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 Tutorials - How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPressThere is never enough time to get everything done, especially if you run a fast-paced business.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have deadlines to meet, projects to complete, meetings to attend, fires to put out, calls and appointments to make, commitments to keep and so on. The amount of things that need ”doing” never seems to end.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and keeping your website or blog updated with regular content and things can quickly start becoming unmanageable and overwhelming.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a project, it’s important to be able to organize and manage your daily tasks.

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

The Benefits Of Using A To-Do List

A “to do” list can help you monitor your progress when trying to get projects completed. Your to do list can be detailed and very specific, or just serve as a concise reminder of tasks that need to be done today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

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

Create Order

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


Creating and organizing to do lists helps you break down larger projects into doable tasks and come up with a strategic plan for getting tasks completed effectively.

Reschedule And Reorganize Quickly

To-do lists help you better cope with changes in circumstances. If a meeting suddenly gets cancelled at short notice or extra time becomes available when some aspect of the process gets completed sooner than expected, you can continue working without loss of focus.

Ensures Accountability

Without accountability there is no commitment to completion, and no motivation to take meaningful action. Lack of accountability can also let excuses creep in and impact your productivity.

Feeling Of Accomplishment

Crossing items off your to do list not only makes you feel more productive, motivated and in-control, it also lets you stress less, as you can objectively see (or show) that the work is being completed and that things are moving forward.

As you can see, there are many benefits to using a to-do list, both in business and in your personal life. Creating to do lists, prioritizing tasks and working towards completing the items on your list improves your business efficiency and productivity.

What about using a to do list on your website?

In this step-by-step tutorial you are going to learn how to easily create a to-do list in WordPress to improve business efficiency and productivity using a great little plugin for WordPress called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

WordPress to do list plugin

Plugin Download URL

Plugin Description

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

Plugin Features

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

You can configure Cleverness To Do List to have private to do lists for individual users, to have all users share the same to-do list, or to have a master list with individual completion of items.

The shared to do list offers different settings. You can delegate to do items to a specific user (this includes emailing new to-do items 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 enable the display of deadline and progress fields. Category support is included as well as front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the backend to help you manage your lists and your to-do lists can also display on a dashboard widget.

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

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

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Installation

Log into your WP admin and click on Plugins > Add New …

Install WP Plugin

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin …

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

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

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

After the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

Note: The settings screen can also be accessed by selecting To-Do List > Settings from your admin menu …

plugin to-do lists Cleverness - To Do List Menu

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ section …

to-do list plugin - To-Do List Settings Tab

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

How To Set Up The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The Settings area is divided into four sections:

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

Let’s now configure each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

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


Choose ‘Enabled’ to organize lists 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 plugin menu …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - To Do List Menu

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

Cleverness to-do list - To Do List Add Category

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

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

List View

List View lets you specify how lists are viewed. There are 3 list views you can choose:

  • Individual – Choosing this option lets users create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Use this option if you want all users to be able to share one to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you to have a master list for all users, where users have their own individual items to complete. If using the ‘Master’ list view, make sure that you set the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

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

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

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

Show Added By

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can display which of your members has added an item to the to-do list.

Note: This setting only works 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 enabled, you can specify deadlines for your to-do items …

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

Show Progress

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

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

Show Admin Bar Menu

If enabled (‘Yes’), the ‘To-Do List’ menu displays in your WP Admin bar

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do list - To Do List Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

Enabling this option lets you add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

WP plugin to do list - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If enabled (‘Yes’), automatic paragraphs are used to display content in to-do lists.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you are running a multi-author site or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To-Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, developed by the same author to help make the task of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - Plugin For WordPress

To learn more this WordPress plugin, go here: WordPress Post Planner

When you have configured your plugin options, click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WP button - save changes

Advanced Settings

Once you have configured the settings in the To-Do List Settings tab, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to proceed …

WordPress to do list plugin - To Do List Advanced Settings

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

Cleverness plugin WP to-do list - Advanced Settings

In this area you can customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do tasks to other 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

Here you can customize your To Do List …

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

The following settings can be configured in this section:

