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 Plugin Tutorials - How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPressTime is always in short supply, especially if you are running a growing business.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have clients to meet, tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to put out, deliveries to make, commitments to keep and so on. The amount of things that need to get done never ends.

Now … add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website updated with fresh content and everything can quickly start becoming unmanageable and chaotic.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a team, it’s important to be able to organize and prioritize your daily activities, monitor your progress, and, if necessary, assign responsibilities to others effectively.

One proven method that can help you save time, alleviate stressful workloads, and allow you to take control is to use a “to-do” list.

The Benefits Of Using To Do Lists

A “to-do” list helps you keep track of your progress when trying to achieve specific objectives. Your to-do list can be detailed and very specific, or serve as a reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of using to-do lists:

Free Up Resources

Writing to-do lists means you don’t have to try to memorize things or clutter your mind with details. Once tasks are written down on a to do list, your mind is free to process information and you can focus on other areas that are important.

Better Strategic Planning

By creating and organizing a to do list, you can view the larger picture and create a strategy to get everything completed efficiently.

Document Your Work

To-do lists allow you to retain documented logs of what has been done. You can use this as evidence of work done to employers or clients, or simply as a way of helping you monitor your own productivity and efficiency.

Eliminate Stress

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and very little time to do it all in. Creating a to do list allows you to work on urgent things that need to be completed immediately, and push out tasks that can be addressed at a later time. This can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and take away some of the stress you may be feeling.

Better Delegation Of Tasks

A to do list helps you assign tasks to other people better. This is also important if you plan to work on a team-based project (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 systematic way and efficiency and productivity in your business will surely improve.

What about using a to-do list on your WordPress website?

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

Cleverness To-Do List

plugin to do list Cleverness

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin URL

Plugin Description

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


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

You can set up Cleverness To-Do List with 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 item completions.

The shared to do list option has a variety of settings available. You can delegate to do items to specific users (this includes emailing a new to-do item to the assigned user) and optionally to have those items only viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. 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 list and the to-do list can also appear on a dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as shortcode to display the to-do list items on your blog. There are two shortcodes for front-end administration of the list. Category management is accessible through 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 for WordPress.

How To Install The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

In your site’s dashboard, go to the menu and click on Plugins > Add New

Plugins Menu

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin …

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

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

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

After the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

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

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ page …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Settings

Let’s configure the plugin …

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Setup

The Settings screen is divided into four sections:

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

Let’s now go through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness - To Do List Settings


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

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

to do lists Cleverness - To-Do List Categories Menu

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Categories Section

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

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

List View

List View lets you choose how your to-do lists will be viewed. You can choose 3 to-do list views:

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

Cleverness - To Do List Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option lets you 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

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

Show Deadline

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you specify deadlines for to-do tasks …

Cleverness to do lists - To-Do List Settings Deadline

Show Progress

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

plugin to do lists Cleverness - To-Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

WP plugin to-do lists - To Do List Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If enabled (‘Yes’), automatic paragraphs are used to display content in your 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, from the same developer that helps to make managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - Plugin For WordPress

To learn more about this WordPress plugin, visit this site: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Plugin

After you have finished configuring your options, click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WordPress save changes button

Advanced Settings

After configuring the general settings, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to proceed …

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

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

Cleverness - Advanced Settings

This tab lets you customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do items to users and perform database maintenance.

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

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

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

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

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Date Format

In this section you can 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, refer to the date section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

In this area you can customize your labels for highest, middle (normal) and lowest (low) priority items …

Cleverness plugin WP - Priority drop-down menu

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

to do lists plugin - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

If this option is enabled, item IDs display on the to-do list …

plugin to do lists - Show To Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) will show the date your To-Do Items table was added …

WordPress plugin to do list - 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 section and assign items to other users …

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

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you assign to-do items to other users …

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

Note: This set this option to ‘Yes’ for the settings below it to work.

Show a User Only the To-Do Items Assigned to Them

Enable this option to display to-do items only to users who have been assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled displays items to all users.

User Roles to Show

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

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

When you enable this option, WordPress automatically sends users an email with their assigned to-do items …

WordPress plugin to-do lists - 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, skip the 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 on the subject of your emails …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - Add Category to Subject

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

If you don’t want categories to show the subject of your emails, 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 you have various project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

This field lets you customize the “From” field when sending out emails to users. Add your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

to-do lists plugin - From Field for Emails Sent to User

From Email

Type in the email address that you want showing as the “sent from” address …

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Add into this field a subject field for the email that will be automatically distributed to users when 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 WP to do lists plugin - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab allows you to carry out database maintenance operations related to plugin data directly from your plugin settings area without the need to log into your web server …

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

This is useful if, for example, you see that old todo items are still appearing on your site.

The tasks below can be performed:

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

Important Info

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

If you don’t want to back up your site yourself, then get professional WordPress assistance, or use backup plugins. You can read about a WordPress backup plugin that can automate your backup process here:

User Permissions

Here you can configure user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types …

Cleverness plugin WP - User Permissions


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

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions - View To Do-List dropdown menu

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 have access to for each option …

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

By default, general capabilities for each user role are set up 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 permitted to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

WP to-do lists plugin - User Permissions Tab

Let’s review the settings in the User Permissions tab:

View To-Do List

Here you can enable 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

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

Add To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the chosen capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the chosen capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This option enables the selected capability to assign to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

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

Delete To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the chosen capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can permit the selected capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

This option enables the chosen capability to add new categories.


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may need to copy over data from one site to another, or store your list data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

Cleverness plugin to do list - Import/Export Settings Tab

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

Cleverness plugin to-do lists WP - Import/Export Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This opens up a new window allowing you to view or download the data as plain text to a storage medium …

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

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

WordPress Export Menu

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

Tools > Export WP Menu - Export To-Do

Importing To-Do List Data

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

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

Select the file and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

Your file data will be imported.

After configuring all plugin settings, you are ready to start create and edit your lists.

How To Use The Plugin

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

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

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

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

Add A New Item To Your To Do List

There are several ways to add a new item to your to-do list.

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

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

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

plugin to-do lists - Adding 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 is only going to send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the screen) …

plugin to do list Cleverness - How To Add A New Item To Your To-Do List

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

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

Select 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 item to your list …

Cleverness to do list - Add A New Item To Your List

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

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

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

Cleverness - Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

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

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

Cleverness - Add New Items To Your List

Editing And Deleting To Do Items

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

Edit And Remove To-Do Items From Your List

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

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

After creating your to do list, users can view the list when logged into their own WP dashboard …

Cleverness to do list - View To Do List User Dashboard

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

Cleverness to do list plugin WP - Completed To-Do List Item

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

WordPress plugin to do list - Complete To-Do Item

And displays in the ‘Completed Items’ section located in the ’To-Do List’ page …

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

Additional Plugin Information

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


To add a to-do list 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 the list to appear …

WP plugin to do list - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness - Using The Plugin Widget

Your list will display wherever you have added the widget (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness plugin to do list WordPress - Widgets

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

Short Codes

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin also lets you create to-do lists to your site by inserting short codes into your content.

To access the plugin’s short code documentation, select To-Do List > To-Do List from your dashboard menu …

to do lists Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

WP plugin to do list - Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

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

Short Codes

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

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

Plugin Shortcodes

Publish your page or post and you should see the list displayed where you added the short code …


For more information about this plugin, go here:

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


"I was absolutely amazed at the scope and breadth of these tutorials! The most in-depth training I have ever received on any subject!" - Myke O'Neill,