How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

Creating To-Do Lists In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - Creating To Do Lists In WordPressWhen you are running a hectic business, time always seems to be in short supply.

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

Now … add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website updated with fresh content and things can quickly start to feel unmanageable and out of control.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a project, you need to be able to organize and prioritize your daily tasks, keep track of your progress, and, if necessary, delegate tasks and responsibilities to others efficiently.

One simple “tried and true” method that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability, and allow you to take control is to use a “to-do” list.

Benefits Of Using To-Do Lists

A “to-do” list helps you track your progress when trying to complete tasks. Your to do list can be very detailed and very specific, or serve as a concise 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

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

Prioritize Your Time

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time and manage your workload more effectively. You can develop a clearer perspective on what’s truly urgent vs what isn’t, and what steps need to be completed first.

Reschedule Or Reorganize Quickly

A to do list lets you better handle changes in circumstances. If a meeting suddenly gets cancelled at the last minute or extra time is made available because something got completed sooner than expected, you can continue working with little to no loss of focus.


Without accountability there is no commitment to completion, and no motivation to take meaningful action. Lack of accountability lets excuses creep in and take over your productivity.

Better Delegation

To-do lists help you assign tasks to other people better. This is also important if you plan to collaborate within a team (see further below).

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 focused way and efficiency and productivity in your business will increase.

Let’s turn now to using to do lists on your website. More specifically, adding to do lists to WordPress.

In this detailed step-by-step tutorial you are going to learn how to add to-do lists to a WordPress site to help your team get things done  faster and more efficiently using a customizable, multi-featured to do list WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness plugin to-do lists WordPress

Download The Plugin

Plugin Description

This WordPress plugin lets you easily add a customizable to do list to WordPress.

Plugin Features

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

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

The shared to do list includes different settings. You can delegate to do items to specific users (this includes a setting to email a new to-do item to assigned users) and optionally to have assigned items only viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels using capabilities. There are also settings available 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 the to-do lists can also appear on the dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is also available as shortcode to display the to-do list items on your site. There are 2 short codes for front-end list administration. Category management is accessed through the back-end.

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

How To Install The Plugin

Log into your WP admin section scroll down the menu select Plugins > Add New …

Install WP Plugin

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

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

Locate the Cleverness To-Do List entry in the Search Results section and click Install Now

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

Activate the plugin after installing it …

Cleverness plugin - Cleverness - Activate To Do List

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

to do lists plugin - WordPress plugin to-do list - Activate To Do List

After you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

Note: You can also get to the settings section by choosing To-Do List > Settings from your dashboard menu …

Cleverness - To-Do List > Settings

This brings you to the plugin ‘Settings’ page …

plugin to do list - To-Do List Settings Tab

Let’s set up the plugin …

Setting Up The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

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

  • To-Do List Settings – This area lets you specify the plugin’s main settings.
  • Advanced Settings – Here you can customize To-Do lists, assign to-do items to other users and perform database maintenance tasks.
  • User Permissions – Here you can set up user permissions and capabilities for Master and Group List types.
  • Import/Export – In this area you can 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 plugin WordPress - To Do List Settings Screen

To-Do List Categories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

List View

List View allows you to specify how your to-do lists are viewed. There are 3 types of list views available:

  • Individual – Selecting 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 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 configure the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

plugin to-do list - To Do List Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display which of your users 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 (‘Yes’), completion dates will display for to-do tasks.

Show Deadline

If enabled, you can specify deadlines for your to-do items …

to do list plugin Cleverness - To-Do List Deadline

Show Progress

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - To-Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), the ‘To-Do List’ menu will display in your WordPress Dashboard Admin bar

Cleverness WordPress to-do list plugin - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you will be able to add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

plugin to do lists - 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 plan to run a collaborative website or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, developed by the same author that helps to make the process of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Multi-Author Publishing Plugin

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

After you have configured your options, click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

WordPress 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 List Advanced Settings

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

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

In this section you can customize your To Do lists, assign to-do items to users and perform plugin database maintenance tasks.

Let’s go through how to configure the plugin’s ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Customize The To-Do List

This section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab allows you to customize your To-Do List …

WP to do list plugin - To Do List Advanced Settings - To Do List Customization Settings

You can configure the following options in this section:

Date Format

In this section you can specify how to display dates on your to-do list (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about how to format dates in WordPress, see the relevant section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

This section lets you customize your labels for prioritizing highest (important), middle and lowest (low) items …

to-do list Cleverness - Priority drop-down menu

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

WP to do lists plugin - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option will display item IDs on the to-do list …

to-do list Cleverness - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

to do lists plugin - Date Added

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

If you have chosen either ‘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 …

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

You can configure the following options in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - 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

Enabling this option lets you display to-do items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leave this option disabled to display items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this section Editor to display the type of users that can be assigned to-do items. Leave the checkbox unticked for any roles that you do not want to assign to-do items.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

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

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

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

to-do lists Cleverness - Add Category to Subject

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

If you don’t want to display categories in the email subject, then leave this option disabled (‘No’).

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

If this option is enabled, you can display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This is a useful option if your site has various project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness plugin WP 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 notifications. Type your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do Item Email From Field

From Email

Add the email address that you would like showing as the “sent from” email address …

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

Type into this field 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 - Show Who Assigned the To Do Item in Email

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab lets you carry out database maintenance operations related to plugin data inside the plugin settings area …

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

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

You can perform the tasks below in this section:

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


Any database operations carried out from this screen cannot be undone. If you are comfortable to perform database operations in this section, then make sure to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to back up your site manually, then hire a professional, or use WordPress backup plugins. You can learn more about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to perform automated site backups here:

User Permissions

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - User Permissions Settings Tab

Useful Information

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

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

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

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

By 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 working with the Master list type make sure that you only authorize non-administrators to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

plugin to do lists Cleverness - User Permissions

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

View To-Do List

This allows the chosen 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 not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

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

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the selected capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the selected capability to assign items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This setting allows the selected capability to view all tasks even if “Show Each User Only Their Assigned Tasks” is set to ‘Yes’.

Delete To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the selected capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

This option enables the selected capability to purge all the completed items.

Add Categories Capability

This allows the selected capability to add new categories.


The ability 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 export your list data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin WordPress - Import/Export Settings Tab

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

Cleverness to-do list plugin - Import/Export

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

to-do lists Cleverness - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings - Download Export File

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

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

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

Tools > Export WordPress Menu

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

Tools > Export WP - 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 …

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

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

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

After uploading the data file, click the ‘Import Settings’ button …

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

Your file data will be imported.

Once you have configured all plugin settings, you are ready to begin creating and editing to-do lists.

Plugin Usage

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

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

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

to do lists Cleverness - To-Do List page

Add A New Item To Your To Do List

There are several 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 WP admin toolbar …

to do lists Cleverness - Adding New To Do Items

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Add New To-Do Items

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 will simply take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the screen) …

Cleverness - Adding New To Do Items

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

Depending on how you have configured the plugin’s settings, you may or may not see certain options displayed when when you add new to-do items.

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Adding New To Do Items

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editing And Removing Items From Your List

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

Editing And Deleting Items

Depending on how you have set up the plugin (see previous section), users assigned to completing tasks may also receive email notifications …

Cleverness - Email Assigned To Do Items to User

Once you have created your to-do list, users can view the list inside their own dashboard …

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

When the user assigned with the item completes the task and ticks the item check box …

to-do lists plugin - Completed To Do Item

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

Cleverness - Completed To-Do Item

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

Cleverness plugin to do lists WP - Completed To Do Items User Dashboard

Additional Information

The Cleverness plugin provides added functionality that lets you display to-do lists on your website using widgets, and display a list on any 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’ page (Appearance > Widgets) and drag the ‘To-Do List’ widget to the menu location where you want your list to appear …

to-do list plugin Cleverness - Widgets

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

Cleverness - Using The Plugin Widget

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

to-do lists Cleverness - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin also lets you display lists and checklists on your site with shortcodes.

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

plugin to do lists Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

This section explains different ways to configure and use shortcodes to display lists on your pages and posts.

Once you know what type of information you would like to display on your site, create or edit a new or existing post or page and either type or paste the short code into the content area …

Short Codes

After publishing your page or post, you should see the list showing where you have inserted the shortcode …


To download this plugin, visit the plugin website here:

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


"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)