How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - How To Create A To-Do List In WordPressIf you plan to run a fast-paced business, time is always in short supply.

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

Now … add the extra dimension of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website updated with new content and everything can quickly start to feel unmanageable and out of control.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a project, you need to be able to organize and prioritize your daily tasks, keep track of your progress and daily accomplishments, and, if necessary, assign tasks to others efficiently.

One simple proven tool that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability, and allow you to gain some control is to use “to-do” lists.

The Benefits Of Using A To Do List

A “to-do” list can help you measure your progress as you work towards certain goals. Your to do list can be minutely detailed and specific, or act as a concise reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

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

Clearer Thinking

Writing a to-do list means that you won’t have to try and remember stuff or clutter your mind with details. Once things are jotted down on a to-do list, your brain is free to process information and you can focus on more important things.

Prioritize Your Time

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time and manage your workload more effectively. You can develop a clearer perspective on what’s more urgent vs what isn’t, and what steps should be completed first.

Keep Documented Work Logs

A to do list lets you retain documented logs of what has been done. You can use this to provide evidence of work done to employers or clients, or just as a means of helping you measure your own productivity and efficiency.


Without accountability there is 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 productivity.

Collaborate Better With Others

Using to-do lists and other project management tools is essential for getting other people involved 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 improves efficiency and productivity in your business.

What about adding to do lists to your WordPress website?

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

Cleverness To Do List

WP plugin to do list

Download The Plugin

Plugin Description

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

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Features

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

You can set up Cleverness To Do List with private to-do lists for each user, to have all users share your to do list, or to have a master list with individual completion of items.

The shared to-do list includes a number of different settings. You can delegate to-do items to specific users (this includes emailing new to-do items to assigned users) and optionally to have assigned items only seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. There are also settings to enable the display of 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 list and the to do list is also listed 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 two shortcodes for front-end administration of the list. Category management is accessed via the back-end.

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

Installing The Plugin

Log into your site’s admin area and choose Plugins > Add New …

WordPress Plugin Install

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

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

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

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

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

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

Once you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

Note: The plugin’s settings screen can also be accessed by choosing To-Do List > Settings from the admin menu …

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

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ area …

Cleverness plugin to do list - To Do List Settings Tab

Let’s go through the plugin configuration process …

Setting Up The Plugin

The Settings area is divided into four sections:

  • To-Do List Settings – Here you can specify the main plugin settings.
  • Advanced Settings – Here you can customize your to-do lists, assign to-do items 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 – Here you can import and export to-do plugin and list data settings.

Let’s take you through each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

plugin to-do list - To Do List Settings

To-Do List Categories

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

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

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

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

to do list plugin Cleverness - To-Do List Add Category

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

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

List View

List View lets you choose how lists are viewed. You can choose 3 kinds of to-do list views:

  • Individual – Choose this option if you want each user to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Select this option if you want all users 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 completion of items. If using the ‘Master’ list view, make sure that you adjust the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

to-do list plugin - To-Do List Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

If enabled, you can display which of your users has added an item to the to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), completion dates will display for your to-do items.

Show Deadline

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

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

Show Progress

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

Cleverness plugin - To Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

Enabling this option displays the ‘To-Do List’ menu in your WordPress Admin bar

Cleverness - 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 to-do list - To Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option to display content in to-do lists 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, developed by the same author that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner

For more details about using this plugin, go here: WordPress Post Planner

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

WP button save changes

Advanced Settings

After you have configured the general settings, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to continue …

WP plugin to do list - To Do List Advanced Settings

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

plugin to do lists Cleverness - Advanced Settings

In this area you can customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do tasks to other 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’ tab allows you to customize your To-Do List …

Cleverness WP to-do list plugin - To Do List Advanced Settings - Customize To-Do List Settings

The following settings can be configured in this section:

Date Format

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

Note: To learn more about how to format 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 important, middle and lowest items …

WP plugin to do lists - Priority Labels

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

WP to-do lists plugin - Priority column

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled, item IDs display on your to-do list …

to-do list plugin - Show To-Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness plugin - Date 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 settings in this section and assign to-do items to other users …

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

You can configure the following options in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can assign tasks to other users …

Cleverness to do list - 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. Leave this option disabled to display to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this area Contributor to display the type of users that can be assigned todo items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a role, then leave its check box unticked.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

Cleverness - Email Assigned To Do Items to User

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 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 …

Cleverness plugin WP - Add Category to Subject

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

If you don’t want categories to display the email subject, then leave this option disabled.

