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

WP Plugin Tutorials - How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPressIf you plan to run a hectic business or manage other people, time is always in short supply.

There are so many things to do and remember. You have deadlines to meet, projects to complete, meetings to attend, fires to extinguish, deliveries to make, commitments to keep and so on. The amount of things that need ”doing” never seems to stop.

Now … add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and keeping your website updated with regular content and everything can quickly start to become unmanageable and overwhelming.

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.

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

To-Do Lists – Benefits

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

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

Free Up Resources

Writing to do lists means you won’t have to memorize stuff or clutter your brain with details. Once tasks are recorded on a to-do list, your head is free to process information and you can focus on things that are more important to you.

Time Prioritization

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time. You can gain a clearer perspective on what’s truly urgent vs what isn’t, and what tasks have to be done first.

Reorganize And Reschedule Quickly

To-do lists help you better cope with changes in circumstances. If an appointment suddenly gets cancelled at short notice or extra time becomes available when some part of the process gets completed sooner than expected, you can keep working without loss of focus.

Ensures Accountability

With no accountability there’s no commitment to getting things completed, and no motivation to act with a sense of purpose. Lack of accountability can also let excuses creep in and take over your productivity.

Feeling Of Accomplishment

Crossing items off to do lists not only makes you feel more positive, motivated and in-control, it also allows you to stress less, as you can objectively see (or show) that the work 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 in a focused way increases efficiency and productivity in your business.

What about using a to do list on your website?

In this tutorial you are going to learn how to easily add to-do lists to a WP website or blog to help your business grow online  faster and more efficiently using a customizable, multi-featured to-do list plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

Cleverness to-do list

Plugin URL

Plugin Description

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


Note: the plugin 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 each user, to have all users share the same to-do list, or to have a master list with individual completion of items.

The shared to-do list offers different settings. You can assign to do items to a specific user (this includes a setting to email a new to do item to assigned users) and optionally to have those items only seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels using capabilities. There are also settings available to show deadline and progress fields. Category support is also included as front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the admin backend to help you manage your lists and your to do list can also display on a 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 short codes for front-end list administration. 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 Post Planner plugin for WordPress.

Installing The Plugin

In your WordPress admin, click on Plugins > Add New

WP Plugins Menu

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

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

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

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

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

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

Once you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

Note: The plugin’s ‘Settings’ screen can also be accessed by choosing To-Do List > Settings from the admin menu …

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

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ section …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Settings

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

How To Configure The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The plugin’s ‘Settings’ screen is divided into 4 sections:

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

Let’s now go through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Settings Screen

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 will be added to the To-Do List plugin menu …

to-do list Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

to-do list plugin Cleverness - To Do List Categories Section

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

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

List View

List View allows you to specify how your lists are viewed. There are 3 types of list views available:

  • Individual – Selecting this option allows each user to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Use this option if you want all users to share the same to-do list.
  • Master – Use this option to create a 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 configure the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

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

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

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

Show Added By

If enabled, you can display which users have added an item to the to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

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

Show Deadline

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you will be able to specify deadlines for to-do items …

plugin to do lists Cleverness - To Do List Deadline

Show Progress

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

Cleverness to do list plugin WP - To Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

WordPress to do list plugin - 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 - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If this option is enabled, automatic paragraphs are used to display content in to-do lists.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you are running 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 process of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - Plugin For WordPress

To learn more this WordPress plugin, visit this site: WordPress Post Planner – Plugin For WordPress

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

WP button save changes

Advanced Settings

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

WordPress plugin to-do list - To-Do List Advanced Settings

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - Advanced Settings Tab

In this screen you can customize your To Do lists, assign to-do items to other users and perform database maintenance.

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - 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 on your to-do lists (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about how to format 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 the labels for highest (important), middle and lowest (low) priority items …

Cleverness to do lists plugin WP - Priority drop-down menu

Items prioritized as “important” are colour-coded in red and lowest priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness - Priority column

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option will display the items’ IDs on the list …

WordPress to do lists plugin - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If this option is enabled, the date the to-do list was added will show on your table of items …

to-do list Cleverness - sort by date added

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

If you have selected either ‘Group’ or ‘Master’ View for your to-do list, you can configure the settings in this section and assign to-do items to other users …

plugin to-do lists - 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 (‘Yes’) to assign to-do items to other users …

WordPress plugin to-do lists - 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 lets you display tasks only to users who have been assigned those items. Leave this option disabled to display 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 todo 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 this option is enabled, WordPress automatically sends an email to users with their assigned to-do items …

to do list Cleverness - Assigned To-Do Items Email

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want emails sent out to users.

