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 Tutorials - How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPressTime is always in short supply, especially if you are a business owner.

There is just too much to do and remember. You have clients to meet, projects to complete, meetings to attend, fires to extinguish, calls and appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The amount of things that need ”doing” never seems to stop.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and keeping your website updated with regular content and things can start feeling unmanageable and overwhelming.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a team, it’s important 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 gain some control is to use a “to-do” list.

The Benefits Of Using A To-Do List

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

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

Free Up Resources

Writing a to-do list means you don’t have to try to memorize things or clutter your mind with details. Once things are recorded on a to do list, your brain is free to process information and you can focus on other areas that are important.

Be More Strategic

By creating and organizing your to do list, you can break down larger projects into more doable tasks and come up with a strategic plan to get everything done effectively.

Quickly Reorganize

Using to do lists let you better cope with situations. If a meeting gets cancelled or extra time has been made available when a task gets completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reschedule and continue working with no disruption.

Less Stress

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by the thought that there are so many things that needs to get done and very little time to do it all in. Using a to-do list allows you to prioritize urgent items that need to get done within the time you have available, and reschedule tasks that can be addressed at a later time. This can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and alleviate some of the stress you (and your team) may be feeling.

Sense Of Accomplishment

Crossing items off your 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. Creating to-do lists, prioritizing tasks and working towards completing the items on your list increases your business efficiency and productivity.

What about using to-do lists on your website?

In this tutorial we are going to show you how to add to-do lists to WordPress to improve business efficiency and productivity using a customizable, multi-featured to-do list plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness to-do list plugin WP

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin URL


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

Plugin Features

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

You can configure Cleverness To Do List to have private to-do lists for each user, to have all users share a to do list, or to have a master list with individual completion of items.

The shared to do list option has a variety of settings available. You can delegate to do items to specific users (this includes emailing a new to-do item to users) and optionally to have those items be viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. There are also settings available to enable the display of deadline and progress fields. Category support is also included in the front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the backend to help you manage your list and the to do lists can also appear on a dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as shortcode to display the to-do list items on your blog. There are two shortcodes for front-end list administration. Category management is restricted to the back-end admin section.

If you plan to run a multi-author blog 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.

How To Install The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

In your WP admin area, click on Plugins > Add New

Plugins Menu

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

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

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

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

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

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

Once the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

Note: The settings section can also be accessed by selecting To-Do List > Settings from the dashboard menu …

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

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ area …

to-do list Cleverness - To Do List Settings Tab

Let’s go through the plugin setup process …

How To Set Up The Plugin

The Settings area is divided into 4 sections:

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

Let’s now configure each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

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

To-Do List Categories

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List Categories Menu

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

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

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

Categories set to ‘private’ 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 lists will be viewed. There are three types of list views available:

  • Individual – Choose this option if you want each user to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Selecting this option allows users to share the same to-do list.
  • Master – Choose this option to have one master list for all users, where users have their own individual completion of items. 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 to do list - To Do List Settings Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display which users on your site have added an item to the to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

Enabling this option displays completion dates for your to-do tasks.

Show Deadline

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

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

Show Progress

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness plugin to do lists - To Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display the ‘To-Do List’ menu in your WordPress Dashboard Admin bar

to-do lists plugin - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

WordPress to do lists plugin - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

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

Integrate with Post Planner

If you are running a collaborative site 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 provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - Plugin For WordPress

Go here to learn more about using this plugin: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Plugin

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

WordPress save changes

Advanced Settings

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

WP to do list plugin - Advanced Settings

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

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

In this area you can customize your To Do lists, assign to-do tasks 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

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

plugin to do lists - To-Do List Advanced Settings - To-Do List Customization Settings

The following options can be configured in this section:

Date Format

Here you can specify how to display dates in your to-do lists (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about formatting 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 the labels for highest (important), middle and low priority items …

Cleverness plugin WP to-do lists - Priority drop-down menu

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

plugin to-do lists - Priority column

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) will display the items’ IDs on the list …

Cleverness - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If enabled (‘Yes’), the date your to-do list was added will show on the To-Do Items table …

Cleverness - 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 area and assign items to other users …

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - 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

Enable this option to assign tasks to other users …

plugin 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

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

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this area (Administrator to display the type of users that can be assigned todo items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a specific role, then leave its checkbox unticked.

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 WP to do list - Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want emails sent out to users.

Note: If you disable this option, you can skip other settings in this section.

Add Category to Subject

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

to do list Cleverness - Add Category to Subject

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

If you don’t want to-do categories displayed in the email subject, then leave this option disabled.

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 is a useful option if you have several project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - 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 notices. Type your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

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

From Email

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

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do lists - 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.

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area you can carry out database maintenance tasks associated with plugin data directly from the plugin settings area itself without the need to log into your server …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Advanced Settings > Database maintenance

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

The tasks below can be performed:

  • Delete Tables – Delete custom database tables that are no longer being used.
  • Delete All To-Do Items – Delete all 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 we recommend backing up your WordPress database first.

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

User Permissions

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

Cleverness - User Permissions Tab

Useful Info

If you select the Individual List type, the only permission that is applicable in this section is the View To-Do List permission …

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

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

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions Settings Tab - View To Do-List dropdown menu

The default general capabilities of each user role are 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-admin users should only be allowed to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness to do list plugin - User Permissions Settings Tab

Let’s now review the settings for this section:

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

This permits the chosen capability to mark items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This setting allows the selected capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This permits the selected capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This option permits the chosen capability to assign to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This option permits 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 permits 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 to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

This setting allows the chosen capability to add new categories.


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

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

Cleverness plugin to do lists WP - Import/Export

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

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

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings - Download Export File

This will open up a new window allowing you to view or download your data in a plain text file (e.g. Notepad) to an internal or external storage medium …

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

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

Tools > Export WordPress 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 selecting ‘To-Do’ from the ‘Choose what to export’ section and clicking on the ‘Download Export File’ button to save your file to a storage device…

WordPress Menu Export - 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 …

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

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

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

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

Cleverness - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings Section - Import File

Your file will be imported.

Now that you have configured all of the plugin settings, you can start create and edit to do lists.

How To Use The Plugin

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

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

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

plugin to do list - To-Do List screen

Adding New To-Do Items To Your List

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

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

WP plugin to-do list - Adding New To Do Items To Your List

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

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

You can also click on the ‘Add New Item’ link in the ‘To-Do Items’ section (note: only use this option if your To Do list contains many items, since the link is only going to take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the screen) …

Cleverness WordPress plugin to do lists - Adding A New Item To Your List

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

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

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

Cleverness - How To Add A New Item To Your List

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

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

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

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

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

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

Repeat this process to keep adding items to your list …

Cleverness plugin - Add New To Do Items To Your List

Editing And Deleting Items From Your List

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

Editing And Deleting Items From Your List

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

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

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

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

When a user assigned with an item completes the task and clicks on the item checkbox …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - Complete To Do Item User Dashboard

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list WordPress - Complete To Do List Item

Additional Plugin Information

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

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 would like the to-do list to show …

Cleverness - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness plugin WP to-do lists - Using The Plugin Widget

Your list will now display on your site where the ‘to-do-list’ widget was added (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

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

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


You can also display to-do lists on your site with short codes.

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

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

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin - Using Plugin Shortcodes

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

Using Plugin Shortcodes

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

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 shortcode inside the content section …

Using Plugin Short Codes

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

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Shortcodes

To download this plugin, go here:

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


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