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 WordPressTime is always in short supply, especially if you are a busy person trying to run a business or manage a team.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, urgent tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to put out, deliveries to make, commitments to keep and so on. The stress of trying to get things done on time never seems to end.

Now … add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and maintaining your website updated with new content and everything can start becoming unmanageable and out of control.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a team, it’s important 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.

A ”tried and true” tool that can help you save time, reduce stress, and allow you to take control is to use “to do” lists.

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to-do” list helps you measure your progress as you complete tasks. Your to-do list can be quite detailed and specific, or just serve as a 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:

Think Clearly

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

Be More Strategic

Creating and organizing to do lists helps you break down larger projects into more doable tasks and create a strategic plan to get tasks completed effectively.

Keep Documented Work Logs

A to-do list allows you to maintain documented logs of the work you have done. This can be used as evidence of work to employers or clients, or just as a way of helping you measure your own productivity and efficiency.

Stress Less

Stress can result from feeling overwhelmed by the thought that there is so much that needs doing and so little time to do it in. Using a to do list allows you to prioritize urgent things that need to get done immediately, and reschedule non-urgent tasks that can be addressed at a later time. This can reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and help to take away some of the stress you may be feeling.


Creating to do lists and other project management tools is essential for collaborating with other people 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. Creating to do lists, then prioritizing tasks and working in a systematic way increases your business productivity and efficiency.

What about adding to-do lists to your website?

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

Cleverness To Do List

to-do lists plugin

Plugin URL


This plugin lets you easily add customizable to-do lists to WordPress.

Plugin Features

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

You can configure the plugin to assign private to-do lists for individual users, to have all users share a to do list, or to have a master list with individual completion of items.

The shared to do list option provides different settings. You can assign to do items to a specific user (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 to different users based on user roles. There are also settings to display deadline and progress fields. Category support is also included as front-end administration.

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

A sidebar widget is also available as shortcode to display the to-do list items on your site. There are two short codes for front-end list administration. Category management is accessible via the back-end.

If you plan to run a multi-author site you can use the to do lists plugin to create custom to do lists for your post planners if you also install a copy of the Post Planner plugin from the same developer.

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Installation

Log into your WordPress admin area and select Plugins > Add New …

Plugins Menu

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin …

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

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

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

After the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

Note: The plugin’s ‘Settings’ screen can also be accessed by choosing To-Do List > Settings from your dashboard menu …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List

This brings you to the plugin ‘Settings’ area …

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

The section below shows you how to configure the plugin …

Setting Up The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The Settings area is divided into four sections:

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

Let’s review each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness - To-Do List Settings

To-Do List Categories

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Menu

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Categories Section

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

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

List View

List View allows you to choose how lists will be viewed. There are three kinds of list views:

  • Individual – Choosing this option lets each user create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Choose this option if you want all users to share the same to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you to create a master list for all users, where users have their own individual completion of items. If you select 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 plugin to-do lists - To-Do List Settings Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

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

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

Show Date Completed

If this option is enabled, completion dates will display for to-do items.

Show Deadline

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

WordPress to do list plugin - To-Do List Deadline

Show Progress

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

If enabled, the ‘To-Do List’ menu will display in your WordPress Dashboard Admin bar

to-do lists plugin 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

to do lists plugin - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display content in your to-do list items using paragraphs.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you plan to run a collaborative site or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, from the same developer that helps to make managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Plugin

Go here to learn more about using this handy plugin: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Multi-Author Publishing Plugin

Once you are done configuring your plugin options, click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

WordPress save changes button

Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness WP plugin to do list - Advanced Settings Tab

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

Cleverness plugin to do list - Advanced Settings

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 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’ screen allows you to customize your To Do List …

Cleverness plugin - Advanced Settings Tab - 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 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 highest, middle and lowest (low) priority items …

Cleverness - Priority Labeling

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

Cleverness plugin to do list WordPress - Priority column

Show To-Do Item ID

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), the items’ IDs show on your to-do list …

Cleverness to do list - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin - sort by 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 options in this area and assign items to other users …

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

You can configure the following options in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

WP to do lists plugin - 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

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled (‘No’) displays 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 to-do items. If you don’t want to assign to-do items to a specific role, then leave its checkbox unticked.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Email Assigned To Do Items to User

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

Note: If you disable this option, you can skip the remaining 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 plugin to-do list - Add Category to Email Subject

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want to-do categories displayed in the subject of your emails.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enabling this option lets you display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This is a useful option if your site has several project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

This field allows you to customize the “From” field when sending out email notices. You can enter your company name, 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 displayed as the “sent from” address …

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness - To Do Item Email Subject Field

Text in Emails Sent to User

Enter 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 Cleverness - Show Who Assigned the To Do Item in Email

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this section you can perform database maintenance tasks related to plugin data directly from the plugin settings area …

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

This function is useful if, for example, you see that to-do items you have deleted are still showing on your site.

The tasks below can be performed in this section:

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


Actions that you perform on the database from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are sure that you want to perform database maintenance in this section, then remember to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to back up your data yourself, then consider hiring the services of a professional, or use a WordPress backup plugin. You can read about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to completely automate your file and data backups here:

User Permissions

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

to-do lists Cleverness - User Permissions Settings

Useful Information

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

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

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

to do lists Cleverness - User Permissions Settings - View To-Do-List drop-down menu

By default, general capabilities for each user role are configured 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 non-admin users should only be permitted to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

Cleverness plugin WP to-do list - User Permissions Settings Tab

Below is a description of the settings for this 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 enable the selected capability to mark to-do items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

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

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This setting allows the selected capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the selected capability to delegate to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This 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

This allows the selected capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

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


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be very useful. For example, you may want to transfer data from an existing to-do list to another website, or store your data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - Import/Export Tab

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

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

Exporting To-Do List Data

You can export and download your to-do list data settings by clicking on the ‘Download Export File’ …

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

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

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

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

Tools > Export WordPress Menu

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

WordPress Export Menu - Export To Do Data

Importing To-Do List Data

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

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

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

Cleverness - Import/Export Settings - Import/Export Settings - Import File

Once your data file has been uploaded to your settings area, click on ‘Import Settings’ …

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

Your file data will be imported.

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

Plugin Usage

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

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

How To Add New To Do Items

There are a number of ways to add new to-do items.

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

plugin to do lists Cleverness - Adding A New Item To Your List

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 - Adding New Items To Your To Do 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 to-do lists WP - Adding New To Do Items To Your List

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can also assign items to multiple users (click on ‘x’ to delete a user) …

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

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

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

Repeat the above process to add new items to your to-do list …

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

Editing And Deleting To Do Items

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 your configuration plugin settings (discussed earlier), users assigned to tasks may also receive email notifications …

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

After creating your to do list, users can view it from their WordPress user dashboard …

to do list plugin - View To Do List

When users assigned with completing an item tick the item checkbox …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Complete To-Do Item

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

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

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

Cleverness - Complete To Do List Item User Dashboard

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin provides added functionality that lets you display a to-do list on your website using widgets, and insert lists into content inside a page or post using short codes.

Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

To add to-do lists 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 (or footer) menu where you would like your to-do list to appear …

to do lists Cleverness - Widgets

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

Cleverness - Widgets

Your to-do list will display wherever the ‘to-do-list’ widget has been added (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness plugin to-do list WordPress - Widgets

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


You can also display lists on your site using short codes.

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

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

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

WP plugin to do list - Short Codes

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

Short Codes

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

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

Plugin Short Codes

After publishing your page or post, you will see the list showing in the location where you have added the short code …

Plugin Short Codes

For more information about this plugin, go here:

Congratulations! Now you know how to 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