Note: If this option is disabled, skip the other 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 on the subject of your emails …

Cleverness to do lists - Add Category to Subject

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

If you don’t want categories to appear the email subject, 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 option is useful if, for example, you have a number of project managers assigning to-do items to users …

WP plugin to do list - 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 the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

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

From Email

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

Cleverness - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

to-do lists plugin Cleverness - 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 WordPress to-do list plugin - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This section allows you to carry out database maintenance tasks associated with plugin data directly from the plugin settings area …

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

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

The tasks below can be performed in this section:

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


Any actions that you perform on the database from this screen cannot be undone. If you are sure that you want to carry out database maintenance in this section, then remember to backup your WP database first.

If you don’t want to back up your site manually, then get professional WordPress assistance services, or use WordPress backup plugins. You can learn more about a great WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to perform automated WordPress site backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness to do list plugin WP - User Permissions Settings

Useful Information

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do lists - User Permissions Settings Tab - View To Do-List

If you plan to configure user permissions and capabilities for Group or Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you would like users to have access to for each option …

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

The 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 working with the Master list type non-administrator users should only be allowed to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions

Below is a description of the settings for this section:

View To-Do List

Here you can allow 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 option allows the selected capability to mark to-do items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option permits the selected capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This enables the selected capability to modify existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This permits the chosen capability to delegate to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This setting enables the chosen capability to view all tasks even if “Show Each User Only Their Assigned Tasks” is set to ‘Yes’.

Delete To-Do Item Capability

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

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can enable the chosen capability to purge all the completed to-do 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 useful. For example, you may want to transfer data from one site to another, or store your list data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

WP plugin to do lists - Import/Export Tab

Here you can export and import your list data and plugin settings …

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

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a window allowing you to download and save your data in plain text format to a storage device (e.g. your hard drive) …

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

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

Tools > 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 on the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to an internal or external hard drive…

WP Menu Export - To-Do Data

Importing To-Do List Data

To import a list data file, click on the ‘Browse’ button next to the ‘Choose File to Import’ field …

plugin to do lists - Import/Export - Import/Export Settings - Import To Do Data File

Locate the file and click ‘Open’ …

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

Once uploading the data file, click on ‘Import Settings’ …

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

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

Now that you have configured all plugin settings, you can start create and edit to do lists.

How To Use The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Menu

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

to-do list Cleverness - To-Do List screen

How To Add New To Do Items

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - 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, since the link will simply send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the page) …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin WordPress - Add New To-Do Items

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

Depending on the way you have configured the plugin settings, 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 item to your list …

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

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

WordPress plugin 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) …

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

After the item has been added, the item will be listed as an entry in the ‘To-Do Items’ table …

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

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

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

Edit And Delete Items

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

Editing And Removing 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 …

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do lists - View To Do List

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

WP to do lists plugin - Completed To-Do Items User Dashboard

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin to-do lists WordPress - Completed To-Do Items User Dashboard

Additional Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin offers added functionality that lets you display to-do lists on your WordPress site using widgets, and add lists to any page or post using short codes.

Using The Plugin Widget

To add a to-do list to your site using widgets, go to the ‘Widgets’ page (Appearance > Widgets) and drag the ‘To-Do List’ widget to the menu location where you want the to-do list to display …

Cleverness plugin - Widgets

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

Cleverness - Widgets

Your list will display wherever the widget has been added (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:

Using Plugin Short Codes

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

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

Using Plugin Short Codes

This section explains different ways to configure and use shortcodes for displaying lists on your content.

Once you know what type of information you would like to display on your site, create a new post or page and either type or paste the short code into the content area …


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


Visit the plugin website to learn more about this plugin:

Congratulations! Now you know how to create and add a to-do list to your WordPress site or blog.


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