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 WordPressIf you run a fast-paced business, there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have clients to meet, project tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to put out, appointments to make, commitments to keep and so on. The “doing” never seems to stop.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra dimension of promoting and growing your business online and keeping your website updated with fresh content and everything can quickly start to feel unmanageable and out of control.

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

A simple proven tool that can help you save time, alleviate stress, and allow you to gain some control is to use a “to do” list.

The Benefits Of Using To Do Lists

A “to-do” list helps you track your progress as you complete tasks. Your to do list can be quite detailed and very specific, or act as a reminder of what needs to be done over a given period of time.

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

Free Your Brain

Creating a to-do list means that you don’t have to keep remembering things or clutter your brain with details. Once tasks are jotted down on a to do list, your mind is free to process other information and you can focus on other important things.

Better Strategic Planning

By creating and organizing your to do list, you can view the bigger picture and formulate a strategic plan for getting everything completed efficiently.

Keep Work Logs

To-do lists let you retain documented logs of what work has been done. You can use this as evidence of work done to employers or clients, or just as a method of helping you measure your own productivity and efficiency.

Stress Relief

Stress can result from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and so very little time to do it in. Creating a to-do list lets you prioritize urgent tasks that need to get done immediately, and reschedule items that can be worked on later. This can reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and help to take away some of the stress you (and your team) may be feeling.

Better Work Delegation

Having to do lists help you delegate work to other people better. This is also important if you plan to collaborate within a team (see further below).

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

What about adding to do lists to your WordPress website or blog?

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

Cleverness To Do List

WP plugin to do lists

Plugin Download URL

Plugin Description

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

Plugin Features

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

You can set up the plugin to assign private to-do lists for individual users, to have all users share your 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 assign 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 those items be seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. 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 the to do list can also appear 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 2 short codes for front-end administration of the list. Category management is accessed through the back-end.

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

Installing The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Log into your site’s dashboard and click on Plugins > Add New …

Plugins Menu

In the Install Plugins screen, type in “cleverness” into the search field and click Enter

Cleverness - to-do lists Cleverness - Install Cleverness To Do List Plugin

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

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

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

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

When you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

Note: The ‘Settings’ section can also be accessed by selecting To-Do List > Settings from your admin menu …

WP plugin to do list - To Do List > Settings

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ section …

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

Let’s go through the plugin configuration process …

Setting Up The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The plugin’s ‘Settings’ area is divided into four tabs:

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

Let’s now configure each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

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

To-Do List Categories

Choose ‘Enabled’ to organize your to-do 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 - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Add Category

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

Private categories will not be visible when using the sidebar widgets or short codes (only when ‘Sort Order’ is set to ‘Category’)

List View

List View allows you to choose how your to-do lists will be viewed. You can select 3 kinds of list views:

  • Individual – Select this option if you want each user to be able to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Select this option if you want all users to be able to share the same to-do list.
  • Master – Select this option to have a master list for all users, where users have their own individual items to complete. If you select the ‘Master’ list view, make sure to adjust the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

to-do list Cleverness - To Do List Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can display which members have added an item to your to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

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

Show Deadline

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can specify deadlines for to-do tasks …

Cleverness - To-Do List Settings Deadline

Show Progress

If enabled, you can specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

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

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

plugin to do lists - To Do List Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

Cleverness plugin - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If enabled (‘Yes’), automatic paragraphs are used to display content in to-do lists.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you plan to run a collaborative 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 that helps to make the task of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner

For more details about using this handy plugin, visit this site: WordPress Post Planner – Plugin For WordPress

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

WordPress button - save changes

Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - Advanced Settings

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ screen …

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

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

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

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

Here you can customize your To Do List …

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

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Date Format

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

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin - Priority Labeling

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

WP to do lists plugin - colour-coding priorities

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled, item IDs show on your to-do list …

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

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness plugin - Date Added

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

If you have chosen ‘Group’ or ‘Master’ View for your to-do list, you can configure the options in this area and assign items to other users …

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

You can configure the following settings in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to assign to-do items to other users …

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - 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 tasks only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled (‘No’) displays to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this section (Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, Subscriber) displays the type of users that can be assigned to-do items. If you don’t want to assign to-do items to a specific role, then don’t tick its check box.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

If you enable this option, WordPress automatically sends an email to users with their assigned to-do items …

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want emails sent out to users.

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

Cleverness to-do list plugin - Add Category to Email Subject

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want to display categories in the subject of your emails.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

If enabled, you can display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This option is useful if, for example, you have various project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

From Email

In this field, type the email address that you want showing as the “sent from” email address …

to-do list 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 sent out automatically to users whenever new items have been assigned in your to-do list …

Cleverness plugin WP - Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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.

WP to-do list plugin - 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 related to plugin data directly from your plugin settings area itself without the need to access your server …

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

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

The tasks below can be performed in this section:

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

Important Info

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 back up your files yourself, then consider getting assistance from a WordPress professional, or use a WordPress backup plugin. You can read about a WordPress backup plugin that can automate your backup process here:

User Permissions

Here you can configure user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do lists - User Permissions Tab


If you have selected Individual List, the only configurable item applicable for this section is the View To-Do List option …

plugin to-do lists Cleverness - User Permissions - 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 want users to have access to for each option …

Cleverness - User Permissions Settings Tab - View To-Do-List

By default, general capabilities for each user role are set up 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 permit non-administrators to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness to-do lists plugin WP - User Permissions Tab

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

View To-Do List

Here you can enable the chosen capability to view to-do items in the dashboard widget and on the To-Do List page under the ‘Tools’ section.

Complete To-Do Item Capability

This allows the chosen capability to mark items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This permits the selected capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This allows the selected capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This option permits the selected capability to delegate 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 enable the chosen capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can enable the selected capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

Here you can allow the chosen capability to add new categories.


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

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

Cleverness to-do list plugin WordPress - Import/Export

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list WordPress - Import/Export Settings

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

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

Cleverness - Import/Export - Export Settings File

In addition to exporting list data from the ‘Import/Export’ section, you can also export data by going to your 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 checking ‘All content’ (includes everything – pages, posts, 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 medium…

Export Menu - Export 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 - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings Section - Import To-Do File

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

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

Your file data will be imported.

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

Plugin Usage

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

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

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

Cleverness to do lists - To-Do List page

How To Add 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 to-do items from your admin toolbar …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin WordPress - Adding A New Item To Your To-Do 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 to-do lists plugin - Adding A New Item 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 already contains many items, since the link is only going to take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the screen) …

Cleverness plugin - Add New To Do Items To Your List

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

Depending on the way you have configured the plugin’s settings, you may or may not see certain options displayed when when you add new to-do items.

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

Cleverness plugin - Adding New To Do Items

Note: If you are using 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 - Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

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

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

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

Repeat this process to continue adding items to your to-do list …

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

Editing And Deleting Items

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

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

Cleverness to do lists - Assigned To-Do Items Email

Once you have created your to do list, users can view it inside their own dashboard …

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

When users assigned with completing an item click on the item check box …

to-do lists Cleverness - Complete To-Do Item

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

Cleverness plugin to-do lists WP - Completed To Do Item

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

Cleverness plugin to do list - Completed To Do Item

Additional Plugin Information

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

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 menu location where you want the to-do list to appear …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - Widgets

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

Cleverness plugin to do lists - Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness - Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Widget

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

Plugin Short Codes

You can also add to-do lists and checklists on your site with short codes.

To access the documentation on using shortcodes, select To-Do List > To-Do List from your dashboard menu …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - To-Do List Menu

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

to-do lists plugin Cleverness - Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

This 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, create a new page or post and either type or paste the shortcode inside the content section …

Plugin Short Codes

After publishing your page or post, you will see the list showing exactly where you have added the shortcode …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

Visit the plugin website here to download this plugin:

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


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