to completion, and no motivation to take meaningful action. Lack of accountability can also let excuses creep in and impact your productivity.

Sense Of Accomplishment

Ticking items off to do lists not only makes you feel more productive, motivated and in-control, it also lets you stress less, as you can objectively see (or show) that work is indeed getting done and that progress is being made.

As you can see, there are many benefits to using a to do list, both in business and in your personal life. Creating a to do list, prioritizing tasks and working in a systematic way increases efficiency and productivity in your business.

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 create to do lists in WordPress to improve business efficiency and productivity using a great little WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

Cleverness plugin to-do list

Download The Plugin

Plugin Description

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


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

You can configure 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 option offers different settings. You can assign to do items to specific users (this includes emailing new to-do items to the assigned user) and optionally to have assigned items be seen 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 included as well in the front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the backend to help you manage your lists and your to do lists are also listed on a 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. Management of categories is restricted to the back-end.

If you plan to set up a multi-author site you can use the plugin to create custom to-do lists for your post planners if you also download the Post Planner plugin for WordPress.

Plugin Installation

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

Install WP Plugin

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

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

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

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

Note: You can also activate the plugin in the Plugins section …

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

When you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

plugin to do lists - to-do lists 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 plugin WP - To-Do List > Settings Menu

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ screen …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Settings

Let’s set up the plugin …

Plugin Setup

The Settings screen is divided into 4 sections:

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

Let’s take you through each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

to-do list plugin Cleverness - 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: When you enable this option, a ‘Categories’ item is added to the To-Do List plugin menu …

to do lists Cleverness - To Do List Menu

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

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

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

Categories set to ‘private’ will not be visible when 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 to-do lists are viewed. There are 3 to do list views you can select:

  • Individual – Choose this option if you want each user to be able to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Choosing this option lets users share one to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you to have a master list for all users, where users have their own individual completion of items. If you choose the ‘Master’ list view, make sure to set the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

to do list Cleverness - To Do List Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

If enabled, you can display which of your members has added an item to your to-do list.

Note: This setting only works if ‘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

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can specify deadlines for your to-do items …

Cleverness to-do list - To-Do List Deadline

Show Progress

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

to do list Cleverness - To Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

plugin to do list - 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 to-do lists plugin WP - 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 collaborative website or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To-Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, developed by the same plugin author that helps to make the process of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - Plugin For WordPress

Go here to learn more this handy plugin: WordPress Post Planner

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

WP button save changes

Advanced Settings

Once you have configured the general settings, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to proceed …

WP plugin to do list - Advanced Settings Tab

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

Cleverness plugin - Advanced Settings Tab

This tab lets you customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do tasks to other users and carry out plugin database maintenance.

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

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

This section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab allows you to customize your To Do List …

Cleverness plugin - 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 lists (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

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

WordPress plugin to-do lists - Priority section

Items prioritized as “important” are colour-coded in red in your lists and lowest priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - color-coding priorities

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled, the items’ IDs will show on the list …

Cleverness plugin WP - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

to do list plugin Cleverness - sort by date

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 …

Cleverness to-do lists 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 …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin WordPress - 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’) lets you display to-do items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leave this option disabled to display items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this section (Administrator displays the type of users that can be assigned items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a role, then don’t tick its checkbox.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

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

If you don’t want to send out emails to users, then leave this option disabled.

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

Cleverness to do list plugin WP - Add Category to Email Subject

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

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

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This option is useful if, for example, your website has various project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

This field lets you customize the “From” field when sending out email notifications. Type the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

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

From Email

Type into this field the email address that you would like to display 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 distributed to users when new items have been added in your to-do list …

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

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 - Show Who Assigned the To Do Item in Email

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This area of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab lets you perform database maintenance operations related to plugin data inside the plugin settings area …

plugin to-do lists Cleverness - To Do List Advanced Settings > Database maintenance

This is useful if, for example, you notice that todo items you have previously deleted are still listed 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 database operations you perform 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 WordPress database first.

If you don’t want to back up your site yourself, then consider getting support from a WordPress professional, or use backup plugins. Learn about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to perform complete backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness to do list - User Permissions Settings Tab

Important Info

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions Settings

Let’s review the settings for the User Permissions tab:

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

Here you can permit the selected capability to mark to-do items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This setting permits the selected capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

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

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This allows the selected capability to delegate to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can allow 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 selected capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

This allows the selected capability to purge all the completed items.

Add Categories Capability

This option allows the selected capability to add new categories.


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

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

to do lists plugin - Import/Export Tab

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

Cleverness to do list plugin - Import/Export Settings Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

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

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

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

WordPress Export Menu

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 the ‘Download Export File’ button to save your file to an internal or external hard drive…

Tools > 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 - Import/Export Settings - Import/Export Settings - Import To-Do File

Select the previously saved to-do list data file in your hard drive or external drive and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

Your file data will be imported.

Now that you have configured all plugin settings, you are ready to begin create and edit 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

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

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

Cleverness - To-Do List screen

How To Add New To Do Items

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Add New To Do Items

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 WordPress to do list plugin - 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 contains many items, as the link is only going to take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the page) …

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

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

Depending on how you have set up your plugin, you may or may not see certain options displayed when new items to your to-do list.

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

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

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

Cleverness 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 delete a user) …

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

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

Cleverness to-do list - Adding A New Item To Your List

Repeat this process to continue adding new items to your list …

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

Editing And Deleting Items

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

Edit And Remove Items From Your List

Depending on your plugin configuration settings (see previous section), users assigned to tasks may also receive email notifications …

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

After creating your to-do list, users can view it inside their user dashboard …

Cleverness plugin - View To Do List

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

to-do lists plugin - Complete To Do List Item

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

WordPress plugin to do list - Complete To-Do Item

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

to do list Cleverness - Completed To Do List Items User Dashboard

Additional Plugin Information

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


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 the list to display …

Cleverness - Plugin Widget

Configure the settings in the widget and click ’Save’ …

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

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

plugin to-do list - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

Using Plugin Short Codes

The plugin also lets you create to-do lists and checklists on your site using shortcodes.

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

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

Plugin Shortcodes

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

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

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Shortcodes

Publish your post or page and you will see the list displayed exactly where you have inserted the short code …

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Short Codes

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

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


"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)


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