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 - Creating To Do Lists In WordPressTime always seems to be in short supply, especially if you are a busy person trying to run a business or manage a team.

There is just so much to do and remember. You have clients to meet, urgent tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to extinguish, deliveries to make, commitments to keep and so on. The “doing” never stops.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and maintaining your website updated with regular content and everything suddenly begins feeling 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 activities.

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

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to do” list can help you monitor your progress when working towards a certain goal. Your to-do list can be detailed and specific, or act as a 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:

Free Your Brain

Writing a to do list means you don’t have to keep remembering things or clutter your mind with details. Once things 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.

Better Time Management

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

Reorganize And Reschedule Quickly

Having a to do list helps you better deal with changes in circumstances. If you suddenly find that a meeting gets cancelled at the last minute or extra time becomes available because a task got completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reschedule or reorganize and keep moving forward with minimal disruption.

Ensures Accountability

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

Feeling Of Accomplishment

Crossing items off a to do list not only makes you feel more productive, motivated and in-control, it also allows you to relax more, as you can objectively see (or show) that the work is getting done 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. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work systematically and productivity and efficiency in your business is sure to increase.

Let’s turn now to using to do lists on your website or blog. More specifically, adding a to do list to WordPress.

In this detailed tutorial we are going to show you how to easily add a to do list to WordPress to help your team get things done  faster and more efficiently using a customizable, multi-featured to do list WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness WP plugin to do lists

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Download URL

Plugin Description

This WordPress plugin lets you easily add a to-do list to WordPress.

Plugin Features

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

You can configure Cleverness To-Do List with 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 option has a variety of settings available. You can assign to do items to specific users (this includes emailing new to do items to the assigned user) and optionally to have assigned items be viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users based on user roles. There are also settings available to enable the display of deadline and progress fields. Category support is also included in the front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the admin backend to manage your lists and the to-do list can also display 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 2 shortcodes for front-end administration of the list. Management of categories is accessed via the back-end admin section.

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

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Installation

Inside your WordPress admin area, go to the main menu and choose Plugins > Add New

Plugin Menu

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

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

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

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

Note: You can also activate this plugin from the Plugins area …

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

Once the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

Note: You can also get to the settings screen by choosing To-Do List > Settings from the dashboard menu …

plugin to do list Cleverness - To-Do List

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ screen …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Settings

The section below shows you how to set up the plugin …

Plugin Configuration

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

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

Let’s now review each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness plugin to do list - To-Do List Settings

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 gets added to the To-Do List plugin menu …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - To Do List Menu Categories

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

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

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

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

List View

List View allows you to choose how lists will be viewed. There are three list views you can select:

  • Individual – Selecting this option allows each user to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Choosing this option lets users share one to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you to have one master list for all users, where users have their own individual items to complete. 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 to-do lists plugin - To Do List Settings Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

If enabled, you can display which of your members has added an item to the to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

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

Show Deadline

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

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 lists plugin - To-Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays the ‘To-Do List’ menu in your WordPress Admin bar

Cleverness WP to do list plugin - 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

to do lists Cleverness - To-Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If 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, from the same plugin developer that helps to make managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Editorial Solution Plugin

Go here to learn more this plugin: WordPress Post Planner – Plugin For WordPress

After you have configured your options, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WordPress button - save changes

Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness to-do lists - Advanced Settings Tab

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ area …

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

This screen lets you customize your To Do lists, assign to-do items to users and perform 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’ screen allows you to customize your To-Do List …

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

The following settings can be configured in this section:

Date Format

Here you can 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, see the date section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

If this option is enabled, the item’s ID will show on the list …

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

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If enabled (‘Yes’), the date your to-do list was added shows on your To-Do Items table …

Cleverness plugin to do list - sort by date

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 options in this section and assign items to other users …

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

The following settings can be configured in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can assign to-do items to other users …

plugin to-do list Cleverness - 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 enabled, you can display to-do items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled will display items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this area Subscriber) to display the type of users that can be assigned todo items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a specific role, then leave its check box unticked.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

When you enable this option, WordPress will automatically send users an email with their assigned to-do items …

to do lists Cleverness - Assigned To-Do Items Email

If you don’t want emails sent out to users, then leave this option disabled (‘No’).

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 …

plugin to do list Cleverness - Add Category to Subject

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want to-do categories to show the subject of your emails.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This option is useful if, for example, your website has a number of project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

From Email

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

Cleverness plugin - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

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.

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab allows you to carry out database maintenance tasks related to plugin data directly from the plugin settings area itself …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Advanced Settings > Clean up Database

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

The following tasks 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 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 we recommend backing up your database first.

If you don’t want to perform manual backups, then consider using a professional service, or use a WordPress backup plugin. You can read about a WordPress backup plugin that can fully automate your site backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness plugin to do list - User Permissions Settings Tab

Important Info

If you choose the Individual List type, the only item applicable in this section is the View To-Do List permission …

Cleverness to-do list plugin - User Permissions Tab - View To-Do-List

If you plan to configure user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you want users to be able to perform for each option …

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

By default, general capabilities of 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-administrators should only be allowed to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness plugin to-do list - User Permissions Settings Tab

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

View To-Do List

This enables 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

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

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the selected capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This setting allows the chosen capability to modify existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This setting permits the selected capability to delegate items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This setting allows 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 permit the selected capability to purge all the completed items.

Add Categories Capability

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


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be very useful. For example, you may want to transfer data from an existing list to another website, or store the data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

WP to-do lists plugin - Import/Export Settings

Use this section to easily export or import your list and plugin settings …

Cleverness WordPress plugin to-do lists - Import/Export

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a new window allowing you to download and save the data in plain text format to a storage device …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - Import/Export Tab - Export Settings

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

Export WP

You can include to-do list data in an export file (in XML format), either by checking ‘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 save your file to your hard drive…

WP Menu Export - Export To Do Data File

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 Section - Import To-Do Data File

Select the file and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

Your file data will be imported.

After configuring all plugin settings, you are ready to start create and edit to do lists.

How To Use The Plugin

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

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

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

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

How To Add New Items To Your List

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

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

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

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

Cleverness to do lists - How To Add 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 will simply send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the screen) …

WP to do list plugin - Adding A New Item To Your To Do List

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

Depending on the way you have set up your plugin, some options may not display when new items to your to-do list.

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 …

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

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

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 a user) …

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

Once After adding a new item, the item will be listed as an entry in the ‘To-Do Items’ table …

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

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

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

Edit And Delete Items

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

Editing And Deleting To-Do Items From Your List

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

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

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

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

When users assigned with completing an item click on the item checkbox …

Cleverness to-do list plugin WP - Complete To Do List Item User Dashboard

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Complete To-Do List Item

Additional Information

The Cleverness plugin provides added functionality that lets you display to-do lists on your WordPress site using widgets, and display lists on content inside a post or page using shortcodes.

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 would like your to-do list to appear …

plugin to-do list - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness plugin WP to-do lists - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

The to-do list will appear wherever the widget has been inserted (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness plugin - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

You can also create lists and checklists to your site by inserting short codes into your content.

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin - Using Plugin Shortcodes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

This documentation section explains various ways to configure and use short codes for displaying lists and checklists on your pages and posts.

Once you know what type of information you would like to add to your site, create or edit a new or existing post or page and either type or paste the shortcode inside the content section …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

After publishing your page or post, you will see the list displayed in the location where you have added the shortcode …

Plugin Short Codes

Visit the plugin website to learn more about this plugin:

Congratulations! Now you can create and add to-do lists to your WordPress site or blog.


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