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 - Creating A To Do List In WordPressTime always seems to be in short supply, especially if you run a hectic business or manage any kind of project that involves people working as a team.

There is just so much to do and remember. You have clients to meet, project tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to put out, deliveries to make, schedules to keep and so on. The amount of things that need to get done never stops.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and keeping your website or blog updated with fresh content and everything can start to become unmanageable and chaotic.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a team, you need to be able to organize and prioritize your daily tasks, keep track of your progress and daily accomplishments, and, if necessary, assign tasks and responsibilities to team members effectively.

A simple proven method that can help you save time, alleviate stressful workloads, and allow you to take control is to use “to-do” lists.

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to-do” list helps you track your progress when trying to complete projects. Your to do list can be detailed or specific, or just serve as a concise reminder of the things that need to be done over a given period of time.

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

Clear Thinking

Creating a to-do list means you won’t have to memorize things or clutter your brain with details. Once things are written down on a to do list, your brain is free to process other information and you can focus on more important things.

Better Strategic Planning

Creating and organizing to do lists helps you break larger projects into doable tasks and formulate a strategic plan for getting things completed efficiently.

Reorganize And Reschedule Quickly

A to do list lets you better deal with new situations. If you find that a meeting gets cancelled at short notice or extra time becomes available because some part of the process got completed sooner than expected, you can keep working with little to no disruption.

Stress Less

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and so very little time to do it all in. Creating to do lists allow you to prioritize important items that have to be completed within the time you have available, and push out items that can be addressed later. This can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and take away some of the stress you (and your team) may be feeling.

Collaborate Better With Others

Creating to do lists and other project management tools is essential for collaborating with others 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. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work systematically and efficiency and productivity in your business will surely improve.

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

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

Cleverness To-Do List

WP plugin to-do lists

Download The Plugin

Plugin Description

This plugin lets you easily add to do lists to WordPress.

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Features

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

You can set up Cleverness To-Do List to assign 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 provides different settings. You can delegate to-do items to specific users (this includes a setting to email a new to do item to the assigned user) and optionally to have assigned items only viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users based on user roles. 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 admin backend to manage your list and the to-do list 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 site. There are two shortcodes for front-end list administration. Category management is accessible through the back-end.

If you plan to run a multi-author blog you can use this to do lists 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

Log into your WP admin scroll down the main menu click on Plugins > Add New …

WP Plugins

In the Install Plugins section, type in “cleverness” into the search field and hit Enter

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

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

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

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

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

After the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

Note: You can also get to the plugin’s settings section by selecting To-Do List > Settings from your dashboard menu …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Menu

This brings you to the plugin ‘Settings’ area …

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

The section below shows you how to go through the plugin configuration process …

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Setup

The Settings area is divided into 4 sections:

  • To-Do List Settings – Here you can specify the plugin’s main settings.
  • Advanced Settings – This section is where you customize your 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 Master and Group List types.
  • Import/Export – This tab is where you export and import to-do list data and plugin settings.

Let’s configure each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

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


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

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

Cleverness to-do lists - To Do List Categories

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

to do list Cleverness - To Do List Categories > Add New Category

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

Categories set to ‘private’ will not be visible when using widgets or short codes (only when ‘Sort Order’ is set to ‘Category’)

List View

List View allows you to choose how to-do lists will be viewed. There are 3 list views:

  • Individual – Choosing this option allows users to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Choose this option if you want all users 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 using the ‘Master’ list view, make sure that you adjust the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

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

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

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

Show Added By

If this option is enabled, you can display which of your users has added an item to the to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), completion dates will display for to-do items.

Show Deadline

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

WordPress to-do lists plugin - To Do List Deadline

Show Progress

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

to-do list plugin - To Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

If this option is enabled, the ‘To-Do List’ menu displays in your WordPress Admin bar

Cleverness plugin to-do list WordPress - 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

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

Use Auto Paragraphs

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), automatic paragraphs are used to display content in to-do list items.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you plan to run a multi-author site or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To-Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, from the same plugin developer that helps to make the process of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - Multi-Author Publishing Plugin For WordPress

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

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

WP save changes button

Advanced Settings

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

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

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ screen …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Advanced Settings

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

This section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ screen lets you customize your To Do List …

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

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Date Format

In this area you can specify how to display dates in your todo list (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

In this area you can customize labels for highest, middle (normal) and low priority items …

plugin to-do lists - Priority Labeling

Items given the highest priority are color-coded in red and lowest priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

WP plugin to-do list - colour-coded priorities

Show To-Do Item ID

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), the items’ IDs will display on the list …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - sort by 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 to-do items to other users …

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

The following settings can be configured in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enable this option to assign to-do items to other users …

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

Note: This setting must be set to ‘Yes’ for the settings below it to work.

