How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

Creating A To-Do List In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - Creating A To Do List In WordPressWhen you are running a hectic business or managing a team, there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have clients to meet, urgent tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to extinguish, appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The amount of things that need to get done never stops.

Now … add the extra dimension 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 project, you need to be able to organize and prioritize your activities, keep track of your progress, and, if necessary, delegate tasks to members of your team or staff efficiently.

A simple proven tool that can help you save time, alleviate stress, and allow you to gain some control is to use a “to-do” list.

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to do” list can help to keep you on track and monitor your progress when working towards your objectives. Your to do list can be minutely detailed or specific, or just serve as a reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

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

To-Do Lists Create Order

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


Creating and organizing to do lists helps you see the bigger picture and formulate a strategic plan for getting everything done on time and on budget.

Log Your Work

To-do lists let you maintain documented logs of what you have done. This can be used to provide evidence of work to employers or clients, or just as a means of helping you assess your own productivity and efficiency.

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 allows you to work on urgent things that need to be completed within the time you have available, and push out items that can be worked on at a later time. This can help you stress less.

Working 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 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 efficiency and productivity in your business is sure to increase.

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

In this step-by-step tutorial we are going to show you how to add a to-do list to WordPress to improve business efficiency and productivity using a customizable, multi-featured to do list WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

Cleverness plugin

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Download URL


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

Plugin Features

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

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

The shared to do list option has a variety of settings available. You can assign to do items to specific users (this includes emailing new to do items to the user) and optionally to have those items only seen 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 backend to manage your list and the to-do list can also appear on a dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as short code to display the to do list items on your blog. There are two short codes for front-end administration of the list. Category management is restricted to the back-end admin section.

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

Installing The Plugin

From your site’s administration section, select Plugins > Add New

Plugin Menu

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

Cleverness plugin - Cleverness plugin - Install To Do List

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

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

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

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

After you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

Note: You can also get to the plugin’s settings section by choosing To-Do List > Settings from the admin menu …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List > Settings Menu

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ area …

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

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

Plugin Configuration

The plugin’s ‘Settings’ area is divided into 4 sections:

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

Let’s now configure each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

to-do lists Cleverness - To-Do List Settings Tab

To-Do List Categories

Select ‘Enabled’ to organize your to-do 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 …

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

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

plugin to do list - To-Do List Categories Section

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

Categories marked ‘private’ will not be visible when using the sidebar widgets or short codes (only when ‘Sort Order’ is set to ‘Category’)

List View

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

  • Individual – Choosing this option allows users to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Selecting this option lets users share the same to-do list.
  • Master – Choose this option to create one master list for all users, where users have their own individual completion of items. 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

WP to do list plugin - To-Do List 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 of your members has added an item to the to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

Enabling this option displays completion dates for your to-do items.

Show Deadline

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

WP plugin to do lists - To-Do List Deadline

Show Progress

Enabling this option lets you specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - To Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

Enabling this option lets you display the ‘To-Do List’ menu in your WP Dashboard Admin bar

Cleverness to do lists - To-Do List Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

plugin to do lists - To-Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option to display content in your to-do list items using paragraphs.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you are running a multi-author website or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To-Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, from the same plugin developer that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - Plugin For WordPress

Go here to learn more about this handy plugin: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Editorial Solution Plugin

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

WordPress button save changes

Advanced Settings

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

to-do lists plugin - To Do List Advanced Settings

This brings you to the plugin’s ‘Advanced Settings’ screen …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do lists - Advanced Settings Tab

In this tab you can customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do items to users and perform plugin 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’ screen allows you to customize your To-Do List …

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

The following settings can be configured 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 formatting dates in WordPress, visit the relevant section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

Here you can customize the labels for important, middle (normal) and lowest (low) priority items …

to-do lists Cleverness - Priority drop-down menu

Items given the highest priority display in red and lowest priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

WordPress plugin to do list - colour-coded priorities

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled (‘Yes’), item IDs show on your to-do list …

Cleverness plugin - Show To-Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness to-do lists - Date 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 options in this section and assign to-do items to other users …

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

The following options can be configured in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enable this option to assign tasks to other users …

