How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

WordPress Tutorials - Creating A To Do List In WordPressIf you plan to run a growing business or manage a team, time always seems to be in short supply.

There is just so much to do and remember. You have clients to meet, project 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 stops.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra dimension of promoting and growing your business online and keeping your website or blog updated with regular 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 prioritize your daily activities, monitor your progress and daily accomplishments, and, if necessary, assign tasks and responsibilities to others effectively.

A simple proven tool 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 monitor your progress as you complete projects. Your to-do list can be very detailed and very specific, or just serve as a reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc..

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

Stay Organized

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

Manage Your Time Better

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you manage your time more effectively. You can gain a clearer perspective on what’s truly urgent vs what’s not, and what steps should be completed first.

Log Your Work

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

Ensures Accountability

With no accountability there is no commitment to getting things completed, and no motivation to take meaningful action. Lack of accountability can also allow excuses to creep in and take over your productivity.

Better Delegation

A to do list helps you better delegate work to others. This is also important if you plan to collaborate with others (see further below).

As you can see, there are many benefits to using to do lists, both in business and in your personal life. Creating a to do list, then prioritizing tasks and working in a systematic way increases your business efficiency and productivity.

What about adding to do lists to your website?

Creating To Do Lists In WordPress

In this detailed tutorial we are going to show you how to create a to-do list in WordPress to improve business efficiency and productivity using a great little WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

plugin to-do lists Cleverness

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Plugin Description

This plugin provides users with a to do list feature.

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Features

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

You can configure the plugin to have private to-do lists for individual users, to have all users share a to do list, or to have a master list with individual completion of items.

The shared to do list option provides different settings. You can assign to do items to a specific user (this includes a setting to email new to-do items to assigned users) and optionally to have those items only viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels using capabilities. There are also settings to show deadline and progress fields. Category support is also included as front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the backend to help you manage your lists and the to do list can also display on the 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 shortcodes for front-end list administration. Category management is accessed through the back-end.

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

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Installation

Inside your site’s admin, choose Plugins > Add New

WP Plugin Menu

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

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

Locate the item in the Search Results area and click Install Now

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

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

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

When the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

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

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ section …

Cleverness to do lists - To-Do List Settings Tab

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

Setting Up The Plugin

The Settings area is divided into four tabs:

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

Let’s go through each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

to-do list Cleverness - To-Do List Settings


Select ‘Enabled’ to organize 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 …

Cleverness plugin to-do list - To Do List Categories

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

WordPress to-do lists plugin - To Do List Add Category

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

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

List View

List View allows you to specify how to-do lists will be viewed. There are three to do list views available:

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

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

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you 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

If this option is enabled, completion dates will display for your to-do items.

Show Deadline

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

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

Show Progress

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - To Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

plugin to do list - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If enabled, automatic paragraphs are used to display content in your to-do lists.

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, developed by the same author that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner

For more information about using this WordPress plugin, visit this site: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Multi-Author Publishing Plugin

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

WP save changes button

Advanced Settings

Once you have configured the general settings, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to continue …

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

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ screen …

Cleverness WordPress to-do list plugin - Advanced Settings

In this screen you can customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do items to users and carry out 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

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

Cleverness plugin - Advanced Settings - To Do List Customization Settings

The following settings can be configured in this section:

Date Format

This section lets you specify how to display dates in your todo list (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about how to format dates in WordPress, visit the relevant section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

This section lets you customize your labels for prioritizing important, normal and low items …

plugin to do list - Priority Labeling

Highest priority items are colour-coded in red in the lists and low priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin WordPress - colour-coding priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) shows item IDs on the list …

Cleverness to-do list - Show To-Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option displays the date the items table was added …

Cleverness to-do list plugin - Date Added column

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

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

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

The following options can be configured in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to assign tasks to other users …

Cleverness plugin to-do list - 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 tasks only to users who have been assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled will display to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

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

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

Cleverness plugin to do list - Assigned To Do Items Email

If you don’t want to send out emails to users, then leave this option disabled (‘No’).

