How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - How To Create To Do Lists In WordPressThere never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done, especially if you run a hectic business.

There are so many things to do and remember. You have deadlines to meet, project tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to extinguish, calls and appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The amount of things that need ”doing” never ends.

Now … add the extra dimension of trying to promote and grow your business online and maintaining your website updated with regular content and things can start to feel unmanageable and out of control.

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

One ”tried and true” method that can help you save time, reduce stressful workloads, and allow you to gain some control is to use “to-do” lists.

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to do” list can help you track your progress as you work towards completing tasks. Your to-do list can be detailed or specific, or just serve as a concise reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc.

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

Clearer Thinking

Creating to do lists means that you don’t have to try to memorize things or store a ton of information inside your mind. Once tasks are jotted down on a to do list, your brain is free to process information and you can focus on other areas that are important.

Save Time

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

Keep Documented Work Logs

A to-do list lets you keep documented logs of what you have done. This can be used as evidence of work done to employers or clients, or simply as a means 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 to do lists let you prioritize urgent things that need to be completed within the time you have available, and reschedule items that can be worked on at a later time. This can help you stress less.

Sense Of Accomplishment

Crossing items off to do lists gives you a sense of accomplishment and allows you to relax more, as you can objectively see (or show) that the workload is being completed and that milestones are being reached.

As you can see, there are many benefits to using a to do list, both in business and in your personal life. Creating a to-do list, then prioritizing tasks and working to complete the items listed increases your business productivity and efficiency.

What about adding a to do list to your website?

In this step-by-step tutorial we are going to show you how to easily create a to-do list in WordPress to help your business grow  faster and more efficiently using a great little plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness to-do lists plugin WordPress

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin URL


This WordPress plugin lets you easily add customizable to-do lists to a WordPress website or blog.


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

You can configure Cleverness To-Do List to assign private to do lists for individual users, 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 offers different settings. You can delegate to do items to specific users (this includes emailing new to-do items to users) and optionally to have assigned 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 as front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the admin backend to help you manage your lists and your to-do lists can also be displayed on the dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as short code to display the to do list items on your blog. There are two short codes for front-end administration of your list. Management of categories is accessible via the back-end.

If you plan to set up a multi-author site you can use the to-do lists plugin to create custom to-do lists for your post planners if you also use a copy of the Post Planner plugin for WordPress from the same developer.

Installing The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Log into your WP admin and click on Plugins > Add New …

Install WP Plugin

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin after installing it …

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

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

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

After the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

Cleverness - To Do List Menu

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ page …

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

Let’s configure the plugin …

Plugin Configuration

The Settings area is divided into 4 sections:

  • To-Do List Settings – The options in this area let you specify the main plugin settings.
  • Advanced Settings – This area 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 set up user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types.
  • Import/Export – This section 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

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

To-Do List Categories

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

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

Cleverness to-do lists - To-Do List Menu

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

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

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

Categories marked ‘private’ are not visible using the sidebar widgets or short codes (only when ‘Sort Order’ is set to ‘Category’)

List View

List View lets you choose how your lists will be viewed. There are three kinds of to do list views:

  • Individual – Selecting this option lets users create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Selecting this option lets all users share the same to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you to create one master list for all users, where users have their own individual completion of items. If you select the ‘Master’ list view, make sure that you set the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Settings Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

If this option is enabled, you can display which of your members has 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, completion dates will display for to-do items.

Show Deadline

If enabled, you can specify deadlines for your to-do tasks …

Cleverness to-do list - To Do List Settings Deadline

Show Progress

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

Enabling this option displays the ‘To-Do List’ menu in your WP Admin bar

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

This option 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 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 author that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner

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

When you are done configuring your plugin options in this section, click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

WP save changes button

Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness plugin - Advanced Settings Tab

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

Cleverness to-do list - Advanced Settings Tab

In this section you can customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do items to users and carry out 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’ screen lets you customize your To-Do List …

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

You can configure the following options in this section:

Date Format

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

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

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

Cleverness plugin WP to do list - Priority section

Items prioritized as “important” display in red in the lists and lowest (low) priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - color-coding priorities

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option shows item IDs on your to-do list …

Cleverness to-do list plugin - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If this option is enabled, the date the to-do list was added shows up on the table of items …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do lists - 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 options in this section and assign to-do items to other users …

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

You can configure the following options in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

Cleverness plugin WP 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

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can display to-do items 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

Checking the boxes in this section (Administrator displays the type of users that can be assigned items. Leave the checkbox unticked for any roles that you don’t want to assign to-do items.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

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

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

Note: If this option is disabled, you can skip the remaining settings 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 …

WordPress plugin to do lists - Add Category to Email Subject

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

If you don’t want to display categories in the subject of your emails, then leave this option disabled.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This is a useful option if you have several project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - 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 to users. You can enter your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

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

From Email

Add into this field the email address that you want displayed as the “sent from” email address …

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Type in a subject field for the email that will be sent automatically to users whenever a new item has been assigned to your to-do list …

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

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 - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area you can carry out database maintenance operations related to plugin data inside the plugin settings area itself …

Cleverness - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

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

The tasks below can be performed in this section:

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


Any actions that you perform on your database from this screen cannot be undone. If you are comfortable to perform database maintenance in this section, then we recommend backing up your database first.

If you don’t want to do your own backups, then consider getting professional WordPress support, or use backup plugins. You can read about a WordPress backup plugin that can fully automate your backup process here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - User Permissions


If you select Individual List, the only setting that applies in this section is the View To-Do List option …

Cleverness - User Permissions - View To Do-List dropdown menu

If you are setting up user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you want users to have access to for each option …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - User Permissions Settings Tab - View To Do-List dropdown menu

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

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions Settings

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

View To-Do List

Here you can permit the selected 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 enables the chosen capability to mark to-do items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the chosen capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the selected capability to modify existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can allow 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 permit the selected 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 items.

Add Categories Capability

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


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be very useful. For example, you may decide to transfer data from one site to another, or export the list data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Settings Tab

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

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

This will open up a window allowing you to view or save your data in plain text format to an internal or external hard drive …

to-do list plugin Cleverness - 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 main menu and selecting Tools > Export

WP Menu Tools > Export

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 on the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to your hard drive…

Export Menu - Export To-Do

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

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

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

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

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

The data from the existing to-do file will be imported.

After configuring 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 dashboard menu and click on To-Do List > To-Do List

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

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

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

Add New To Do Items

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

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

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

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

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

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 down the screen) …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP to do list - Adding New To Do Items

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do list - Adding A New Item To Your To-Do 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 To Do Items

Depending on your configuration plugin settings (discussed in the previous section), users assigned to completing tasks may also receive an email notification in their inboxes …

to do list plugin - Assigned To Do Items Email

After creating your to-do list, users can view the list when logged into their own user dashboard …

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

When a user assigned with completing an item clicks on the item checkbox …

Cleverness to-do list - Completed To-Do List Items User Dashboard

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

WordPress plugin to-do list - Completed To-Do List Item

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Completed To Do List Item User Dashboard

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin offers additional functions that let you display a to-do list on your WordPress site using widgets, and display a list on content inside a page or post using shortcodes.

Plugin Widget

To add a to-do list 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 list to show …

WP to do lists plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Plugin Widget

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

Plugin Short Codes

You can also add 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 admin menu …

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

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

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

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

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 short code into the content area …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

For more information about this plugin, visit this site:

Congratulations! Now you know how to add to-do lists to your WordPress site or blog.


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