How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

WP Plugin Tutorials - Creating A To Do List In WordPressThere is never enough time to get everything done, especially when you are running a growing business or managing a team.

There are so many things to do and remember. You have deadlines to meet, tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to extinguish, deliveries to make, commitments to keep and so on. The stress of trying to get things done on time never seems to end.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and maintaining your website or blog updated with new content and things can start feeling unmanageable and chaotic.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a project, it’s important to be able to organize and manage your daily activities.

A proven tool that can help you save time, alleviate stressful workloads, 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 monitor your progress as you work towards your objectives. Your to-do list can be minutely detailed or specific, or just serve as a reminder of tasks that need to be done over a given period of time.

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

Create Order

To-do lists help you create order, stay organized and reach goals faster.

Better Time Management

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time. You can develop a better perspective on what’s more urgent vs what isn’t, and what tasks have to be completed first.

Quickly Reschedule

Having a to do list lets you better handle unforeseen situations. If you suddenly find that an appointment gets cancelled at the last minute or extra time becomes available when some task gets completed sooner than expected, you can continue moving forward with little to no loss of focus.


With no accountability there’s 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 influence your productivity.


Creating to do lists and other project management tools is essential for getting other people involved on some of your larger or more complex projects.

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 in a systematic way improves efficiency and productivity in your business.

What about adding a to-do list to your website?

How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPress

In this detailed step-by-step tutorial we are going to show you how to easily create to-do lists in WordPress to help your team get things done  faster and more efficiently using a great little plugin for WordPress called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness to do list plugin WordPress

Plugin URL


This plugin provides users with a to do list feature.

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Features

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

You can configure Cleverness To Do List to assign private to-do lists for each user, to have all users share your to do list, or to have a master list with individual item completions.

The shared to-do list offers a number of different settings. You can delegate to-do items to a specific user (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 using capabilities. 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 admin backend to manage your lists and the to do lists can also appear on the dashboard widget.

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

If you plan to run a multi-author blog you can use this to do lists plugin to create custom to-do lists for your post editors if you also own the developer’s premium plugin, Post Planner.

Installing The Plugin

Log into your WP dashboard area, and click on Plugins > Add New …

Plugins Menu

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

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

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

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

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

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

After you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

Note: You can also get to the plugin’s settings area by selecting To-Do List > Settings from the admin menu …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - To Do List Menu

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ area …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Settings Tab

Let’s go through the plugin setup process …

Plugin Setup

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

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

Let’s now review each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

WP to do lists plugin - To Do List Settings


Choose ‘Enabled’ to organize your lists 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 …

WP plugin to do lists - To Do List Categories

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin WP - To-Do List Categories Section

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

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

List View

List View allows you to choose how your lists are viewed. You can select three kinds of list views:

  • Individual – Selecting this option lets each user 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 – Choose this option to create a master list for all users, where users have their own individual completion of items. If you choose the ‘Master’ list view, make sure to configure the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

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

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display which of your members has added an item to the to-do list.

Note: This setting only applies 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 your to-do tasks …

to do list plugin - To Do List Deadline

Show Progress

If this option is enabled, you will be able to specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

to-do list plugin - To Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays the ‘To-Do List’ menu in your WordPress Admin bar

Cleverness plugin - To Do List Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

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

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display content in to-do list items using paragraphs.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you are running a collaborative site or blog, you can integrate the Cleverness To Do List plugin with a plugin called WordPress Post Planner, developed by the same plugin author that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - Plugin For WordPress

For more details about using this plugin, visit this site: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Editorial Solution Plugin

When you have finished configuring your options, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

WordPress save changes button

Advanced Settings

After configuring the settings in the To-Do List Settings tab, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to proceed …

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

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

to do lists plugin - To Do List Advanced Settings Tab

In this screen you can 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

Here you can customize your To Do List …

to do lists Cleverness - Advanced Settings Tab - To-Do List Customization Settings

The following settings can be configured in this section:

Date Format

Here you can specify how to display dates on your todo 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 labels for highest (important), middle (normal) and low priority items …

