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 WordPressTime always seems to be in short supply, especially when you are running a hectic business or managing a team.

There is just so much to do and remember. You have clients to meet, project tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to extinguish, appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The stress of trying to get things done on time never seems to end.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website updated with regular content and everything can quickly start to become 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 to members of your team efficiently.

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

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to-do” list can help you track your progress as you work to achieve certain objectives. Your to-do list can be very detailed or specific, or serve as a concise reminder of what needs to be done over a given period of time.

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

Clearer Thinking

Writing a to-do list means that you don’t have to try to memorize stuff or clutter your mind with details. Once tasks are written down on a to do list, your mind is free to process other information and you can focus on more important things.

Save Time

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time and manage your workload more effectively. You can gain a clearer perspective on what’s more important vs what isn’t, and what steps have to be done first.

Reschedule Quickly

Having a to do list helps you better handle urgent situations. If you suddenly find that a meeting has been cancelled or extra time becomes available when some task gets completed sooner than expected, you can continue moving forward with minimal disruption.

Reduce Stress

Stress can result from feeling overwhelmed by the thought that there is so much that needs doing and so very little time to do it all in. Using a to-do list allows you to prioritize important items that need to get done immediately, and reschedule non-urgent items that can be addressed later. This can help you stress less.

Collaborating With Others

Creating 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 focused manner and your business efficiency and productivity is sure to improve.

What about using a to-do list on your WordPress website?

In this tutorial we are going to show you how to add to do lists to a WordPress website or blog to improve business efficiency and productivity using a customizable, multi-featured to-do list plugin for WordPress called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness plugin

Download The Plugin


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

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Features

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

You can set up 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 option has a variety of settings available. You can assign to do items to specific users (this includes emailing new to do items to users) and optionally to have assigned items only seen 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 as front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the admin backend to manage your lists and the to do list can also appear on the dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is also available as shortcode to display the to-do list items on your blog. There are two shortcodes for front-end list administration. Category management is accessible through the back-end admin section.

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

Installing The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Log into your WordPress administration area and select Plugins > Add New …

WP Plugins

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Cleverness plugin WP - Install To Do List Plugin

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

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

Activate the plugin …

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

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

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

When you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

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

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

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ screen …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Settings Tab

Let’s go through the plugin setup process …

Setting Up The Plugin

The Settings screen is divided into four tabs:

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

Let’s now review each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

to do list plugin Cleverness - To Do List Settings Tab

To-Do List Categories

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List Categories

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do list - To-Do List Add Category

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

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

List View

List View lets you specify how lists will be viewed. There are 3 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 – Choose this option if you want all users to be able to share the same to-do list.
  • Master – Choose this option to have a master list for all users, where users have their own individual items to complete. If using the ‘Master’ list view, make sure to set the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

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

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

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

Show Added By

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

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

Show Date Completed

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays completion dates for your to-do items.

Show Deadline

If this option is enabled, you will be able to specify deadlines for to-do tasks …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - To Do List Settings Deadline

Show Progress

If this option is enabled, you will be able to specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness to do list plugin - To Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

to-do lists Cleverness - 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 WordPress - 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 are running a multi-author site or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, developed by the same plugin author to help make the task of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Plugin

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

Once you have finished 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 general settings, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to proceed …

Cleverness to-do list plugin - Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness - Advanced Settings

This screen lets you customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do items 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

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

plugin to-do list - Advanced Settings Tab - To-Do List Customization Settings

The following settings can be configured in this section:

Date Format

This section lets you specify how to display dates on your todo list (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

This section lets you customize the labels for highest, normal and lowest (low) priority items …

to-do lists Cleverness - Priority section

Items given the highest priority are shown in red in your lists and lowest (low) priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness plugin WP - Priority column

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled, item IDs appear on your list …

to-do list plugin - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option will show the date the items table was added …

to-do list plugin - sort by date added

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

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

Cleverness plugin to do list - 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

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

Cleverness plugin WP to-do list - 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

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays to-do items 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

Check the boxes in this section Author to display the type of users that can be assigned items. Leave the check box unticked for any roles that you do not want to assign to-do items.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), WordPress will automatically send 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 you disable this option, 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 on the subject of your emails …

plugin to-do list - Add Category to Email Subject

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want categories to show the email subject.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This is a useful option if your website has a number of 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. Enter the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

Cleverness - To Do Item Email From Field

From Email

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

to do list Cleverness - To Do Item Email From Field

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

In this field, add a subject field for the email that will be sent automatically to users whenever new items have been added in your to-do list …

to do list Cleverness - Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Text in Emails Sent to User

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can perform database maintenance operations associated with plugin data directly from your plugin settings area itself …

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

This is useful if, for example, you see that previously deleted items are still displaying on your site.

The following tasks can be performed in this section:

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


Any database operations carried out 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 remember to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to do manual backups, then consider using the services of a professional WordPress provider, or use WordPress backup plugins. You can learn more about a great WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to automate file and database backups here:

User Permissions

In this area you can configure user permissions and capabilities for Group or Master List types …

Cleverness to-do list - User Permissions Settings Tab


If you are using Individual List, the only permission applicable for this section is the View To-Do List option …

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

If you are setting up user permissions and capabilities for Group or Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you would like users to be able to perform for each option …

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

By default, general capabilities for each user role are configured 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-admin users should only be authorized to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list itself.

WP plugin to do lists - User Permissions Tab

Let’s review the settings for this tab:

View To-Do List

Here you can enable 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 enable the chosen capability to mark items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This setting allows the selected capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This setting allows the selected capability to edit existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This option 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 permit 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

This enables the chosen capability to add new categories.


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may decide to transfer data from one website to another, or store the data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

WordPress to-do list plugin - Import/Export Settings

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

Cleverness to do list - Import/Export

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a window allowing you to view or download your data in a plain text file (e.g. Notepad) to a storage medium (e.g. your hard drive) …

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

As well as exporting data from the ‘Import/Export’ section, you can also export data by going to your admin menu and choosing Tools > Export

Export WP Menu

You can include to-do list data in a WordPress 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 your hard drive…

Tools > Export WP - Export To Do

Importing To-Do List Data

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

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

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

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

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

to-do list Cleverness - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings Section - Import 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 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 - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin - 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 from your dashboard bar …

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

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

WP plugin to do lists - Add A New Item To Your To-Do 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 already contains many items, as the link is only going to send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the screen) …

Cleverness plugin WP - Adding New Items To Your List

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

Depending on how you have configured the plugin’s settings, some options may not display when adding 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 to-do item …

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

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

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

You can also assign items to multiple users (click on ‘x’ to remove users) …

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

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

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

Repeat the above process to continue adding new items to your to-do list …

Cleverness - Add New To Do Items

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 Deleting To Do Items

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

Cleverness plugin - View To-Do List User Dashboard

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

Cleverness plugin - Completed To-Do Item

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

Cleverness - Complete To Do List Item

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

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

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness plugin offers additional functions that let you display to-do lists on your WordPress website using widgets, and insert a list into content inside a page or post using shortcodes.

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 list to show …

Cleverness to-do lists - Using The Plugin Widget

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

plugin to do lists - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

The to-do list will now display on your site where you have added the widget (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

plugin to do lists - Plugin Widget

To learn more about how to use widgets in WordPress, see the tutorial below:

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

You can also add lists and checklists to your site with shortcodes.

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

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

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - Shortcodes

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

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Shortcodes

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

Once you know what information you want to display on your site, create or edit a new or existing page or post and either type or paste the short code inside the content section …


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

Using Plugin Shortcodes

Visit this site to learn more about this plugin:

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


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