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 A To Do List In WordPressWhen you run a hectic business, time always seems to be in short supply.

There are so many things to do and remember. You have clients to meet, projects to complete, meetings to attend, fires to put out, appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The amount of things that need ”doing” never stops.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and maintaining your website or blog updated with fresh content and things can quickly start to become unmanageable and chaotic.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a project, it’s important to be able to organize and prioritize your activities, track your progress and daily accomplishments, and, if necessary, assign tasks to other people effectively.

One proven tool that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability, and allow you to regain control is to use a “to do” list.

The Benefits Of Using A To-Do List

A “to-do” list can help you track your progress when trying to complete projects. Your to-do list can be detailed or specific, or act as a concise reminder of the things that need to be done today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc.

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

Think Clearly

Writing a to-do list means you don’t have to keep remembering things or store information inside your brain. Once things are jotted down on a to-do list, your head is free to process information and you can focus on more important things.

Be More Strategic

By creating and organizing your to do list, you can view the larger picture and come up with a strategic plan for getting things done effectively.

Quickly Reorganize Or Reschedule

A to-do list lets you better cope with situations. If a meeting gets cancelled or extra time has been made available because some task was completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reorganize and reschedule and keep working with minimal disruption.

Ensures Accountability

With no accountability there is no commitment to getting things completed, and no motivation to act with a sense of purpose. Lack of accountability can also let excuses creep in and influence your productivity.

Collaborate Better With Others

Using 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. Creating a to-do list, then prioritizing tasks and working in a focused manner improves efficiency and productivity in your business.

What about adding to do lists to your WordPress website?

In this step-by-step tutorial you are going to learn how to add to do lists to your WP website or blog to help your business grow  faster and more efficiently using a great little plugin for WordPress called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

Cleverness plugin to-do list

Download URL


This plugin provides users with a to-do list feature.


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

You can configure the plugin to have private to-do lists for each user, to have all users share the same to-do list, or to have a master list with individual item completions.

The shared to-do list option includes different settings. You can assign to-do items to a specific user (this includes emailing a new to-do item to the user) and optionally to have assigned items only seen 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 included as well 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 be displayed 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 your list. Category management is accessed via the back-end.

If you plan to set up a multi-author site you can use the plugin to create custom to do lists for your post editors if you also install a copy of the Post Planner plugin.

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Installation

Log into your site’s admin and in the main menu select Plugins > Add New …

WP Plugin Add New

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

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

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

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

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

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

After the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

Note: You can also get to the ‘Settings’ screen by selecting To-Do List > Settings from your dashboard menu …

WP plugin to do list - To Do List Menu

This takes you to the ‘Settings’ page …

plugin to-do lists - To Do List Settings

The section below shows you how to configure the plugin …

Configuring The Plugin

The Settings screen is divided into four tabs:

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

Let’s configure each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

to-do lists plugin - To Do List Settings Screen


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

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

Cleverness - To Do List Menu Categories

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List Categories Section

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

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

List View

List View allows you to choose how your to-do lists are viewed. You can select three kinds of list views:

  • Individual – Choosing this option allows each user to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Selecting this option lets all users share the same to-do list.
  • Master – Select this option to have a 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 (see further below).
Sort Order

Cleverness plugin to do lists - To-Do List Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

If this option is 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 tasks.

Show Deadline

If this option is enabled, you can specify deadlines for to-do tasks …

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

Show Progress

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

to-do list Cleverness - To-Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

WP plugin to do list - 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 lists plugin WordPress - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option to display content in your 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, from the same developer that helps to make the task of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner

For more details about using this WordPress plugin, go here: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Editorial Solution Plugin

Once you are done configuring your plugin options in this section, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

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 …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin WordPress - Advanced Settings Tab

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

Cleverness plugin - Advanced Settings Tab

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

This section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ screen lets you customize your To Do List …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Advanced Settings Tab - Customize To Do List Settings

You can configure the following settings 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, visit the date section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

This section lets you customize labels for important, middle and low priority items …

plugin to-do lists Cleverness - Priority section

Items prioritized as “important” are colour-coded in red in the lists and lowest (low) priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

to do list plugin Cleverness - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays the items’ IDs on the list …

Cleverness - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If enabled, the date your to-do list was added will display on your To-Do Items table …

Cleverness plugin WP to-do lists - sort by date

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

If you have selected either ‘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 lists WP - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Assign To Do Items Settings

The following settings can be configured in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to assign tasks to other users …

Cleverness 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 to display tasks only to users who have been assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled (‘No’) will display items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this area Subscriber) to display the type of users that can be assigned items. If you don’t want to assign to-do items to a role, then leave its checkbox 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 plugin WP to-do list - Assigned To-Do Items Email

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

Note: If this option is disabled, 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 - Add Category to Email Subject

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

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

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This is a useful option if you have a number of project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

From Email

In this field, enter the email address that you would like displayed as the “sent from” email address …

Cleverness - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness - Show Who Assigned the To Do Item in Email

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.

