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How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

Creating To-Do Lists In WordPress

There are never enough hours in the day to get everything done, especially if you are a busy person trying to run a business or manage a team.

There are so many things to do and remember. You have deadlines to meet, tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to extinguish, calls and appointments to make, commitments to keep and so on. The stress of trying to get things done on time never stops.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and maintaining your website or blog updated with fresh content and things can quickly start becoming unmanageable and overwhelming.

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

A proven method 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 track your progress when working towards specific goals. Your to do list can be minutely detailed and specific, or just serve as a concise reminder of the things that need to be done over a given period of time.

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

Free The Brain

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

Prioritize Your Time

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time. You can gain a better perspective on what is truly important vs what is not, and what steps should be completed first.

Reorganize Quickly

Using to do lists help you better deal with situations. If you suddenly find that an appointment has been cancelled or extra time is made available when a task gets completed sooner than expected, you can continue moving forward with little to minimal loss of focus.

Ensures Accountability

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

Sense Of Accomplishment

Ticking items off to do lists not only makes you feel more productive, motivated and in-control, it also lets you 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 towards completing the tasks you have listed and productivity and efficiency in your business is sure to increase.

What about adding to-do lists to your website or blog?

In this detailed step-by-step tutorial you are going to learn how to create a to do list in WordPress to help your business grow  faster and more efficiently using a customizable, multi-featured to-do list plugin for WordPress called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Plugin Download URL


Plugin Description

This plugin provides users with a to do list feature.


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

You can set up the plugin to have 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 has a variety of settings available. You can delegate to do items to a specific user (this includes emailing new to-do items to users) and optionally to have those items only viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users based on user roles. There are also settings available to display deadline and progress fields. Category support is also included in the front-end administration.

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

A sidebar widget is also available as short code to display the to do list items on your blog. There are 2 short codes for front-end list administration. Category management 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.

Installing The Plugin

Log into your WP admin and choose Plugins > Add New …

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

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

After the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ page …

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

Configuring The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The Settings screen is divided into 4 sections:

Let’s take you through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings


Choose ‘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 is added to the To-Do List plugin menu …

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

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

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

List View

List View allows you to specify how lists are viewed. You can choose from three list views:

Sort Order

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

If you choose Alphabetical, Category or ID 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 works if ‘List View’ is set to ‘Group’.

Show Date Completed

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

Show Deadline

If enabled, you will be able to specify deadlines for your to-do tasks …

Show Progress

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), 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 WordPress Dashboard Admin bar

Use WYSIWYG Editor

This option lets you 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 list items 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 …

Visit this site to learn more about using this plugin: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Multi-Author Publishing Plugin

When you have finished configuring your plugin options in this section, click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

Advanced Settings

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

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

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

Let’s go 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 …

The following options can be configured in this section:

Date Format

In this area you can specify how to display dates on your to-do list (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about formatting dates in WordPress, visit the relevant section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

In this area you can customize your labels for prioritizing highest, normal and lowest (low) items …

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

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option will display item IDs on the list …

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays the date your table of items was added …

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 settings in this section and assign items to other users …

You can configure the following options in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you 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

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

User Roles to Show

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

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

When this option is enabled (‘Yes’), WordPress will automatically send users an email with their assigned to-do items …

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

Note: If you disable this option, you can skip other settings in this section.

Add Category to Subject

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

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

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

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 site has multiple project managers assigning to-do items to users …

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

From Email

Enter the email address that you would like displayed as the “sent from” address …

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Add into this field a subject field for the email that will be distributed automatically to users whenever new items have been added in your to-do list …

Text in Emails Sent to User

Type in 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

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

This is useful if, for example, you notice that todo items you have already deleted are still displaying on your site.

The tasks below can be performed:

Any actions that you perform on the 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 make sure to backup your WordPress database first.

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

User Permissions

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

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

If you plan to configure user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you would like users to have access to for each option …

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

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

Let’s go through the settings for this section:

View To-Do List

This option permits the selected 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 items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This permits the selected capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the chosen capability to edit existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the chosen capability to assign items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can permit the chosen capability to view all tasks even if “Show Each User Only Their Assigned Tasks” is set to ‘Yes’.

Delete To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the selected capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

This permits the chosen capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

This option permits the chosen capability to add new categories.


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

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

Now you can import or export your to-do list data and plugin settings …

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

This opens up a new window allowing you to download and save the data in a plain text file (e.g. Notepad) to a storage device (e.g. your hard drive) …

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

You can include to-do list data in a WordPress 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 on the ‘Download Export File’ button to save your file to your 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 …

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

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

Your file data will be imported.

After configuring all plugin settings, you are ready to begin creating and editing your lists.

How To Use The Plugin

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

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

Adding New Items To Your List

There are several 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 …

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

You can also 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 is only going to send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the screen) …

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

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

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

Note: If you have selected a list type that allows you to assign responsibilities over items to 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) …

Once you have added the new item, it will be listed as an entry in the ‘To-Do Items’ table …

Repeat this process to continue 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 next to each item under the ‘Action’ column …

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

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

When users responsible for an item complete the task and tick the item check box …

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

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

Additional Information

The Cleverness plugin offers additional functions that let you display to-do lists on your WordPress website using widgets, and insert lists into any post or page using short codes.


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 location in your sidebar menu where you want the to-do list to display …

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

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

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

You can also display lists and checklists to your site by placing shortcodes into your content.

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

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

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

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

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

Publish your post or page and you will see the list showing where you entered the shortcode …

Go here for more information about this plugin:

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


"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)


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