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

WordPress Plugin Tutorials - Creating To Do Lists In WordPressIf you plan to run a fast-paced business, time always seems to be in short supply.

There is just too much to do and remember. You have deadlines to meet, tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to extinguish, appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The “doing” never ends.

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 new content and everything can quickly start to become unmanageable and out of control.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage 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 team members effectively.

One ”tried and true” tool that can help you save time, alleviate stressful workloads, and allow you to take control is to use a “to-do” list.

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to-do” list helps you keep track of your progress when trying to complete tasks. Your to-do list can be quite detailed and very specific, or just serve as a reminder of tasks that need doing today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

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

Free Your Brain

Writing a to do list means that you won’t have to keep remembering stuff or clutter your mind with details. Once tasks are recorded on a to do list, your brain is free to process information and you can focus on more important things.

Be More Strategic

After creating and organizing a to do list, you can view the larger picture and formulate a strategic plan to get tasks done on time and on budget.

Reschedule Or Reorganize Quickly

Using to-do lists help you better handle situations. If a meeting suddenly gets cancelled at short notice or extra time becomes available when a task gets completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reorganize or reschedule and keep working with no disruption.

Stress Relief

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by the fact that there is so much that needs to get done and so very little time to do it in. Creating a to do list lets you work on urgent tasks that have to be completed within the time you have available, and push out non-urgent tasks that can be worked on later. This can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and take away some of the stress you may be feeling.


Creating to-do lists and other project management tools is essential for collaborating 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. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work in a systematic way and productivity and efficiency in your business is sure to improve.

What about using to-do lists on your WordPress website or blog?

In this detailed tutorial we are going to show you how to easily add a to-do list to WordPress to help your business grow online  faster and more efficiently using a great little WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

Cleverness to-do list plugin

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Plugin Description

This plugin provides users with a to do list feature.

Plugin Features

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

You can set up the plugin to assign private to-do lists for individual users, 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 option has a variety of settings available. You can delegate to-do items to a specific user (this includes a setting to email a new to do item to the user) and optionally to have assigned items only viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. There are also settings available 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 lists and the to do lists are also listed 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 two short codes for front-end administration of your list. Category management is accessed through the back-end admin section.

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

Installing The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Inside your site’s dashboard area, go to the main menu and select Plugins > Add New

Plugin Menu

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

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

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

Cleverness - Cleverness plugin - Install Cleverness To Do List

Activate the plugin after installing it …

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

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

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

When you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

Note: You can also get to the ‘Settings’ area by choosing To-Do List > Settings from your admin menu …

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

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ page …

Cleverness - To Do List Settings Tab

The section below shows you how to configure the plugin …

Configuring The Plugin

The Settings area is divided into four sections:

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

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

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness to do lists plugin - To-Do List Settings

To-Do List Categories

Select ‘Enabled’ to organize your to-do lists 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 menu …

Cleverness to-do list - To Do List Menu Categories

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

Cleverness plugin WP to-do list - 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 the sidebar widgets or shortcodes (only when ‘Sort Order’ is set to ‘Category’)

List View

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

  • Individual – Choose this option if you want each user to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Choosing this option lets users share one to-do list.
  • Master – Choose this option to create one master list for all users, where users have their own individual items to complete. If you choose the ‘Master’ list view, make sure to adjust the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

Cleverness to-do list - To Do List Settings Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

If enabled, you can display which users have added an item to the 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 tasks.

Show Deadline

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

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

Show Progress

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

Cleverness - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

WordPress plugin to do lists - To Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display content in to-do list items 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, from the same plugin developer to help make the process of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner

To learn more about using this plugin, visit this site: WordPress Post Planner – Multi-Author Publishing Plugin For WordPress

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

WordPress save changes button

Advanced Settings

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

WP to-do lists plugin - To Do List Advanced Settings Tab

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

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

This area lets you customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do tasks to other users and carry out plugin 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

Here you can customize your To Do List …

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

You can configure the following options in this section:

Date Format

This section lets you specify how to display dates on your to-do lists (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 highest, middle and lowest items …

to-do list plugin - Priority section

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

Cleverness plugin - color-coded priority

Show To-Do Item ID

If this option is enabled, item IDs show up on the list …

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

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option shows the date your items table was added …

Cleverness - Date Added column

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 section and assign items to other users …

Cleverness plugin - 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 lists plugin - 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 (‘Yes’) to display items only to users who have been assigned those items. Leave this option disabled to display to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this area (Administrator displays the type of users that can be assigned items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a specific role, then leave its checkbox unticked.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

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

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want emails sent out to users.