Cleverness to-do list - 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 itself without having to log into your server …

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

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

The following tasks can be performed in this section:

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


Any database operations carried out from this screen cannot be undone. If you are sure that you want to proceed with any of the database operations available in this section, then remember to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to do manual backups, then use a professional, or use WordPress backup plugins. You can read about a WordPress backup plugin that can fully automate your backup process here:

User Permissions

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

to do lists Cleverness - User Permissions Settings Tab

Important Info

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

Cleverness - User Permissions Tab - View To-Do-List drop-down menu

If you plan to set up user permissions and capabilities for Group or Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you would like users to be able to perform for each option …

Cleverness plugin WP - User Permissions Settings - View To Do-List drop-down menu

The default general capabilities of each user role are configured as follows:

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

Note: When using the Master list type non-admin users should only be allowed to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list.

Cleverness to do lists plugin WP - User Permissions Settings

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

View To-Do List

This enables 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 items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the chosen capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the selected capability to edit existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the chosen capability to delegate to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This enables 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 enable the chosen capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

This setting permits the chosen capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

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


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be very useful. For example, you may want to copy over data from an existing to-do 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 …

to do list plugin Cleverness - Import/Export

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

Cleverness to-do list plugin - Import/Export

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Settings Tab - Import/Export Settings - Download Export File

This will open up a new window allowing you to download and save the data in plain text format to a storage device (e.g. your hard drive) …

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

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

WordPress Menu Tools > Export

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

WP Export Menu - 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 to-do lists - Import/Export Settings - Import/Export Settings - Import File

Locate the file and click ‘Open’ …

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

After the data file has been uploaded in your settings area, click the ‘Import Settings’ button …

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

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

Now that you have configured all plugin settings, you can start creating and editing your to-do lists.

How To Use The Plugin

To create a new to-do list, log into your WordPress admin, then scroll down the menu and click on To-Do List > To-Do List

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

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

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

Adding A New Item To Your To Do List

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

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

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

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

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 page) …

plugin to-do lists Cleverness - Adding New To-Do Items

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

Depending on the way you have set up your plugin, you may or may not see certain options displayed when adding new to-do items.

Configure 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 …

to do list Cleverness - Adding New To Do Items

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

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

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

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

Once After adding a new item, it will display as an entry in the ‘To-Do List’ table …

WP to-do lists plugin - Add New To-Do Items To Your List

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

Cleverness to-do list - Adding New To Do Items

Edit And Delete To Do Items

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

Editing And Deleting To-Do Items From Your List

Depending on your configuration plugin settings (discussed in the previous section), users assigned to completing tasks may also receive email notifications …

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

Once you have created your to-do list, users can view the list when logged into their own user dashboard …

Cleverness plugin - View To Do List User Dashboard

When a user assigned with an item completes the task and ticks the item checkbox …

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

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

Cleverness - Complete To-Do Item User Dashboard

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

WordPress plugin to do lists - Completed To Do Item

Additional Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin offers additional functions that let you display a to-do list on your WordPress website using widgets, and insert lists into content inside a page or post using shortcodes.

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

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 your list to show …

Cleverness WordPress to-do lists plugin - Using The Plugin Widget

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

to-do list plugin - Using The Plugin Widget

The to-do list will appear on your site where you have added the widget (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

plugin to-do lists Cleverness - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

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

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

plugin to-do lists - To-Do List Menu

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

WP plugin to-do lists - Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

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

Once you know what 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 inside the content area …

Using Plugin Shortcodes

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

For more details about this plugin, visit the plugin website here:

Congratulations! Now you can create and add a to-do list in WordPress.


"Your training is the best in the world! It is simple, yet detailed, direct, understandable, memorable, and complete." Andrea Adams,