Note: If you disable this option, 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 in the subject of emails sent to users …

plugin to do list - Add Category to Subject

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

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want to-do 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 option is useful if, for example, you have multiple project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

From Email

Add the email address that you would like displayed as the “sent from” address …

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Type in a subject field for the email that will be sent out automatically to users whenever new items have been added in your to-do list …

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

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.

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This section allows you to perform database maintenance operations related to plugin data directly from the plugin settings area …

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

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

The tasks below can be performed:

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


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

If you don’t want to back up your site manually, then consider getting professional assistance, or use a WordPress backup plugin. Learn about a great WordPress backup plugin that can automate your backup process here: Back Up, Duplicate And Protect Your WordPress Web Sites With Backup Creator Plugin For WordPress

User Permissions

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

WordPress to-do list plugin - User Permissions Tab


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

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

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 …

Cleverness plugin WP - User Permissions Settings 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 using the Master list type non-admin users should only be permitted to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

plugin to do list - User Permissions Settings Tab

Let’s now review the settings in the User Permissions section:

View To-Do List

Here you can permit the chosen 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 enable the selected capability to mark to-do items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This permits the selected capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the chosen capability to modify existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This permits 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 permits the selected capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

This setting 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 want to transfer data from one website to another, or store your data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list - Import/Export Tab

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin WordPress - Import/Export Settings

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This opens up a window allowing you to view or save your data in a plain text file (e.g. Notepad) to a storage device …

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

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

Export WP

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 on the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to your hard drive…

Export WP Menu - To-Do

Importing To-Do List Data

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings Section - Import To Do File

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

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

Your file will be imported.

After configuring all of the plugin settings, you can begin create and edit your lists.

How To Use Cleverness To-Do List

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

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

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

Cleverness to-do lists - To-Do List screen

How To Add A New Item To Your To Do List

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

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

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

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

Cleverness to-do lists - Add New Items To Your To Do 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 already contains many items, since the link will simply send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the page) …

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

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

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

Select 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 new item to your list …

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

Note: If you are using 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 lists - Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

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

After After adding a new item, the item will be listed as an entry in the ‘To-Do Items’ table …

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

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

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

Edit And Delete To Do Items From Your List

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

Editing And Removing Items From Your List

Depending on your plugin configuration settings (discussed earlier), users assigned to tasks may also receive an email notification in their inboxes …

Cleverness plugin - Assigned To-Do Items Email

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

Cleverness - View To-Do List

When users assigned with the item complete the task and click on the item check box …

Cleverness plugin - Complete To Do Item User Dashboard

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

to-do list Cleverness - Completed To-Do List Item User Dashboard

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

WP plugin to-do lists - Completed To Do Items User Dashboard

Additional Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin offers additional functions that let you display to-do lists on your site using widgets, and add lists to any page or post using short codes.

Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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 (or footer) menu where you want your list to show …

to-do lists plugin Cleverness - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

Configure the settings in the widget and click on the ‘Save’ button …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Widgets

The to-do list will appear where the widget was inserted (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

WordPress plugin to-do list - Widgets

To learn more about using widgets in WordPress, see the tutorial below: How To Use Widgets In WordPress

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

You can also create to-do lists and checklists to your site by placing short codes into your content.

To access the documentation on using short codes, click on To-Do List > To-Do List from the admin menu …

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Shortcodes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

This section explains various ways to configure and use shortcodes for displaying lists on your pages and posts.

Once you know what information you want to display on your site, open up a new page or post and either type or paste the shortcode inside the content editor …

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

After publishing your post or page, you should see the list showing in the location where you entered the short code …

Using Plugin Short Codes

Visit the plugin website to learn more about this plugin: Cleverness To-Do List WordPress Plugin

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

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of and has authored hundreds of FREE WordPress tutorials for non-techies and 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.