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 hectic business or manage a team.

There are so many things to do and remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, project tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to put out, calls and appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The amount of things that need ”doing” never seems to stop.

Now … add the extra dimension of promoting and growing your business online and maintaining your website or blog updated with regular content and everything suddenly begins to feel unmanageable and overwhelming.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a project, you need to be able to organize and manage your day.

A proven tool 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.

To Do Lists – Benefits

A “to-do” list helps you keep track of your progress when trying to get projects completed. Your to-do list can be quite detailed or specific, or just serve as a concise reminder of the things that need doing today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

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

Create Order

Having to-do lists help you create order, stay organized and reach your goals sooner.


After creating and organizing your to do list, you can see the bigger picture and formulate a strategy for getting tasks completed effectively.

Document Your Work

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


Without accountability there’s no commitment to getting things completed, and no motivation to take meaningful action. Lack of accountability can also allow excuses to creep in and influence your productivity.

Feeling Of Accomplishment

Crossing items off your to-do list gives you a feeling of accomplishment and allows you to relax more, as you can objectively see (or show) that work is indeed getting done 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 a to-do list, then prioritizing tasks and working systematically increases your business productivity and efficiency.

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

In this detailed tutorial we are going to show you how to add to-do lists to your WordPress site to help your business grow  faster and more efficiently using a customizable, multi-featured to do list plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness plugin to do lists WP

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Plugin Description

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


Note: the features described 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 completion of items.

The shared to-do list option offers different settings. You can assign to-do items to specific users (this includes a setting to email new to-do items to the user) and optionally to have assigned items only seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. There are also settings available to display deadline and progress fields. Category support is included as well in the front-end administration.

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

A sidebar widget is available as well as short code to display the to-do list items on your site. There are 2 short codes for front-end administration of your list. Category management is accessible via the back-end admin section.

If you plan to run 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 own the developer’s premium plugin, Post Planner.

How To Install The Plugin

Log into your WordPress dashboard and click on Plugins > Add New …

WP Plugin Menu

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Cleverness plugin WordPress - Install To-Do List

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

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

Click Activate Plugin

Cleverness - Cleverness - Activate To Do List Plugin

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

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

When the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

Note: The plugin’s ‘Settings’ screen can also be accessed by selecting To-Do List > Settings from the admin menu …

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

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ area …

to do lists plugin - To Do List Settings

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

Setting Up The Plugin

The Settings screen is divided into four sections:

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

Let’s review each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

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


Select ‘Enabled’ to organize your 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 menu …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Categories

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

WordPress plugin to-do list - To Do List Categories Section

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

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

List View

List View lets you specify how to-do lists will be viewed. You can select three types of list views:

  • Individual – Choosing this option lets users create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Choose this option if you want all users to be able 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 completion of items. If using the ‘Master’ list view, make sure to adjust the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

Cleverness plugin WP to-do list - To-Do List Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

If this option is enabled, you can 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 (‘Yes’) displays completion dates for your to-do items.

Show Deadline

If enabled (‘Yes’), you will be able to specify deadlines for your to-do items …

Cleverness - To Do List Settings Deadline

Show Progress

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

WordPress plugin to-do list - To Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

If this option is 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

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

Cleverness to-do lists - To-Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option to display content in to-do lists using paragraphs.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you are running 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 task of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner

To learn more this plugin, go here: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Multi-Author Publishing Plugin

Once you are done configuring your plugin options, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

WordPress button - save changes

Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness to do lists - To Do List Advanced Settings

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

Cleverness plugin to-do list - Advanced Settings Tab

This area lets you customize your To Do lists, assign to-do items to users and perform plugin 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

In this area you can customize your To-Do List …

to-do list Cleverness - Advanced Settings - Customize To-Do List 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 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

This section lets you customize your labels for prioritizing highest, normal and lowest items …

WordPress to do lists plugin - Priority Labeling

Highest priority items are colour-coded in red and lowest (low) priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

