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How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

Creating A To-Do List In WordPress

Time always seems to be in short supply, especially if you run a fast-paced business or manage any kind of project that involves people working as a team.

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

Now … on top of all this, add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website updated with fresh content and things can start becoming unmanageable and out of control.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a project, it’s important to be able to organize and prioritize your activities, monitor your progress and daily accomplishments, and, if necessary, delegate responsibilities to members of your team effectively.

One simple “tried and true” method that can help you save time, alleviate stress, and allow you to take control is to use a “to do” list.

The Benefits Of Using To-Do Lists

A “to do” list can help you track your progress when working towards your goals. Your to-do list can be very detailed or specific, or serve as a concise 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:


A to-do list helps you create order, stay organized and achieve your goals sooner.

Better Manage Your Time

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

Document Your Work

To-do lists let you retain documented logs of what has been done. You can use this to provide evidence of work done to clients or employers, or simply as a method of helping you track your own productivity and efficiency.


Without accountability there is no commitment to completion, and no motivation to take meaningful action. Lack of accountability can also let excuses creep in and influence your productivity.

Delegate Better

To-do lists help you better delegate tasks to others. This is also important if you plan to collaborate with others (see further below).

As you can see, there are many benefits to using to do lists, both in business and in your personal life. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work in a systematic way and your business efficiency and productivity will surely increase.

What about using a to do list on your website?

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

Cleverness To-Do List

Download The Plugin


Plugin Description

This WordPress plugin lets you easily add customizable to-do lists to a WordPress website or blog.

Plugin Features

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

You can configure the plugin 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 has a variety of settings available. You can assign to do items to specific users (this includes a setting to email a new to-do item to users) and optionally to have those items be viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels using capabilities. There are also settings available to enable the display of deadline and progress fields. Category support is included as well as front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the admin backend to manage your list and the to do lists are also displayed on the dashboard widget.

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

If you plan to run a multi-author blog you can use the plugin to create custom to-do lists for your post editors if you also own the developer’s premium plugin, Post Planner.

How To Install The Plugin

From your WordPress admin, scroll down the menu and choose Plugins > Add New

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

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

Once the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ section …

Let’s go through the plugin configuration process …

Plugin Configuration

The plugin’s ‘Settings’ screen is divided into 4 tabs:

Let’s configure each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

To-Do List Categories

Choose ‘Enabled’ to organize your lists 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 will not be visible when using sidebar widgets or short codes (only when ‘Sort Order’ is set to ‘Category’)

List View

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

Sort Order

‘Sort Order’ lets you specify how to sort your to-do list items.

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display which of your users has added an item to your 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 your to-do items.

Show Deadline

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

Show Progress

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

Show Admin Bar Menu

Enabling this option displays the ‘To-Do List’ menu 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 lists using paragraphs.

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, developed by the same author to help make managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

Go here to learn more this plugin: WordPress Post Planner

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

Advanced Settings

After configuring the settings in the To-Do List Settings tab, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to continue …

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ area …

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

Let’s take you 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

This section lets you specify how to display dates on your todo lists (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about formatting dates in WordPress, refer to 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 (important), middle and lowest items …

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

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option displays item IDs on your list …

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) shows the date the To-Do Items table was added …

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

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

The following options can be configured in this area:

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

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can display items only to users who have been specifically 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 area Editor to display the type of users that can be assigned todo items. Leave the checkbox unticked for any roles that you do not want to assign to-do items.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

If you don’t want emails sent out to users, then leave this option disabled.

Note: If this option is disabled, skip the other 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 in the subject of emails sent to users …

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

If you don’t want categories added to the subject of your emails, then leave this option disabled.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

If enabled, you can display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This option is useful if, for example, you have a number of project managers assigning to-do items to users …

From Field for Emails Sent to User

This field allows you to customize the “From” field when sending out emails to users. Enter your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

From Email

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Add into this field a subject field for the email that will be automatically sent to users whenever a new item has been added in 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

This section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab lets you carry out database maintenance operations related to plugin data inside your plugin settings area itself without the need to log into your web server …

This function is useful if, for example, you see that to-do items you have already deleted are still appearing 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 we recommend backing up your WP database first.

If you don’t want to do your own backups, then hire a professional service, or use a WordPress backup plugin. You can learn more about a great WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to perform complete WordPress backups here:

User Permissions

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

If you choose the Individual List type, the only setting applicable for this section is the View To-Do List option …

If you are setting up user permissions and capabilities for Group or 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 set as follows:

Note: When using the Master list type non-administrators should only be authorized to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list itself.

Let’s go through the settings in the User Permissions section:

View To-Do List

Here you can allow 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

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

Add To-Do Item Capability

This setting enables the chosen capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This permits the chosen capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This setting enables 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 enable 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.


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may decide to copy over data from one site to another, or store the list data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

Use this section to easily import and export your to-do list data 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 a plain text file (e.g. Notepad) to a storage medium …

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

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

Importing To-Do List Data

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

Locate the file and click ‘Open’ …

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

Your file will be imported.

Now that you have configured all of the plugin settings, you can start creating and editing your lists.

Plugin Usage

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’ screen …

How To Add A New Item To Your List

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

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

You can also add new items to your to-do list from 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 contains many items, as the link is only going to send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the screen) …

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

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.

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

Note: If you have chosen 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 users) …

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

Repeat this process to continue adding new items to your list …

Edit And Delete Items

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

Depending on how you have configured your settings (discussed in the 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 it inside their dashboard …

When the user assigned with an item completes the task and clicks on the item check box …

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

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

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness plugin provides additional functions that let you display to-do lists on your site using widgets, and display a list on content inside a page or post using short codes.

Using The Cleverness To-Do List 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 location in your sidebar menu where you would like your to-do list to display …

Configure the widget settings and click ’Save’ …

The to-do list will now display where the ‘to-do-list’ widget has been placed (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

The Cleverness plugin also lets you create lists and checklists on your site by inserting short codes into your content.

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

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

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

The documentation section explains different ways to configure and use short codes for displaying lists and checklists on your content.

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

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

Visit the plugin website here for more details about this plugin:

Congratulations! Now you know how to add to-do lists in WordPress.


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