Cleverness WP plugin to do list - Assign To Do Items to 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 (‘Yes’) to display to-do items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled displays to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this section Editor displays 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 you enable this option, WordPress automatically sends an email to users with their assigned to-do items …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do lists - Email Assigned To Do Items to User

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

Note: If this option is disabled, you can skip 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 …

WordPress to do lists plugin - Add Category to Email Subject

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

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

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 option is useful if, for example, your website has various project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness WordPress plugin to do list - 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 notices. You can enter the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

Cleverness - To-Do Item Email From Field

From Email

Enter the email address that you want to display as the “sent from” email address …

to do list plugin Cleverness - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

WP plugin to-do lists - Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This area lets you carry out database maintenance operations related to plugin data inside your plugin settings area itself …

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

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

The tasks below can be performed:

  • Delete Tables – Delete any custom database tables that are no longer being used.
  • Delete All To-Do Items – Remove all to-do items.

Useful Information

Any database operations you perform from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are sure that you want to perform database maintenance in this section, then make sure to backup your WP database first.

If you don’t want to do your own backups, then consider getting help from a WordPress professional, or use a WordPress backup plugin. You can read about a great WordPress backup plugin that can fully automate your backup process here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness plugin to do list WordPress - User Permissions Settings Tab

Important Info

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

Cleverness plugin WP - User Permissions Tab - View To-Do-List

If you plan to configure user permissions and capabilities for Group or Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you want users to perform for each option …

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

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

  • Subscribers: Read
  • Contributors: Edit Posts
  • Authors: Publish Posts
  • Editors: Edit Others Posts
  • Administrators: Manage Options

Note: When using the Master list type make sure that you only permit non-admin users to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list.

to-do lists Cleverness - User Permissions Tab

Here is a description of the settings in this section:

View To-Do List

Here you can enable 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

This permits the selected capability to mark items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option enables the selected capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the chosen capability to edit existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

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

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can permit 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 transfer data from one website to another, or store your data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Tab

Here you can easily export and import your data and plugin settings …

WordPress plugin to do lists - Import/Export Settings

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This opens up a new window allowing you to view or save the data as plain text to a storage medium (e.g. your hard drive) …

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Settings - Export Settings

In addition to exporting list data from the ‘Import/Export’ section, you can also export data by going to your WordPress admin menu and selecting Tools > Export

Export WordPress

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

WP Export Menu - Export To-Do

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

Select the previously saved to-do list data file in your hard drive or external drive and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

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

Now that you have configured all of the plugin settings, you can start create and edit to do lists.

How To Use Cleverness To-Do List

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

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

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

plugin to-do list - To-Do List screen

Add New Items To Your To-Do List

There are a number of 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 …

to do list Cleverness - Adding New To-Do Items

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin - 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 contains many items, as the link will simply take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the screen) …

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - How To Add New Items To Your List

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

Depending on how you have set up your plugin, some options may not display when when you add new to-do items.

Set up 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 …

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Assign To Do Items to Users

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Adding New To-Do Items To Your List

Repeat the above process to continue adding items to your list …

plugin to do lists - Adding New To-Do Items

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 …

Editing And Deleting To Do Items

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

Cleverness - Assigned To-Do Items Email

After creating your to-do list, users can view the list inside their own user dashboard …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do lists - View To Do List

When a user assigned with completing an item ticks the item check box …

Cleverness plugin - Completed To Do List Item

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

plugin to-do lists - Complete To Do List Items User Dashboard

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

WP to do list plugin - Completed To-Do Items User Dashboard

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness plugin offers additional functions that let 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.


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 menu where you would like your list to appear …

Cleverness plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness plugin to do lists - Using The Plugin Widget

The to-do list will appear on your site where the widget was inserted (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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


You can also create to-do lists and checklists to your site by placing 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 list plugin - To-Do List Menu

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

WP plugin to-do list - Short Codes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

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

Once you know what type of information you would like to add to your site, create or edit a new or existing page or post and either type or paste the shortcode into the content section …

Plugin Short Codes

After publishing your page or post, you should see the list displayed in the location where you have added the shortcode …


Go here for more details about this plugin:

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


"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group