Date Format

This section lets you specify how to display dates in your to-do list (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about formatting dates in WordPress, refer to the relevant section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

This section lets you customize the labels for highest (important), normal and low priority items …

WordPress to-do list plugin - Priority drop-down menu

Items prioritized as “important” are color-coded in red in your lists and low priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

plugin to-do list - Priority column

Show To-Do Item ID

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do lists - Show To Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If enabled (‘Yes’), the date your to-do list was added shows on the To-Do Items table …

to do list Cleverness - 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 settings in this area and assign to-do items to other users …

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

The following settings can be configured in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to assign to-do items to other users …

Cleverness to-do lists - 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

If enabled, you can display tasks only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled (‘No’) displays items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this section (Administrator to display the type of users that can be assigned todo items. If you don’t want to assign to-do items to a particular role, then don’t tick its checkbox.

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 to do list WordPress - Assigned To Do Items Email

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want to send out emails to users.

Note: If this option is disabled, skip 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 in the subject of emails sent to users …

Cleverness plugin - Add Category to Subject

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want categories displayed in the email subject.

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 …

Cleverness 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 emails. Add the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

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

From Email

Add into this field the email address that you want showing as the “sent from” email address …

plugin to do list Cleverness - From Email

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 a new item has been added in your to-do list …

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can perform database maintenance operations related to plugin data inside your plugin settings area itself …

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

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

You can perform the following tasks 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.


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

If you don’t want to perform your own site backups, then use a professional, or use a backup plugin. Learn about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to completely automate your WordPress file and database backups here:

User Permissions

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

WP plugin to do lists - User Permissions Tab

Useful Information

If you have chosen the Individual List type, the only setting applicable for this section is the View To-Do List option …

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

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

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

The 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 using the Master list type non-administrator users should only be authorized to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness plugin WP - User Permissions

Let’s go through the settings for this tab:

View To-Do List

Here you can allow 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

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

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the chosen capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

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

Assign To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the chosen capability to assign to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can permit 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 setting enables the chosen capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

This option allows the selected capability to add new categories.


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may want to copy over data from one site to another, or store the list data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

to do list Cleverness - Import/Export Settings

Now you can import and export your list and plugin settings …

WordPress plugin to-do lists - 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 Section - Download Export File

This will open up a window allowing you to download and save your data as plain text to an internal or external hard drive …

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

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

Export WP Menu

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 the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to your hard drive…

Export WordPress Menu - Export To-Do

Importing To-Do List Data

Importing a previously saved to-do list data file is easy. Just click on the ‘Browse’ button next to the ‘Choose File to Import’ field …

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

Locate the file and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

Your file will be imported.

Once you have configured all of the plugin settings, you can start creating and editing to do lists.

Plugin Usage

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

to do list Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

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

Adding New To Do Items To Your List

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

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

Cleverness to do list - Add New To-Do Items

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do lists - Adding A New Item To Your To Do 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 contains many items, as the link is only going to send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the page) …

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

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

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

Select 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 …

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

Note: If you are using a list type that allows you to assign responsibilities over items to 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 make multiple users responsible for the same item (click on ‘x’ to delete users) …

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

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

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

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

to-do lists Cleverness - Add New Items To Your To Do List

Editing And Deleting To-Do 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 …

Edit And Delete Items From Your List

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

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

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

to-do list plugin - View To-Do List User Dashboard

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

to do list Cleverness - Complete To-Do List Item

… the item no longer appears in the “To-Do” list …

WordPress plugin to-do lists - Complete To Do Item

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Completed To-Do List Items User Dashboard

Additional Information

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

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 location in your sidebar (or footer) menu where you want your list to show …

Cleverness plugin to-do list - Using The Plugin Widget

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

to-do lists plugin - Widgets

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list WP - Plugin Widget

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

Plugin Short Codes

You can also display to-do lists and checklists on your site by placing shortcodes into your content.

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - Shortcodes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

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

Once you know what type of information you would like to add to your site, open up a new post or page and either type or paste the short code into the content section …

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Shortcodes

After publishing your post or page, you will see the list showing where you entered the short code …

Plugin Shortcodes

Go here to learn more about this plugin:

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


"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)