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

WordPress plugin to-do list - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option displays the date the To-Do Items table was added …

WordPress plugin to-do list - Date Added column

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

If you have selected ‘Group’ or ‘Master’ View for your to-do list, you can configure the settings in this area and assign items to other users …

Cleverness - 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 to assign tasks to other users …

to do lists Cleverness - 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 (‘Yes’) lets you display items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled will display items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this area Contributor to display the type of users that can be assigned items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a role, then leave its checkbox unticked.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

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

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

Note: If you disable this option, you can 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 …

to-do lists plugin - Add Category to Email Subject

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

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

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

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

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

This field lets you customize the “From” field when sending out email notices. You can enter your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

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

From Email

Type in the email address that you would like to display as the “sent from” email address …

Cleverness WordPress plugin to do list - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Type in 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 …

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

Add 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 plugin to do list WP - To Do Item Email Text Field

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can carry out database maintenance tasks related to plugin data inside the plugin settings area without having to log into your web server …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Clean up Database

This is useful if, for example, you notice that previously deleted to-do items are still showing on your site.

The tasks below can be performed:

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


Any actions that you perform on the database 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 remember to backup your WordPress database first.

If you don’t want to back up your site manually, then get professional WordPress assistance services, or use WordPress backup plugins. Learn about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to completely automate your site backups here:

User Permissions

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

to do lists plugin - User Permissions Settings

Useful Information

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

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

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

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

By default, general capabilities for each user role are 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 non-administrators should only be allowed to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list itself.

to do lists Cleverness - User Permissions

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

View To-Do List

Here you can allow 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

This enables the chosen capability to mark items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option permits the selected capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

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

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the selected capability to assign 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

Here you can enable the chosen capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

This allows the selected capability to purge all the completed items.

Add Categories Capability

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


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be very useful. For example, you may decide to copy over data from an existing list to another website, or export the list data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

Cleverness plugin to-do lists WP - Import/Export

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list - Import/Export Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

WP plugin to do list - Import/Export - Import/Export Settings - 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 an internal or external drive …

Cleverness - Import/Export - Export Settings

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

WordPress Menu Tools > Export

You can include to-do list data in a WordPress 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 on the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to an internal or external hard drive…

Tools > Export WordPress - To-Do Data File

Importing To-Do List Data

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your file will be imported.

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

How To Use The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do lists - 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 items to your to-do list from your dashboard toolbar …

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

You can also add new to-do items to your list using the ‘To-Do List’ dashboard section by clicking on the ‘Add To-Do item’ link …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do lists - How To Add New To-Do Items To Your 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 already contains many items, since the link is only going to take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the page) …

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

All the above methods will bring 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 new items to your to-do list.

Configure 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 to-do item …

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

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

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

Once the item has been added, the item will be listed as an entry in the ‘To-Do Items’ table …

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

Repeat this process to keep adding items to your to-do list …

Cleverness plugin - Add A New Item To Your To-Do List

Edit And Delete Items

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 tasks may also receive an email notification in their inboxes …

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

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

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

When users responsible for completing an item click on the item checkbox …

WordPress plugin to-do lists - Complete To Do Item

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Complete To Do Items User Dashboard

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

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

Additional Plugin Information

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

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 would like the to-do list to appear …

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

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

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

Your to-do list will appear wherever you have added the ‘to-do-list’ widget (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

to do list plugin - Plugin Widget

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

Short Codes

The plugin also lets you display to-do lists on your site using short codes.

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

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

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

plugin to-do lists Cleverness - Plugin Short Codes

Click on the ‘Shortcodes’ menu entry 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 editor …

Short Codes

After publishing your page or post, you should see the list displayed in the location where you have inserted the short code …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

Visit the plugin website to learn more about this plugin:

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


"I love the way your email series "Infinite Web Content Creation Training Series" is documented and presented. It is very absorbing and captivating. The links and tutorials are interesting and educational. This has motivated me to rewrite my content following the concepts I am learning from the email series." - Mani Raju,