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How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

How To Create To Do Lists In WordPress

Time is always in short supply, especially when you are running a growing business.

There are so many things to do and remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, projects to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to put out, deliveries to make, commitments to keep and so on. The amount of things that need to get done never seems to stop.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra dimension of promoting and growing your business online and maintaining your website or blog updated with fresh content and everything can quickly start to feel 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 manage your day.

A proven tool that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability, and allow you to take control is to use “to do” lists.

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to-do” list helps you measure your progress as you complete projects. Your to do list can be quite detailed and very specific, or just serve as a 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:

To-Do Lists Create Order

To-do lists help you create order, stay organized and achieve your goals sooner.

Better Strategic Planning

After creating and organizing your to do list, you can see the bigger picture and create a strategic plan for getting everything completed on time and on budget.

Quickly Reorganize And Reschedule

Using to-do lists help you better cope with events. If you find that an appointment has been cancelled at short notice or extra time is made available when some aspect of the project gets completed sooner than expected, you can keep working with little to minimal disruption.

Relieve Stress

Stress can result from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and so little time to do it in. Creating a to-do list lets you prioritize important tasks that need to be completed immediately, and reschedule non-urgent items that can be worked on at a later time. This can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and take away some of the stress you (and your team) may be feeling.

Collaborate Better With Others

Creating to-do lists and other project management tools is essential for working with others 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. Creating a to-do list, prioritizing tasks and working in a systematic way increases efficiency and productivity in your business.

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

In this detailed step-by-step tutorial we are going to show you how to easily add a to-do list to your WordPress site to improve business efficiency and productivity using a great little plugin for WordPress called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin


Plugin Description

This plugin lets you easily add a to do list to a WP website or blog.

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Features

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

You can configure the plugin with private to-do lists for individual users, to have all users share a to-do list, or to have a master list with individual completion of items.

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

A new menu item is added to the admin backend to help you manage your lists and your to do list can also be displayed on a dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is also available as shortcode to display the to do list items on your site. There are 2 shortcodes for front-end list administration. Management of categories is accessed via the back-end.

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

Installing The Plugin

In your site’s administration area, scroll down the main menu and click on Plugins > Add New

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

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

After you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ area …

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

Configuring The Plugin

The Settings area is divided into four tabs:

Let’s now review each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings


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

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

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

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

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

List View

List View allows you to choose how lists will be viewed. There are 3 list views:

Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option lets you display which members have 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 displays completion dates for your to-do tasks.

Show Deadline

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

Show Progress

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

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

Use WYSIWYG Editor

If enabled, you can add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display content in your to-do lists using paragraphs.

Integrate with Post Planner

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

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

After you are done configuring your plugin options in this section, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

Advanced Settings

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

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

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

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 …

You can configure the following options in this section:

Date Format

This section lets you specify how to display dates in your todo list (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

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

Items prioritized as “important” are shown in red and lowest (low) priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled, item IDs show up on the to-do list …

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

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 …

You can configure the following options in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

If this option is enabled, you can assign tasks to other users …

Note: This set this option to ‘Yes’ for the settings below it to work.

Show a User Only the To-Do Items Assigned to Them

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays to-do items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leave this option disabled to display items to all users.

User Roles to Show

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

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want emails sent out to users.

Note: If this option is disabled, skip the other settings in this section.

Add Category to Subject

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

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

If you don’t want to show to-do categories in the email subject, then leave this option disabled (‘No’).

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enable this option to display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This is a useful option if your website has multiple project managers assigning to-do items to users …

From Field for Emails Sent to User

This field lets you customize the “From” field when sending out email notices to users. Type your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

From Email

Type in the email address that you want showing as the “sent from” address …

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

In this field, type a subject field for the email that will be sent automatically to users when a new item has been assigned to your to-do list …

Text in Emails Sent to User

Add 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.

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can carry out database maintenance operations related to plugin data inside your plugin settings area …

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

The following tasks can be performed in this section:

Actions that you perform on your database from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are sure that you want to carry out database maintenance in this section, then make sure to backup your WordPress database first.

If you don’t want to perform your own site backups, then get assistance from a WordPress professional, or use WordPress backup plugins. Learn about a great WordPress backup plugin that can automate your backup process here:

User Permissions

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

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

If you are setting up 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 …

By default, general capabilities of each user role are as follows:

Note: When working with the Master list type non-administrator users should only be permitted to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list.

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

View To-Do List

This option enables 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 permit the chosen capability to mark to-do items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the chosen capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the chosen capability to modify existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

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

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can permit the selected capability to purge all the completed items.

Add Categories Capability

This option allows 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 transfer data from an existing to-do list to another website, or store your list data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

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

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

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

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 download your file to a storage medium…

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 …

Locate the previously saved to-do list data file and click ‘Open’ …

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

Your file will be imported.

Now that you have configured all of the 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

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

Add New To-Do Items To Your List

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

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

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 …

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 down the page) …

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

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

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 …

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

You can also make multiple users responsible for the same item (click on ‘x’ to remove a user) …

After you have added the new item, it will display as an entry in the ‘To-Do List’ table …

Repeat this process to add new items to your to-do list …

Editing And Removing To Do Items From Your List

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Information

The Cleverness plugin provides added functionality that lets you display a to-do list on your WordPress website using widgets, and insert a list into content inside a page or post using short codes.

Plugin Widget

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 location in your sidebar (or footer) menu where you want your list to display …

Configure the settings in the widget and click ’Save’ …

The list will now display wherever the widget was added (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

The Cleverness plugin also lets you create lists on your site using shortcodes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit the plugin website to learn more about this plugin:

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


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