Note: If you disable this option, you can skip the 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 …

Cleverness - Add Category to Subject

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

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

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 option is useful if, for example, you have various project managers assigning to-do items to users …

to do list plugin Cleverness - To-Do Item Email From Field

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

From Email

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

plugin to do list - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Type in a subject field for the email that will be automatically sent to users whenever a new item has been added to your to-do list …

to do list plugin Cleverness - To-Do Item Email Subject Field

Text in Emails Sent to User

Add 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 - Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area you can carry out database maintenance tasks related to plugin data directly from your plugin settings area without having to log into your server …

Cleverness to do lists - To Do List Advanced Settings > Clean up Database

This is useful if, for example, you see that old to-do items are still listed on your site.

You can perform the following tasks in this section:

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


Any database operations performed from this screen cannot be undone. If you are comfortable 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 back up your data manually, then get support from a WordPress professional, or use a backup plugin. You can read about a great WordPress backup plugin that can automate your backup process here:

User Permissions

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

plugin to-do list Cleverness - User Permissions Settings


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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - User Permissions - View To-Do-List

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

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

By default, general capabilities for each user role are 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 authorize non-administrators to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness plugin WP to-do lists - User Permissions

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

View To-Do List

This option permits 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 chosen capability to mark to-do 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 selected capability to edit existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This enables the chosen capability to assign items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This option allows 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 items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can enable the chosen capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

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


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be very useful. For example, you may decide to transfer data from an existing 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 to do lists - Import/Export Tab

Use this section to export and import your list and plugin settings …

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Settings Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Import/Export Settings - Export Settings

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

WordPress Menu 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 download your file to your hard drive…

Export WP Menu - Export To-Do Data File

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 …

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

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - Import/Export Settings Tab - Import/Export Settings - Import To-Do File

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

plugin to do lists - Import/Export Settings - Import/Export Settings Section - Import To Do Data File

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

Once 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, go to your WordPress dashboard menu and click on To-Do List > To-Do List

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

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

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

Adding New To Do Items To Your List

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do lists - 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, since the link will simply take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the screen) …

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

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

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

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin - Adding New To Do Items

Note: If you are using a list type that lets you assign tasks to users, select a user from the drop-down list and assign them the item …

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

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

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

After a new item has been added, it will be listed as an entry in the ‘To-Do Items’ table …

WordPress to-do lists plugin - Adding New To-Do Items To Your List

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

WP to do list plugin - How To Add New To-Do Items

Editing And Deleting Items

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

Editing And Removing To-Do Items From Your List

Depending on your plugin configuration plugin settings (discussed earlier), users assigned to tasks may also receive an email notification in their inboxes …

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

After creating your to do list, users can view it inside their WP dashboard …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - View To Do List

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - Completed To-Do List Item

… the item is then deleted from the “To-Do” list …

WP to do lists plugin - Completed To Do List Item User Dashboard

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do lists - Complete To-Do List Item

Additional Plugin Information

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

Using The Plugin Widget

To add a to-do list 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 your list to display …

plugin to-do lists Cleverness - Widgets

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

Cleverness plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

WordPress to do lists plugin - Widgets

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

Short Codes

You can also add lists and checklists on your site by inserting shortcodes into your content.

To access the documentation on using shortcodes, select To-Do List > To-Do List from your dashboard menu …

Cleverness to do lists plugin WordPress - To-Do List Menu

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

WP plugin to do list - Using Plugin Shortcodes

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


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

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 shortcode inside the content section …

Plugin Short Codes

After publishing your post or page, you will see the list displayed exactly where you have added the short code …

Using Plugin Shortcodes

Go here to download this plugin:

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


"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now