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 - Creating A To-Do List In WordPressTime always seems to be in short supply, especially if you are a busy person trying to run a business or manage a team.

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

Now … on top of all this, add the extra dimension of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website updated with fresh content and everything can start becoming unmanageable and out of control.

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

A ”tried and true” method that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability, and allow you to gain some control is to use “to-do” lists.

Benefits Of Using To Do Lists

A “to do” list helps you track your progress as you work to achieve a certain objective. Your to do list can be minutely detailed and specific, or serve as a concise reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

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

See Things More Clearly

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


Creating and organizing to do lists helps you see the larger picture and formulate a strategy for getting things completed effectively.

Keep Work Logs

To-do lists allow you to keep documented logs of what has been done. You can use this as evidence of work done to clients or employers, or just 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.

Sense Of Accomplishment

Crossing items off to do lists not only helps you feel more productive, motivated and in-control, it also allows you to stress less, as you can objectively see (or show) that the work is being completed and that milestones are being reached.

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 things systematically and your business efficiency and productivity will improve.

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

In this step-by-step tutorial you are going to learn how to create to do lists in WordPress 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

WordPress to-do lists plugin

Download URL


This WordPress plugin lets you easily add customizable to-do lists to your WordPress website or blog.


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

You can set up Cleverness To Do List to have 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 has a variety of settings available. 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 those items be viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users based on user roles. There are also settings 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 help you manage your list and your to do list can also display on a dashboard widget.

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

If you plan to run a multi-author site you can use the plugin to create custom to do lists for your post planners if you also download the Post Planner plugin for WordPress from the same developer.

How To Install The Plugin

Log into your site’s dashboard section, and choose 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 plugin WP - WordPress to-do list plugin - Install Cleverness To Do List

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

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

Activate the plugin …

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

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

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

After the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

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

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ area …

to do lists plugin Cleverness - To Do List Settings

The section below shows you how to configure the plugin …

Setting Up The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The plugin’s ‘Settings’ screen is divided into four tabs:

  • To-Do List Settings – The options in this tab let you specify the main plugin settings.
  • Advanced Settings – This area is where you 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 – Here you can import and export your to-do list data and plugin settings.

Let’s now review each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

WP to-do lists plugin - To Do List Settings

To-Do List Categories

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

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

WP plugin to-do list - To Do List Menu

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

Cleverness to-do lists - To-Do List Categories

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

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

List View

List View lets you choose how your to-do lists are viewed. There are three types of to-do list views available:

  • Individual – Choosing this option allows each user to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Select this option if you want all users to be able to share one 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 using the ‘Master’ list view, make sure to set the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

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

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

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

Show Added By

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

Show Deadline

If enabled, you will be able to specify deadlines for to-do items …

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

Show Progress

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness 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 Dashboard Admin bar

Cleverness 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

WP plugin to do lists - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

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

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, from the same developer to help make managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - Editorial Solution Plugin For WordPress

Visit this site to learn more about using this handy plugin: WordPress Post Planner

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

WordPress save changes button

Advanced Settings

After you have configured the general settings, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab …

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Advanced Settings

In this area you can customize your To Do lists, assign to-do items to other users and carry out database maintenance tasks.

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 lets you customize your To-Do List …

Cleverness WordPress to do lists plugin - 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 on your to-do lists (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

In this area you can customize your labels for prioritizing highest, middle and low items …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - Priority section

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Priority column

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option will show item IDs on your list …

Cleverness to-do list plugin WP - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness to do list plugin WordPress - Date Added

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 section and assign items to other users …

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

You can configure the following options in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enabling this option lets you assign tasks to other users …

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

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

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

Enable this option to display to-do items only to users who have been assigned those items. Leave this option disabled (‘No’) 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 don’t want to assign to-do items.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

Cleverness plugin - Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

Note: If this option is disabled, skip other settings 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 …

plugin to do lists Cleverness - Add Category to Email Subject

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

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

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This is a useful option if your website has various project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness - To Do Item Email From Field

From Field for Emails Sent to User

This field allows you to customize the “From” field when sending out email notifications. Add the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

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

From Email

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

Cleverness plugin WP - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Type into this field a subject field for the email that will be automatically sent to users whenever a new item has been added to your to-do list …

Cleverness - Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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 - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This section allows you to carry out database maintenance tasks associated with plugin data inside the plugin settings area without having to log into your server …

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

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

The following tasks can be performed:

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


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

If you don’t want to back up your data manually, then get support services from a WordPress professional, or use backup plugins. Learn about a WordPress backup plugin that can automate your backup process here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness WordPress to do lists plugin - User Permissions Tab

Important Info

If you choose the Individual List type, the only item that is applicable for this section is the View To-Do List permission …

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - User Permissions Settings Tab - View To-Do-List

The 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 using the Master list type non-admin users should only be allowed to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list itself.

WP plugin to do lists - User Permissions Settings

Let’s review the settings in this section:

View To-Do List

This enables 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 selected capability to mark to-do items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option enables the chosen capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This option enables the selected capability to edit existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This allows the selected capability to delegate to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This allows 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

This setting enables the chosen capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

This allows the selected capability to add new categories.


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may want to transfer data from an existing list to another website, or store your data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

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

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

Cleverness to-do list - Import/Export

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

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

Cleverness - Import/Export - Export Settings File

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

Export 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 the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to a storage device…

Tools > Export WordPress - To Do Data

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 to do lists WP - Import/Export 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’ …

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

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

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

Your file data will be imported.

After configuring all of the 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 dashboard, then go to the menu and click on To-Do List > To-Do List

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List page

Adding New Items To Your To Do List

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

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

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

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

Cleverness to do lists - Add 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 take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the screen) …

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

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

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

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 new item to your list …

Cleverness - How To Add New To Do Items To Your List

Note: If you have chosen a list type that lets you assign responsibilities over items to 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 remove users) …

Cleverness plugin - Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

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

Repeat this process to keep adding items to your list …

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

Editing And Deleting Items

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

Editing And Removing Items From Your List

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

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

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

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

When users responsible for the item complete the task and click on the item check box …

Cleverness - Completed To-Do List Item User Dashboard

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

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

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

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

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness plugin offers additional functions that let you display to-do lists on your WordPress website using widgets, and add lists to any page or post using shortcodes.

Using The Plugin Widget

To add to-do lists to your site using widgets, go to the ‘Widgets’ section (Appearance > Widgets) and drag the ‘To-Do List’ widget to the menu location where you want the to-do list to appear …

WordPress plugin to do lists - Using The Plugin Widget

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

to do list Cleverness - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Widgets

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

Using Plugin Shortcodes

You can also add lists and checklists on your site using short codes.

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

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

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

WordPress plugin to do list - Shortcodes

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


The documentation section explains different ways to configure and use shortcodes for displaying lists and checklists on your posts and pages.

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

Publish your page or post and you should see the list displayed in the location where you have inserted the shortcode …

Using Plugin Short Codes

To download this plugin, visit this site:

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


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