How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

How To Create A To-Do List In WordPress

WP Plugin Tutorials - Creating To Do Lists In WordPressWhen you are running a hectic business or managing other people, there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done.

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

Now … add the extra dimension of promoting and growing your business online and maintaining your website or blog updated with regular content and everything can start becoming unmanageable and chaotic.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a team, it’s important to be able to organize and prioritize your daily activities, keep track of your progress, and, if necessary, delegate tasks and responsibilities to members of your team or staff efficiently.

One proven method that can help you save time, reduce stress, 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 towards your goals. Your to-do list can be detailed and specific, or act as a reminder of what needs to be done over a given period of time.

Here are just a few of the benefits of using to do lists:

Stay Organized

A to-do list helps you create order, keep things organized and achieve your goals faster.

Be More Strategic

By creating and organizing a to-do list, you can break down your workload into more doable tasks and create a strategy for getting tasks done effectively.

Quickly Reorganize

A to do list helps you better deal with events. If you find that an appointment gets cancelled at short notice or extra time becomes available when a task gets completed sooner than expected, you can keep moving forward with minimal loss of focus.

Ensures Accountability

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

Delegate Better

A to do list helps you delegate tasks to other people better. This is also important when collaborating within a team (see further below).

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 systematic way increases your business efficiency and productivity.

Let’s turn now to using to-do lists on your website. More specifically, how to add a to do list to WordPress.

In this detailed tutorial you are going to learn how to add to do lists to WordPress to improve business efficiency and productivity using a great little WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

Cleverness plugin

Download URL

Plugin Description

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

Plugin Features

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

You can configure 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 offers a number of settings. You can delegate to-do items to a specific user (this includes emailing a new to do item to the assigned user) and optionally to have those items be seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. 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 backend to manage your list and your to do list can also be displayed on a dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as shortcode to display the to-do list items on your blog. There are 2 short codes for front-end administration of the list. Management of categories is accessible via the back-end admin section.

If you plan to set up a multi-author blog you can use this to-do lists 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

From your WP dashboard section, go to the main menu and click on Plugins > Add New

Plugin Menu

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

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

Locate the Cleverness To-Do List entry in the Search Results area and click Install Now

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

Activate the plugin …

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

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

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

When you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

Note: You can also get to the plugin’s settings section by selecting To-Do List > Settings from the admin menu …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List > Settings Menu

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ page …

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

Let’s go through the plugin configuration process …

Configuring The Plugin

The Settings area is divided into four tabs:

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

Let’s now take you through each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

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


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

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

plugin to-do lists - To Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Add Category

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

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

List View

List View lets you choose how your to-do lists are viewed. There are 3 types of to-do list views available:

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

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

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

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

Show Added By

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can display which users have added an item to your to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

Enabling this option displays completion dates for to-do items.

Show Deadline

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

Cleverness plugin to do lists WordPress - To Do List Deadline

Show Progress

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness - To Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

If enabled, the ‘To-Do List’ menu displays in your WP Dashboard Admin bar

Cleverness to-do lists - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

Cleverness WordPress to-do list plugin - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option to display content in your to-do lists using paragraphs.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you plan to run a collaborative site or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To-Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, developed by the same author that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - Editorial Solution Plugin For WordPress

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

After configuring your options, click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WP 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 plugin to-do lists - Advanced Settings Tab

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ screen …

to do list Cleverness - Advanced Settings Tab

In this screen you can customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do tasks 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 to-do lists WordPress - To Do List Advanced Settings Tab - Customize To Do List Settings

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Date Format

In this section you can specify how to display dates in your todo lists (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about how to format dates in WordPress, visit 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, middle and lowest priority items …

Cleverness - Priority drop-down menu

Highest priority items are color-coded in red in your lists and lowest priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness plugin - color-coded priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) will display the item’s ID on the to-do list …

Cleverness plugin to do list - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness WordPress plugin to-do lists - 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 items to other users …

Cleverness 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

Enable this option to assign to-do items to other users …

to-do list Cleverness - 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

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display items only to users who have been assigned those items. Leave this option disabled (‘No’) to display to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

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

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

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

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

Note: If this option is disabled, skip the remaining items in this section.

