How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

WordPress Plugin Tutorials - How To Create A To-Do List In WordPressTime is always in short supply, especially if you are running a hectic business.

There is just too much to do and remember. You have deadlines to meet, projects to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to extinguish, appointments to make, schedules 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 maintaining your website updated with new content and everything can start becoming unmanageable and chaotic.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a team, you need to be able to organize and prioritize your activities, track your progress and daily accomplishments, and, if necessary, delegate tasks and responsibilities to team members effectively.

A ”tried and true” tool that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability and allow you to regain control, is to use a “to-do” list.


To Do Lists – Benefits

A “to do” list helps you keep track of your progress when trying to complete tasks. Your to do list can be quite detailed and specific, or serve as a concise reminder of tasks that need doing over a given period of time.

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

Free Your Brain

Creating to do lists means you won’t have to try and remember things or store information inside your brain. Once things are recorded on a to-do list, your mind is free to process other information and you can focus on more important things.


Creating and organizing to do lists helps you break down your workload into doable tasks and come up with a strategy for getting everything done on budget and on time.

Quickly Reorganize Or Reschedule

Using to-do lists help you better handle sudden and unexpected situations. If you find that an appointment has been cancelled at short notice or extra time becomes available because some task got completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reorganize or reschedule and continue moving forward with little to no loss of focus.

Ensures Accountability

Without accountability there’s no commitment to completion, and no motivation to act with a sense of purpose. Lack of accountability can also allow excuses to creep in and take over your work day.

Feeling Of Accomplishment

Ticking items off to do lists gives you a feeling of accomplishment and allows you to stress less, as you can objectively see (or show) that work is indeed getting done and that things are moving forward.

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 your business productivity and efficiency will surely improve.

What about using to do lists on your website or blog?

Creating To-Do Lists In WordPress

In this detailed tutorial we are going to show you how to easily add to do lists to a WordPress website or blog to help your team get things done  faster and more efficiently using a great little WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness to do lists

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Download URL


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


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

You can configure Cleverness To-Do List with private to-do lists for individual users, 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 has a variety of settings available. You can delegate to-do items to specific users (this includes a setting to email a new to do item to the user) and optionally to have assigned items be viewable 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 backend to manage your lists and your to do list 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 site. There are two short codes for front-end list administration. Management of categories is accessed via the back-end admin section.

If you plan to run a multi-author site you can use the to-do lists plugin to create custom to-do lists for your post editors if you also install a copy of the Post Planner plugin.

Installing The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Log into your site’s dashboard and in the main menu choose Plugins > Add New …

WordPress Plugin Install

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin after installing it …

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

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

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

After you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

Note: The plugin’s ‘Settings’ area can also be accessed by choosing To-Do List > Settings from your dashboard menu …

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

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ section …

Cleverness - To-Do List Settings

Let’s go through the plugin setup process …

Setting Up The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

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

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

Let’s take you through each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

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


Choose ‘Enabled’ to organize lists 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 to do list - To-Do List Menu Categories

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

Cleverness - To Do List Categories Section

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

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

List View

List View lets you choose how lists are viewed. There are three list views:

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

WordPress plugin to do list - To Do List Sort Order

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

If you choose Category, Alphabetical or ID, Category, ID or Alphabetical options, items will be sorted first 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 if ‘List View’ is set to ‘Group’.

Show Date Completed

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

Show Deadline

Enabling this option lets you specify deadlines for your to-do tasks …

plugin to do lists Cleverness - To Do List Deadline

Show Progress

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

to-do lists plugin - To Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), the ‘To-Do List’ menu displays in your WordPress Admin bar

plugin to-do lists Cleverness - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - To-Do List WYSIYG 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 collaborative site or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, from the same plugin developer that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - Editorial Solution Plugin For WordPress

To learn more about using this WordPress plugin, go here: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Plugin

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

WP save changes

Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - Advanced Settings

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ area …

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

This tab lets you customize your To Do lists, assign to-do tasks to other users and carry out database maintenance tasks.

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

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

In this area you can customize your To-Do List …

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

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Date Format

In this area 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 formatting dates in WordPress, refer to the relevant section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

In this section you can customize labels for important, normal and lowest priority items …

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

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

Cleverness plugin to-do lists WP - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays item IDs on the list …

Cleverness plugin - Show To Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If enabled, the date your to-do list was added appears on your items table …

plugin to do lists Cleverness - sort by date

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

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

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

The following options can be configured in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

If enabled, you can assign to-do items to other users …

to do lists 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

Enable this option to display 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

Checking the boxes in this section (Administrator displays the type of users that can be assigned items. If you don’t want to assign to-do items to a role, then leave its checkbox unticked.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

Cleverness plugin - Assigned To Do Items Email

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Add Category to Subject

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

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

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 option is useful if, for example, your site has multiple project managers assigning to-do items to users …

to-do list Cleverness - 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 in this field …

Cleverness - To-Do Item Email From Field

From Email

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

to do list Cleverness - Show Who Assigned the To Do Item in 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 when new items have been assigned in your to-do list …

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

Type into this field the body of the email message that will be sent out automatically to users when a new item has been assigned to your to-do list.

WP plugin 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 tasks associated with plugin data directly from your plugin settings area without the need to log into your web server …

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

This is useful if, for example, you see that old todo items are still appearing on your site.

The following tasks can be performed:

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

Important Info

Any database operations carried out from this screen cannot be undone. If you are comfortable 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 back up your files yourself, then consider using professional WordPress support services, or use a backup plugin. You can learn more about a great WordPress backup plugin that can fully automate your site backups here: Backup, Clone And Protect Your WP Websites With Backup Creator WP Plugin

User Permissions

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

Cleverness plugin WP - User Permissions Settings Tab

Important Info

If you select the Individual List type, the only item that is applicable for this section is the View To-Do List permission …

Cleverness - User Permissions Settings - 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 have access to for each option …

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

The 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 permitted to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

to-do lists Cleverness - User Permissions

Below is a description of the settings for this tab:

View To-Do List

This permits 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 allow the selected capability to mark items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This allows the selected capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the selected capability to edit existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the selected capability to delegate to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

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

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can allow the chosen capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

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


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

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

Cleverness to-do lists - Import/Export Settings

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Import/Export Settings

Exporting To-Do List Data

You can export and download your 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 new window allowing you to view or save your data as plain text to an internal or external hard drive …

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

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

WP Tools > Export Menu

You can include to-do list data in an 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 the ‘Download Export File’ button to save your file to your hard drive…

WordPress Menu Tools > Export - To Do Data

Importing To-Do List Data

Importing a previously saved to-do list data file is easy. Just click on the ‘Browse’ button next to the ‘Choose File to Import’ field …

Cleverness - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings Section - Import To-Do Data File

Select the file and click ‘Open’ …

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

After uploading the data file to your settings area, click the ‘Import Settings’ button …

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

Your file data will be imported.

Now that you have configured all plugin settings, you are ready to begin create and edit to do lists.

Plugin Usage

To create a new to-do list, log into your WordPress dashboard, then scroll down the menu and click on To-Do List > To-Do List

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

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

to-do lists Cleverness - To-Do List screen

Adding New To Do Items

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

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

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

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

plugin to-do list - 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, since the link will simply take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the page) …

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

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

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

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

to do list plugin Cleverness - Add A New Item To Your List

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

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

After After adding a new item, the item will display as an entry in the ‘To-Do List’ table …

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

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

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

Editing And Deleting Items From Your List

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

Editing And Deleting To Do Items

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

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

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

Cleverness to-do list - View To-Do List User Dashboard

When users responsible for completing an item tick the item checkbox …

Cleverness plugin WP - Complete To-Do List Items User Dashboard

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

to do lists plugin - Complete To Do Items User Dashboard

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

WP plugin to-do list - Complete To-Do Items User Dashboard

Additional Information

The Cleverness plugin offers added functionality that lets you display to-do lists on your website using widgets, and add lists to content inside a post or page using short codes.


To add to-do lists 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 your to-do list to display …

to do lists Cleverness - Using The Plugin Widget

Configure the widget settings and click ’Save’ …

Cleverness plugin to-do list - Plugin Widget

Your to-do list will display where you have placed the widget (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

Plugin Shortcodes

The plugin also lets you create to-do lists and checklists to your site by placing shortcodes into your content.

To access the plugin’s short code documentation, select To-Do List > To-Do List from the WP admin menu …

Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

WP plugin to do list - Plugin Short Codes

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

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

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

Plugin Short Codes

Publish your post or page and you should see the list showing where you have added the short code …

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Shortcodes

For more details about this plugin, visit the plugin website here: Cleverness To-Do List WordPress Plugin

Congratulations! Now you can create and add to-do lists in WordPress.


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