How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

Creating To-Do Lists In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - How To Create To Do Lists In WordPressWhen you are running a fast-paced business, time is always in short supply.

There is just so much to do and remember. You have deadlines to meet, project tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to put out, calls and appointments to make, commitments to keep and so on. The stress of trying to get things done on time never seems to end.

Now … add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and maintaining your website updated with new content and everything can start to become unmanageable and chaotic.

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

One simple proven tool that can help you save time, reduce stressful workloads, and allow you to take control is to use a “to do” list.

The Benefits Of Using To-Do Lists

A “to do” list can help you measure your progress as you work towards completing projects. Your to do list can be quite detailed and very specific, or act as a concise reminder of tasks that need doing today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

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

Keep Things Organized

A to do list helps you create order, keep things organized and reach your goals faster.

Time Prioritization

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time and better manage your workload. You can gain a clearer perspective on what’s truly urgent vs what is not, and what steps need to be done first.

Reschedule Quickly

Using to-do lists let you better deal with situations. If an appointment gets cancelled at short notice or extra time has been made available because some task was completed sooner than expected, you can keep working with little to minimal disruption.

Less Stress

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by the thought that there are so many things that needs doing and very little time to do it in. Using to-do lists allow you to work on important tasks that have to be completed within the time you have available, and push out non-urgent items that can be worked on at a later time. This can help you stress less.

Collaborating With Others

Using to do lists and other project management tools is essential for getting other people involved 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, then prioritizing tasks and working in a focused manner improves your business productivity and efficiency.

What about using to-do lists on your WordPress website?

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

Cleverness To-Do List

to-do list plugin Cleverness

Download URL


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

Plugin Features

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

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

The shared to-do list has a variety of settings available. You can assign to-do items to a specific user (this includes a setting to email a new to do item to users) and optionally to have assigned items only seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels using capabilities. There are also settings 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 admin backend to help you manage your list and your to-do lists can also display on the dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as short code to display the to do list items on your site. There are two shortcodes 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 this plugin to create custom to do lists for your post planners if you also download a copy of the Post Planner plugin.

Installing The Plugin

In your WP dashboard, click on Plugins > Add New

WP Plugins Menu

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin …

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

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

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

When the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

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

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ section …

Cleverness to-do lists - To Do List Settings Tab

Let’s configure the plugin …

Setting Up The Plugin

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

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

Let’s configure each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness to do lists plugin WP - To Do List Settings

To-Do List Categories

Choose ‘Enabled’ to organize your to-do list 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 plugin menu …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - To Do List Menu Categories

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

WP to-do lists plugin - To Do List Categories

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 to-do lists will be viewed. You can select 3 kinds of list views:

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

Cleverness to-do lists - To Do List Settings Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you 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 items.

Show Deadline

Enabling this option lets you specify deadlines for to-do tasks …

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

Show Progress

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), the ‘To-Do List’ menu will display in your WP Admin bar

Cleverness plugin to do lists - 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

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - To-Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option to display content in your to-do list items using paragraphs.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you plan to run a multi-author 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 to help make the process of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - Editorial Solution Plugin For WordPress

To learn more about using this WordPress plugin, visit this site: WordPress Post Planner

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

WP button save changes

Advanced Settings

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

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

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

Cleverness to do list - To Do List Advanced Settings Tab

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

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

The following settings can be configured in this section:

Date Format

Here you can specify how to display dates on your todo list (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about formatting dates in WordPress, refer to the date section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

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

plugin to do lists Cleverness - Priority section

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

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - color-coded priority

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled, item IDs will display on your list …

to-do list Cleverness - Show To-Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) shows the date the table of items was added …

WordPress to do lists plugin - Date Added column

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 settings can be configured in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you assign tasks to other users …

Cleverness plugin WP - 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 to display to-do items only to users who have been assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled displays to-do 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 todo 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 will automatically send an email to users with their assigned to-do items …

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

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

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

Add Category to Subject

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

to do lists Cleverness - Add Category to Email Subject

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

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

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This is a useful option if your site has multiple project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness plugin to-do list 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 email notices to users. Add the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

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

From Email

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

Cleverness to-do list plugin - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

In this field, enter a subject field for the email that will be automatically distributed to users whenever new items have been added in your to-do list …

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

Type in 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 WordPress to-do list - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can carry out database maintenance operations associated with plugin data directly from the plugin settings area …

Cleverness - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database maintenance

This function is useful if, for example, you see that previously deleted to-do items are still listed on your site.

You can perform the tasks below:

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


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

If you don’t want to perform site backups, then hire a professional service, or use a WordPress backup plugin. Learn about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to completely automate your file and database backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness WP plugin to-do list - User Permissions Settings


If you have chosen the Individual List type, the only permission that applies in this section is the View To-Do List permission …

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

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

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

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

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

Note: When using the Master list type make sure that you only authorize non-administrators to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness to do list - User Permissions Settings

Here is a description of the settings in this section:

View To-Do List

This setting 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 items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option enables the chosen capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the chosen capability to edit existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can permit the chosen capability to view all tasks even if “Show Each User Only Their Assigned Tasks” is set to ‘Yes’.

Delete To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the chosen capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

This permits the chosen capability to add new categories.


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be very useful. For example, you may need to copy over data from one site to another, or export your data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Tab

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

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

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

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

In addition to exporting to-do list data from the ‘Import/Export’ section, you can also export data by going to your WordPress dashboard menu and choosing Tools > Export

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

WP Menu Tools > 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 …

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

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

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

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

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

Your file will be imported.

Now that you have configured all of the plugin settings, you are ready to begin 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

Cleverness to-do list - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness - To-Do List screen

Adding New To Do Items

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

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

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

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

Cleverness - How To Add New To-Do Items

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Repeat the above process to continue adding new items to your list …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - How To Add New Items To Your To Do List

Edit And Delete To Do Items

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

Editing And Deleting Items

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

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

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

to-do list Cleverness - View To Do List User Dashboard

When a user assigned with completing an item ticks the item checkbox …

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Information

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

Using The Plugin Widget

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

WordPress to do lists plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

Your to-do list will appear where you have placed the widget (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness to do lists - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin also lets you display to-do lists and checklists to your site with shortcodes.

To access the plugin’s shortcode documentation, select To-Do List > To-Do List from your WordPress admin menu …

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

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

Plugin Shortcodes

The documentation section explains different ways to configure and use short codes for displaying lists and checklists on your content.

Once you know what type of information you want to display on your site, open up a new page or post and either type or paste the short code inside the content editor …

Plugin Short Codes

After publishing your post or page, you should see the list showing exactly where you entered the short code …

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Short Codes

Visit this site to download this plugin:

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


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