Cleverness plugin - Priority section

Highest priority items display in red in the lists and lowest (low) priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

to do list Cleverness - colour-coding priorities

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option will show the item’s ID on your to-do list …

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - Show To Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness to-do list plugin WordPress - sort by 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 area and assign to-do items to other users …

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

You can configure the following settings in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enable this option to assign tasks to other users …

to-do list plugin 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

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to 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

Checking the boxes in this section Editor displays the type of users that can be assigned todo items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a specific role, then don’t tick its check box.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

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

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

Note: If you disable this option, 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 …

Cleverness to-do list - Add Category to Email 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 to show categories in the subject of your emails, then leave this option disabled (‘No’).

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 you have various project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

From Email

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

plugin to-do list Cleverness - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

In this field, enter a subject field for the email that will be automatically distributed to users when a new item has been added in your to-do list …

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

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

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This area lets you perform database maintenance operations associated with plugin data inside the plugin settings area without having to log into your web server …

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

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

The tasks below can be performed in this section:

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

Useful Info

Any actions that you perform on your database from this screen cannot be undone. If you are comfortable to carry out database operations in this section, then remember to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to perform your own backups, then consider getting support services from a WordPress professional, or use backup plugins. You can learn more about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to perform automated file and data backups here: Back Up, Duplicate & Protect Your WordPress Websites And Blogs With Backup Creator WP Plugin

User Permissions

In this section you can configure user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types …

to do lists plugin - User Permissions

Useful Information

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

to do lists plugin Cleverness - User Permissions Tab - 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 want users to have access to for each option …

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

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 using the Master list type non-administrator users should only be authorized to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list.

Cleverness plugin to do list WP - User Permissions Settings Tab

Here is a description of the settings in this tab:

View To-Do List

This option 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

This option permits the selected capability to mark items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This setting allows the chosen capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This allows the selected capability to edit existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This setting permits the chosen capability to assign items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can enable 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 setting permits the selected capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

This permits 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 transfer data from one website to another, or store the data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin to do list - Import/Export Settings Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a window allowing you to view or save the data in plain text format to a storage device …

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

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

Tools > Export WordPress

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

WordPress Tools > Export Menu - Export To-Do Data File

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 to do lists - Import/Export - Import/Export Settings Section - Import To Do File

Locate the previously saved to-do list data file and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

Your file data will be imported.

Now that you have configured all of the plugin settings, you can begin create and edit to-do lists.

Plugin Usage

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

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

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

Cleverness - To-Do List page

Adding New To-Do Items To Your List

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

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

Cleverness WP to do list plugin - Adding New To Do Items

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

Cleverness plugin to-do lists WP - How To Add A New Item 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, since the link is only going to send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the page) …

Cleverness - How To Add New To Do Items

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

to do list Cleverness - Add New To-Do Items

Repeat this process to continue adding new items to your to-do list …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - Add New To Do Items

Edit And Delete Items From Your List

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

Edit And Delete To Do Items From Your List

Depending on how you have configured your plugin settings (see previous section), users assigned to tasks may also receive an email notification in their inboxes …

to-do lists Cleverness - Assigned To-Do Items Email

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

to do lists plugin - View To Do List User Dashboard

When users assigned with an item complete the task and click on the item checkbox …

plugin to do list Cleverness - Complete To Do Item

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

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

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

Cleverness - Completed To Do Item User Dashboard

Additional Information

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

Configure the widget settings and click ’Save’ …

Cleverness - Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin WordPress - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Using Plugin Shortcodes

You can also add lists on your site by placing shortcodes into your content.

To access the plugin’s short code documentation, click on To-Do List > To-Do List from your WP admin menu …

plugin to-do list - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

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

Plugin Short Codes

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

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

Plugin Shortcodes

Publish your page or post and you should see the list showing exactly where you have inserted the short code …

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

Go here for more information about this plugin: Cleverness To-Do List WordPress Plugin

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


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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of and has authored hundreds of FREE WordPress tutorials for beginners. provides detailed step-by-step tutorials that will teach you how to use WordPress with no coding skills required and grow your business online at minimal cost!

Originally published as How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress.