How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

Creating A To-Do List In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - Creating To Do Lists In WordPressIf you are running a fast-paced business, there never seems to be enough time to get things done.

There are just so many things to do and remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, urgent tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to extinguish, appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The amount of things that need ”doing” never seems to stop.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra dimension of trying to promote and grow your business online and maintaining your website updated with new content and everything suddenly begins to feel unmanageable and overwhelming.

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

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 a “to-do” list.

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to do” list helps you keep track of your progress when working towards your objectives. Your to do list can be quite detailed or specific, or act as a reminder of the things that need to be done over a given period of time.

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

Think More Clearly

Creating a to do list means that you don’t have to memorize stuff or store extra information inside your brain. Once things are written down on a to-do list, your mind is free to process information and you can focus on more important things.

Be More Strategic

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

Quickly Reschedule

Using to do lists let you better deal with events. If an appointment gets cancelled at the last minute or extra time has been made available when something gets completed sooner than expected, you can continue working with little to minimal disruption.


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 take over your productivity.

Feeling Of Accomplishment

Ticking items off your to-do list not only makes you feel more positive, motivated and in-control, it also allows you to relax more, as you can objectively see (or show) that the work is being completed and that progress is being made.

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 productivity and efficiency in your business will improve.

Let’s turn now to using a to do list on your website or blog. More specifically, adding to-do lists to WordPress.

In this detailed step-by-step tutorial you are going to learn how to easily add a to do list to your WP website or blog to help your business grow  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 WordPress

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Plugin Description

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


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

You can configure the plugin to assign 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 has a variety of settings available. You can assign to do items to specific users (this includes a setting to email a new to-do item to the assigned user) and optionally to have those items only seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users based on user roles. There are also settings available to enable the display of deadline and progress fields. Category support is also included as front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the backend to manage your lists and your to do list is also displayed 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 2 short codes for front-end list administration. Category management is accessed through the back-end admin section.

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

Installing The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Inside your WordPress administration section, select Plugins > Add New

Plugins Menu

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin after installing it …

Cleverness plugin - Cleverness plugin WP - Activate Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

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

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

Once you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

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

Cleverness - To Do List Menu

This brings you to the plugin ‘Settings’ section …

to-do list Cleverness - To Do List Settings

The section below shows you how to configure the plugin …

Configuring The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The “To-Do List” plugin ‘Settings’ area is divided into four sections:

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

Let’s go through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

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


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

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

to-do list Cleverness - To-Do List Categories Menu

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

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

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

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

List View

List View allows you to choose how to-do lists will be viewed. You can choose from three to do list views:

  • 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 share the same to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you to create one master list for all users, where users have their own individual items to complete. If you choose the ‘Master’ list view, make sure to set the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Settings Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option lets you display which of your members has added an item to your to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

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

Show Deadline

Enabling this option lets you specify deadlines for to-do tasks …

Cleverness - To-Do List Settings Deadline

Show Progress

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

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

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

Cleverness plugin WP 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

Cleverness - To-Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

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

Integrate with Post Planner

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

WordPress Post Planner

Go here to learn more this plugin: WordPress Post Planner

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

WP button save changes

Advanced Settings

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

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

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

Cleverness to-do lists - To Do List Advanced Settings

This tab lets you customize your To Do lists, assign to-do tasks to other users and carry out database maintenance.

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 allows you to customize your To Do List …

Cleverness plugin to do list - To-Do List Advanced Settings Tab - To-Do List Customization Settings

The following options 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 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, normal and low priority items …

Cleverness plugin to-do lists WordPress - Priority Labels

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

to-do list plugin - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option will show the items’ IDs on your to-do list …

Cleverness plugin - Show To-Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

to do lists Cleverness - Date Added

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 area and assign to-do items to other users …

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

The following options can be configured in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

If this option is enabled, you can assign to-do items to other users …

plugin to-do lists Cleverness - 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 specifically assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled displays items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this section (Administrator displays the type of users that can be assigned todo items. Leave the check box unticked for any roles that you don’t want to assign to-do items.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

to-do list Cleverness - Assigned To Do Items Email

If you don’t want emails sent out to users, then leave this option disabled.

Note: If you disable this option, skip 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 on the subject of your emails …

Cleverness to-do list - Add Category to Email Subject

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - 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. Type your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

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

From Email

Add into this field the email address that you would like to display as the “sent from” email address …

WP to-do list plugin - To Do Item Email From Field

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do list - Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Text in Emails Sent to User

Enter the body of the email message that will be sent out automatically to users when a new item has been assigned to your to-do list.

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this section you can perform database maintenance tasks associated with plugin data inside the plugin settings area itself without having to log into your server …

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

This is useful if, for example, you see that previously deleted items are still displaying on your site.

The following tasks can be performed in this section:

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


Any database operations performed from this screen cannot be undone. If you are sure that you want to carry out database operations in this section, then we recommend backing up your WP database first.

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

User Permissions

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

WordPress plugin to do list - User Permissions Settings Tab


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

Cleverness - User Permissions - View To Do-List dropdown 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 …

WordPress plugin to-do lists - User Permissions - View To Do-List drop-down menu

By default, general capabilities of 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 working with the Master list type make sure that you only permit non-admin users to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list.

Cleverness plugin to-do lists WordPress - User Permissions

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

View To-Do List

This setting permits the selected 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 chosen capability to mark to-do items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This enables the chosen capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This setting allows the chosen capability to edit existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This option 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 permit the selected capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

This setting enables the chosen capability to add new categories.


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

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

WP plugin to do list - Import/Export Tab

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

Cleverness plugin to do list WP - Import/Export Settings

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

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

to do list plugin - Import/Export - Export Settings

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

WordPress Export 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 selecting ‘To-Do’ from the ‘Choose what to export’ section and clicking the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to an internal or external hard drive…

WordPress Menu Export - To-Do Data File

Importing To-Do List Data

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

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

Locate the previously saved to-do list data file in your hard drive or external drive and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

Your file data will be imported.

Now that you have configured all of the plugin settings, you are ready to begin creating and editing to-do lists.

How To Use The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

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

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

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin - To-Do List page

Adding New To-Do Items To Your List

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

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

to-do list Cleverness - Add New To Do Items

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

Cleverness plugin - Adding New To-Do Items

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

Cleverness plugin - How To Add New To Do Items

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

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

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 …

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

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 …

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

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

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

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

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

Repeat this process to add new items to your list …

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

Edit And Delete 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 (discussed in the previous section), users assigned to tasks may also receive an email notification in their inboxes …

Cleverness plugin WP - Assigned To-Do Items Email

After creating your to do list, users can view the list from their own WP user dashboard …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - View To-Do List

When the user assigned with completing an item clicks on the item checkbox …

Cleverness plugin to do list - Complete To Do List Item

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

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

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

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - Complete To Do List Item User Dashboard

Additional Information

The Cleverness plugin offers added functionality that lets you display to-do lists on your website using widgets, and add a list to content inside a post or page using shortcodes.


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 menu where you would like the to-do list to display …

WordPress to do lists plugin - Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Widget

Configure the widget settings and click ’Save’ …

plugin to do list - Plugin Widget

The list will now display where you have added the widget (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness WP to do list plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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


You can also add lists and checklists on your site by placing short codes into your content.

To access the documentation on using shortcodes, select To-Do List > To-Do List from your admin menu …

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

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

Cleverness to do list plugin - Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

The documentation section explains various ways to configure and use short codes to display lists and checklists on your pages and posts.

Once you know what type of information you want 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 The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

Publish your page or post and you will see the list showing where you entered the short code …


To learn more about this plugin, visit the plugin website here:

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


"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,