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 your website has multiple project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness plugin to-do lists WP - To-Do Item Email From Field

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Show Who Assigned the To Do Item in Email

From Email

Type into this field the email address that you want displayed as the “sent from” address …

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do Item Email Subject Field

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.

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do lists - To Do Item Email Text Field

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area you can carry out database maintenance operations associated with plugin data directly from the plugin settings area itself …

to-do list plugin Cleverness - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

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

The following tasks can be performed:

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


Any database operations you perform from this screen cannot be undone. If you are comfortable to carry out database maintenance in this section, then we recommend backing up your database first.

If you don’t want to back up your data yourself, then get professional WordPress assistance services, or use WordPress backup plugins. Learn about a great WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to perform automated WordPress site backups here:

User Permissions

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

WP plugin to do list - User Permissions

Useful Information

If you are using the Individual List type, the only configurable option that is applicable in this section is the View To-Do List permission …

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

If you are configuring 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 …

to do list plugin Cleverness - User Permissions - View To-Do-List dropdown menu

By 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 working with the Master list type make sure that you only allow non-administrator users to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness plugin WordPress - User Permissions Settings

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

View To-Do List

Here you can allow the selected 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 chosen capability to mark items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This permits the selected capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

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

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This option enables the selected capability to assign to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This option allows 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 allow the chosen capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

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


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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do list - Import/Export Settings Tab

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

plugin to-do list - Import/Export Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

to do list Cleverness - Import/Export - Import/Export Settings - Download Export File

This will open up a window allowing you to view or download your data in plain text format to an internal or external drive …

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

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

Export WordPress

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 just select ‘To-Do’ from the ‘Choose what to export’ section and click on the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to your storage device…

WordPress Export Menu - Export To-Do Data File

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

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

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

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

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

Your file will be imported.

Now that you have configured all of the plugin settings, you are ready to begin creating and editing your 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 WordPress to-do lists - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

WP plugin to do lists - To-Do List page

Add New To-Do Items

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

For example, you can add a new item to your to-do list from your WP dashboard toolbar …

Cleverness plugin WP to-do list - Adding New To Do Items To Your List

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

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

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 already contains many items, since the link will simply send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the page) …

Cleverness plugin - Add New To-Do Items

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

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.

Select 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 item to your list …

Cleverness plugin to do lists - How To Add New To Do Items

Note: If you are using 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 …

Cleverness - Assign To-Do Items to Users

You can also assign multiple users to the same item (click on ‘x’ to remove users) …

Cleverness - Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

WordPress plugin to-do lists - Add New Items To Your List

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

Cleverness plugin - How To Add New Items To Your List

Edit And Remove 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 …

Edit And Delete To Do Items From Your List

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

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

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

Cleverness - View To-Do List User Dashboard

When a user assigned with completing an item clicks on the item checkbox …

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - Complete To Do List Item User Dashboard

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

to do list plugin Cleverness - Completed To Do List Item

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - Completed To Do Item User Dashboard

Additional Information

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


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 want the list to display …

Cleverness WordPress to do lists plugin - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness plugin - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

The list will display wherever you have placed the ‘to-do-list’ widget (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

to do list Cleverness - Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Widget

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

Using Plugin Short Codes

You can also add to-do lists to your site using short codes.

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

WordPress to-do lists plugin - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

Cleverness to-do list - Plugin Short Codes

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

Using Plugin Short Codes

This section explains different ways to configure and use short codes to display lists and checklists on your content.

Once you know what type of information you would like to display on your site, create or edit a new or existing 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 showing in the location where you entered the shortcode …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

For more information about this plugin, visit the plugin website:

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


"I was absolutely amazed at the scope and breadth of these tutorials! The most in-depth training I have ever received on any subject!" - Myke O'Neill,