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

WP Plugin Tutorials - How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPressThere are never enough hours in the day to get things done, especially when you run a fast-paced business.

There are just so many things to do and remember. You have deadlines to meet, tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to put out, calls and appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The amount of things that need ”doing” never ends.

Now … add the extra dimension of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website updated with fresh content and everything can start to become unmanageable and overwhelming.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a team, you need to be able to organize and manage your day.

One ”tried and true” method that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability, and allow you to take control is to use “to-do” lists.

The Benefits Of Using To Do Lists

A “to do” list can help you track your progress as you work towards a certain goal. Your to do list can be very detailed and very specific, or act as a concise reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

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

Stay Organized

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

Be More Strategic

Creating and organizing to do lists helps you see the larger picture and come up with a strategy for getting everything done effectively.

Reorganize Quickly

Having a to-do list helps you better deal with events. If you suddenly find that a meeting has been cancelled at short notice or extra time becomes available when some task gets completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reorganize and reschedule and continue moving forward without loss of focus.

Stress Less

Stress can result from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and very little time to do it in. Using a to do list lets you work on important items that have to get done within the time you have available, and reschedule non-urgent items that can be addressed later. This can help reduce stress.

Feeling Of Accomplishment

Crossing items off a to do list gives you a feeling of accomplishment and allows you to relax more, as you can objectively see (or show) that the workload is being completed and that progress is being made.

As you can see, there are many benefits to using to do lists, both in business and in your personal life. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work towards completing the tasks on your list and productivity and efficiency in your business is sure to improve.

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

In this step-by-step tutorial we are going to show you 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

to do list plugin Cleverness

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Download URL


This plugin provides users with a to do list feature.


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

You can set up Cleverness To-Do List to assign 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 provides different settings. You can delegate to-do items to specific users (this includes emailing a new to do item to users) 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 enable the display of deadline and progress fields. Category support is included as well in the front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the admin backend to manage your list and the to-do lists can also display 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 two short codes for front-end administration of the list. Management of categories is accessed via the back-end.

If you plan to run a multi-author site you can use this plugin to create custom to do lists for your post planners if you also install a copy of the developer’s premium plugin, Post Planner.

Installing The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Inside your WP dashboard, go to the main menu and choose Plugins > Add New

WP Plugin Add New

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

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

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

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

Note: You can also activate the plugin from the Plugins area …

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

Once the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List > Settings Menu

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ page …

Cleverness plugin - To Do List Settings Tab

The section below shows you how to set up the plugin …

Configuring The Plugin

The “To-Do List” plugin ‘Settings’ area is divided into four tabs:

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

Let’s configure each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

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

To-Do List Categories

Choose ‘Enabled’ to organize lists into categories, otherwise leave this option set to ‘Disabled’.

Note: If you enable this option, a ‘Categories’ item is added to the To-Do List menu …

plugin to-do list - To Do List Categories

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 to do lists - 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 when using widgets or short codes (only when ‘Sort Order’ is set to ‘Category’)

List View

List View lets you choose how your lists are viewed. There are three types of list views available:

  • Individual – Selecting 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 one to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you to create a master list for all users, where users have their own individual completion of items. If you select the ‘Master’ list view, make sure that you set the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

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

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

Show Date Completed

Enabling this option displays completion dates for to-do items.

Show Deadline

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

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

Show Progress

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

WP plugin to do list - 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

WordPress plugin to do list - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display content in to-do list items using paragraphs.

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 helps to make the task of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - Multi-Author Publishing Plugin For WordPress

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

After you have configured your plugin options in this section, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

WordPress save changes

Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness - Advanced Settings

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

to do list plugin Cleverness - Advanced Settings

In this section you can customize your To Do lists, assign to-do tasks to other users and carry out plugin 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

Here you can customize your To-Do List …

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

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Date Format

In this area you can 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, refer to 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), middle and lowest (low) items …

Cleverness - Priority section

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

Cleverness plugin WP - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled, the item’s ID display on the to-do list …

to-do lists plugin Cleverness - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option shows the date your items table was added …

Cleverness to-do lists - 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 settings in this section and assign to-do items to other users …

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

The following options can be configured in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

If enabled, you can assign tasks to other users …

WordPress to do list plugin - 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

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

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this area Editor to display the type of users that can be assigned todo items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a particular 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 - Assigned To Do Items Email

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

Note: If this option is disabled, skip the 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 - Add Category to Email Subject

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

If you don’t want to-do categories to show the subject of your emails, then leave this option disabled.

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 WP plugin to-do list - 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. Type the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

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

From Email

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

WP to do list plugin - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness plugin - To Do Item Email Text Field

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can carry out database maintenance operations associated with plugin data directly from your plugin settings area without having to log into your web server …

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

This function is useful if, for example, you notice that to-do items you have already deleted are still displaying on your site.

The tasks below can be performed:

  • Delete Tables – Remove any custom database tables that you no longer use.
  • Delete All To-Do Items – Remove all of your to-do items.


Any database operations performed from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are comfortable to proceed with any of the database operations available in this section, then make sure to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to perform manual backups, then get professional WordPress support services, or use backup plugins. Learn about a great WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to perform automated site backups here:

User Permissions

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

plugin to do lists Cleverness - User Permissions Settings

Useful Info

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

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

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 perform for each option …

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

By default, general capabilities of each user role are configured 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-administrators should only be allowed to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list.

Cleverness - User Permissions Settings

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

View To-Do List

This setting allows the chosen 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 chosen capability to mark to-do items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

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

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the selected capability to edit existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the selected capability to delegate 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 setting allows the chosen capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

This setting allows the chosen capability to add new categories.


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

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

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - Import/Export Tab

Here you can export and import your to-do list data and plugin settings …

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Settings Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

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

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

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

Tools > Export Menu

You can include to-do list data in an 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 save your file to an internal or external hard drive…

WordPress Menu Tools > Export - To Do Data

Importing To-Do List Data

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once you have configured all plugin settings, you are ready to start create and edit your lists.

How To Use Cleverness To-Do List

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

Cleverness to do list - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List page

Adding New Items To Your List

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

For example, you can add a new item to your to-do list from your WP admin bar …

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

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

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

You can click on the ‘Add New Item’ link in the ‘To-Do Items’ section (note: only use this option if your To Do list contains many items, as the link will simply send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the page) …

Cleverness plugin to do lists - Adding New To Do Items

The above methods will take 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.

Set up 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 item to your list …

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

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

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

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

Repeat this process to keep adding new items to your to-do list …

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

Editing And Deleting To-Do Items From Your List

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

Edit And Delete Items

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - View To-Do List

When the user assigned with an item completes the task and ticks the item check box …

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

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

to do lists plugin Cleverness - Complete To Do List Items User Dashboard

And appears in the ‘Completed Items’ section located in the ’To-Do List’ screen …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - Complete To-Do List 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 a list to any page or post using shortcodes.

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

To add a to-do list to your site using widgets, go to the ‘Widgets’ section (Appearance > Widgets) and drag the ‘To-Do List’ widget to the menu location where you want the list to display …

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

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

plugin to-do lists Cleverness - Widgets

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

WordPress plugin to-do list - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

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

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

to do lists plugin - To-Do List Menu

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

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

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

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Short Codes

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

Once you know what type of information you want to add to your site, open up a new post or page and either type or paste the short code into the content area …


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


To learn more about this plugin, visit the plugin website:

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


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