Add Category to Subject

If you have enabled categories in your plugin settings and select ‘Yes’ for this option, the to-do category will display on the subject of your emails …

Cleverness - Add Category to Email Subject

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want to show to-do categories in 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 is a useful option if you have a number of project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

From Email

Add the email address that you would like showing as the “sent from” email address …

to-do list Cleverness - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Add a subject field for the email that will be sent automatically to users whenever new items have been assigned to your to-do list …

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

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.

Cleverness - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab allows you to perform database maintenance tasks related to plugin data inside the plugin settings area itself …

WP plugin to-do list - 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 – Delete any custom database tables that you are no longer using.
  • Delete All To-Do Items – Remove all to-do items.


Actions that you perform on the database from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are comfortable to proceed with any of the database operations available in this section, then we recommend backing up your WordPress database first.

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

User Permissions

Here you can configure user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types …

Cleverness to do list plugin - User Permissions Settings Tab


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

Cleverness plugin to-do list WordPress - User Permissions - View To Do-List drop-down menu

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

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

The default general capabilities of each user role are set as follows:

  • Subscribers: Read
  • Contributors: Edit Posts
  • Authors: Publish Posts
  • Editors: Edit Others Posts
  • Administrators: Manage Options

Note: When using the Master list type make sure that you only permit non-administrator users to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list itself.

WordPress to-do lists plugin - User Permissions Tab

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

View To-Do List

Here you can permit 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 permits the selected capability to mark items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option permits the selected capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This permits the chosen capability to edit existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This setting permits the selected capability to delegate 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

This setting allows the selected 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 items.

Add Categories Capability

Here you can permit the selected 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 copy over data from an existing to-do list to another website, or store the list data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Tab

Now you can easily import or export your data and plugin settings …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - 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’ …

Cleverness plugin WP - Import/Export Settings Tab - Import/Export Settings - Download Export File

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

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

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

Export Menu

You can include to-do list data in an export file (in XML format), either by selecting ‘All content’ (includes everything – pages, posts, etc…), or selecting ‘To-Do’ from the ‘Choose what to export’ section and clicking on the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to your hard drive…

Export WordPress Menu - Export To-Do

Importing To-Do List Data

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Use The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

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

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

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

WordPress plugin to do lists - To-Do List page

Add New To Do Items To Your List

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 bar …

to-do lists Cleverness - Adding A New Item To Your List

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

to-do list Cleverness - 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 already contains many items, as the link will simply take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the page) …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - How To Add New To Do Items To Your List

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

Depending on how you have configured the plugin settings, you may or may not see certain options displayed when when you add new to-do items.

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Assign To Do Items to Users

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editing And Deleting To-Do Items From Your List

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

Edit And Delete Items

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

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

After creating your to do list, users can view it from their user dashboard …

WP to-do list plugin - View To Do List User Dashboard

When users assigned with the item complete the task and tick the item checkbox …

WP to do list plugin - Complete To Do List Item

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

WordPress plugin to do lists - Complete To Do Items User Dashboard

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

to-do list plugin - Complete To Do List Item

Additional Plugin Information

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


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

Cleverness to-do lists plugin WordPress - Plugin Widget

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

WP to do lists plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

Your list will appear wherever you have inserted the ‘to-do-list’ widget (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness to do lists plugin - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

Cleverness To-Do List also lets you display lists and checklists on your site by inserting shortcodes into your content.

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

WP plugin to do list - To-Do List Menu

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

plugin to-do lists - Using Plugin Shortcodes

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

Plugin Shortcodes

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

Once you know what type of information you want to display on your site, open up a new post or page and either type or paste the shortcode inside the content editor …

Plugin Short Codes

Publish your page or post and you will see the list displayed where you have inserted the shortcode …

Using Plugin Shortcodes

Go here to learn more about this plugin:

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


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Originally published as How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress.