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 WordPressIf you are a business owner, time always seems to be in short supply.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, urgent tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to put out, calls and appointments to make, commitments to keep and so on. The amount of things that need to get done never ends.

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 quickly start becoming unmanageable and out of control.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a project, you need to be able to organize and prioritize your daily activities, keep track of your progress, and, if necessary, delegate tasks and responsibilities to team members effectively.

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

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to-do” list can help to keep you on track and measure your progress as you to get projects completed. Your to do list can be very detailed and specific, or act as a reminder of what needs to be done over a given period of time.

Here are some of the 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 brain with details. Once tasks are recorded on a to do list, your head is free to process other information and you can focus on things that are more important to you.

Be More Strategic

Creating and organizing to do lists helps you view the larger picture and formulate a strategic plan to get everything completed effectively.

Reorganize Or Reschedule Quickly

To-do lists help you better deal with events. If a meeting gets cancelled at the last minute or extra time has been made available because some part of the process was completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reschedule or reorganize and continue working with minimal disruption.


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

Collaborate Better 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. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work in a systematic way and your business efficiency and productivity will surely improve.

What about using to-do lists on your website?

In this detailed step-by-step tutorial we are going to show you how to easily add a to-do list to your WordPress website or blog to improve business efficiency and productivity using a great little plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness to do lists plugin

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Plugin Description

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


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

You can configure the plugin to have private to do lists for each user, 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 provides different settings. 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 viewable 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 manage your lists and the to do lists are also displayed 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 2 shortcodes for front-end administration of your list. Management of categories is accessible via the back-end.

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 download the developer’s premium plugin, Post Planner.

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Installation

From your WP dashboard, choose Plugins > Add New

WordPress Plugins

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

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

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

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

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

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

When the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

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

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ screen …

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

Let’s go through the plugin configuration process …

Configuring The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

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

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

Let’s now configure each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list - 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) …

WordPress to-do lists plugin - To Do List Categories Section

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

Private categories are not visible using sidebar widgets or shortcodes (only when ‘Sort Order’ is set to ‘Category’)

List View

List View lets you specify how lists are viewed. There are three types of to-do list views available:

  • Individual – Choosing 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 the same to-do list.
  • Master – Use this option 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 that you set the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

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

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

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

Show Added By

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

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

Show Date Completed

If this option is enabled, completion dates will display for to-do items.

Show Deadline

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Settings Deadline

Show Progress

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

plugin to-do list Cleverness - 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

Cleverness - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option to display content in to-do list items 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, from the same developer to help make the process of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner

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

Once you are done configuring your plugin options, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WP save changes button

Advanced Settings

After you have configured the settings in the To-Do List Settings tab, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to continue …

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

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ screen …

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

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Advanced Settings Tab - Customize To-Do List Settings

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Date Format

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

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

Here you can customize your labels for prioritizing highest (important), normal and low items …

Cleverness plugin - Priority Labels

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

Cleverness - colour-coded priority

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled, item IDs will show on the list …

Cleverness - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness WP to do list plugin - sort by date

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 options in this area and assign items to other users …

Cleverness plugin WP - 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

If this option is enabled, you can assign to-do items to other users …

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

Note: This set this option to ‘Yes’ for the settings below it to work.

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

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display tasks only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled (‘No’) will display 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 to-do items. If you don’t want to assign to-do items to a role, then leave its checkbox unticked.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

If this option is enabled, WordPress will automatically send an email to users with their assigned to-do items …

to do lists plugin Cleverness - Assigned To Do Items Email

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Add Category to Email Subject

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

If you don’t want to display to-do 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 to display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This is a useful option if you have multiple project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

This field allows you to customize the “From” field when sending out email notices. Add the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

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

From Email

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

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

In this field, 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.

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this section you can carry out database maintenance operations related to plugin data directly from your plugin settings area itself without having to access your server …

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

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

The following tasks can be performed:

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


Any database operations you perform from this screen cannot be reversed. 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 WordPress database first.

If you don’t want to do manual backups, then get support from a WordPress professional, or use a WordPress backup plugin. You can read about a great WordPress backup plugin that can automate your backup process here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness - User Permissions Tab

Useful Info

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

Cleverness plugin WP - 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 would like users to have access to for each option …

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

The 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 using the Master list type non-admin users should only be permitted to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness - User Permissions Settings Tab

Let’s now review the settings for this section:

View To-Do List

This setting enables 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 uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the selected capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This allows the selected capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This setting enables the selected capability to assign to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can permit 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

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

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

This option enables the chosen capability to add new categories.


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may decide to copy over data from one website 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 to do lists - Import/Export Tab

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

WordPress to-do lists plugin - Import/Export

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a new window allowing you to view or download your data as plain text to an internal or external drive …

Cleverness - Import/Export - Export Settings File

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

WP Export Menu

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

WordPress Tools > Export Menu - To Do Data

Importing To-Do List Data

Importing a list data file is easy. Just click on the ‘Browse’ button next to the ‘Choose File to Import’ field …

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

Locate the file and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

Your file data will be imported.

Now that you have configured all plugin settings, you can start create and edit 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

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

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

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

Add A New Item To Your To-Do List

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - How To Add New To Do Items To Your 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 already contains many items, as the link is only going to send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the page) …

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

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

Depending on how you have configured the plugin’s settings, some options may not display 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 item to your list …

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

Note: If you have selected a list type that allows you to assign items to 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 multiple users to the same item (click on ‘x’ to delete users) …

Cleverness - Assign To Do Items to Users

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Add New To Do Items

Repeat this process to keep adding items to your list …

Cleverness plugin - How To Add New To Do Items

Edit And Delete Items From Your List

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

Edit And Delete Items From Your List

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

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Completed To-Do List Item

… the item disappears from the “To-Do” list …

Cleverness - Complete To-Do Item User Dashboard

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

plugin to do list - Completed To-Do Items User Dashboard

Additional Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin offers additional functions that let you display to-do lists on your site using widgets, and display a list on any page or post using short codes.

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 (or footer) menu where you would like the to-do list to display …

Cleverness WordPress to-do list plugin - Widgets

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

Cleverness WP to do lists plugin - Widgets

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Widgets

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

Using Plugin Short Codes

The Cleverness plugin also lets you add lists and checklists to your site using shortcodes.

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

to-do list plugin - Shortcodes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

This documentation section explains different ways to configure and use short codes to display lists and checklists on your content.

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

Plugin Shortcodes

Publish your post or page and you will see the list showing in the location where you have inserted the shortcode …


Go here to download this plugin:

Congratulations! Now you know how to create and add a to-do list in WordPress.


"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)


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