Show a User Only the To-Do Items Assigned to Them

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display 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

Checking the boxes in this section (Administrator displays the type of users that can be assigned to-do 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 this option is enabled, WordPress automatically sends users an email with their assigned to-do items …

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

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

Note: If this option is disabled, you can skip the remaining items 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 in the subject of emails sent to users …

plugin to do lists - Add Category to Email Subject

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

If you don’t want to display categories in the subject of your emails, then leave this option disabled (‘No’).

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 option is useful if, for example, you have multiple project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness plugin to-do list - 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. Enter your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

Cleverness - To-Do Item Email From Field

From Email

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

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do Item Email Subject Field

Text in Emails Sent to User

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

plugin to-do list Cleverness - To-Do Item Email Text Field

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This section lets you carry out database maintenance operations related to plugin data inside the plugin settings area without the need to access your web server …

to do lists Cleverness - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Clean up Database

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

You can perform the following tasks in this section:

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

Important Info

Any database operations you perform from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are comfortable to carry out database maintenance in this section, then make sure to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to back up your files yourself, then consider getting help from a WordPress professional, or use a WordPress backup plugin. Learn about a WordPress backup plugin that can automate your backup process here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions Tab

Useful Info

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin - 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 perform for each option …

Cleverness - User Permissions Settings - View To Do-List

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

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

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

Cleverness - User Permissions Settings Tab

Let’s review the settings for the User Permissions 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

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

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option permits the chosen capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the chosen capability to edit existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the selected capability to assign items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This allows 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 permits the chosen capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

This option enables the selected capability to add new categories.


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may decide to transfer data from an existing to-do list to another website, or store the list 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

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

plugin to-do list Cleverness - Import/Export Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

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

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

Export WP Menu

You can include to-do list data in an export file (in XML format), either by checking ‘All content’ (includes everything – pages, posts, etc…), or just select ‘To-Do’ from the ‘Choose what to export’ section and click on the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to your storage device…

WordPress Export Menu - Export To-Do Data File

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 …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin WordPress - Import/Export Settings Tab - Import/Export Settings Section - Import File

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

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export - Import/Export Settings Section - Import To Do File

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

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

Your file will be imported.

Now that you have configured all of the plugin settings, you are ready to begin creating and editing to do lists.

How To Use Cleverness To-Do List

To create a new to-do list, go to your WordPress admin menu and select To-Do List > To-Do List

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

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

WordPress plugin to-do lists - To-Do List page

Adding New To-Do Items

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - How To Add 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 is only going to send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the screen) …

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

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

Depending on the way you have configured your plugin’s settings, 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, add appropriate values and information into the relevant fields and click on the ‘Submit To-Do Item’ button to add the to-do item …

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Assign To Do Items to Users

You can also make multiple users responsible for the same item (click on ‘x’ to delete users) …

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

Once you have added the new item, the item will display as an entry in the ‘To-Do List’ table …

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

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

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

Edit And Delete To Do Items From Your List

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

Edit And Delete Items From Your List

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - View To Do List User Dashboard

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

plugin to do lists Cleverness - Complete To-Do Item

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

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

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

Cleverness - Complete To Do Item User Dashboard

Additional Information

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List 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 to-do list to show …

plugin to-do lists - Widgets

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

Cleverness to-do lists - Plugin Widget

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

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

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

Using Plugin Short Codes

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Plugin Shortcodes

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

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Short Codes

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

Once you know what information you want to display on your site, create a new page or post and either type or paste the shortcode into the content section …

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

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

Using Plugin Short Codes

Go here to learn more about this plugin:

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


"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)