How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPress

WordPress Plugin Tutorials - How To Create A To Do List In WordPressTime is always in short supply, especially when you are running a hectic business or managing any kind of project that involves people working together as a team.

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

Now … add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website updated with fresh content and everything can start to feel unmanageable and overwhelming.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a team, you need to be able to organize and prioritize your daily tasks, monitor your progress, and, if necessary, delegate tasks and responsibilities to members of your team effectively.

A simple “tried and true” method that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability, and allow you to regain control is to use a “to do” list.

To Do Lists – Benefits

A “to do” list helps you measure your progress when trying to complete projects. Your to do list can be detailed or specific, or just serve as a concise 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:

Clearer Thinking

Writing to-do lists means that you don’t have to memorize stuff or clutter your mind with details. Once tasks are jotted down on a to-do list, your head is free to process information and you can focus on other important areas.

Time Prioritization

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time. You can develop a better perspective on what’s truly important vs what isn’t, and what tasks should be completed first.

Reorganize And Reschedule Quickly

A to-do list lets you better cope with events. If you find that a meeting has been cancelled or extra time becomes available when some aspect of the process gets completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reschedule and continue moving forward with no disruption.

Stress Less

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by the fact that there are so many things to do and very little time to do it all in. Creating a to-do list lets you prioritize urgent things that need to get done within a reasonable timeframe, and reschedule tasks that can be worked on later. This can reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and help to relieve some of the stress you may be feeling.

Better Delegation Of Tasks

Having to do lists help you delegate tasks to others better. This is also important when collaborating on a team-based project (see further below).

As you can see, there are many benefits to using a to do list, 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 is sure to increase.

What about using a to do list on your website?

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

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness to-do lists

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Plugin Description

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

Plugin Features

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

You can set up the plugin to have 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 has a variety of settings available. You can delegate to-do items to specific users (this includes emailing 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 available to enable the display of deadline and progress fields. Category support is also included in the front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the admin backend to manage your list and the to do list 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 two shortcodes for front-end list administration. Category management is accessed via the back-end.

If you plan to set up a multi-author site you can use this 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.

Plugin Installation

In your WordPress dashboard section, go to the main menu and select Plugins > Add New

Plugins Menu

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

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

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

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

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

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

After the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

Note: You can also get to the ‘Settings’ screen by choosing To-Do List > Settings from your admin menu …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Menu

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ screen …

to-do list plugin Cleverness - To Do List Settings

Let’s go through the plugin setup process …

How To Configure The Plugin

The Settings screen is divided into 4 tabs:

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

Let’s now go through each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness - To-Do List Settings

To-Do List Categories

Choose ‘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 WordPress - To Do List Categories

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Categories > Add New Category

You can set up ‘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 to-do lists are viewed. You can choose from three to-do list views:

  • Individual – Choose this option if you want each user to be able to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Use this option if you want all users to share the same to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you to create one master list for all users, where users have their own individual items to complete. If you select the ‘Master’ list view, make sure to set the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

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

‘Sort Order’ lets you specify how to sort your to-do list items.

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

Show Added By

If enabled, you can display which of your users has added an item to your to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

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

Show Deadline

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

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

Show Progress

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

plugin to do lists - To-Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

If this option is enabled, the ‘To-Do List’ menu will display in your WP Dashboard Admin bar

Cleverness to-do list - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

This option lets you add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

WP to do lists plugin - To-Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option to display content in your to-do list items using paragraphs.

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 that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Plugin

Visit this site to learn more this handy plugin: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Multi-Author Publishing Plugin

Once you have configured your options, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WP button save changes

Advanced Settings

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

to do list Cleverness - To-Do List Advanced Settings

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

Cleverness WordPress plugin to do list - Advanced Settings Tab

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

Let’s step 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 …

Cleverness plugin - To Do List Advanced Settings Tab - To-Do List Customization Settings

The following options can be configured in this section:

Date Format

Here you can specify how to display dates in your to-do list (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about formatting dates in WordPress, see 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, middle and low items …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - Priority section

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list WP - color-coding priorities

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled, item IDs display on your list …

plugin to-do lists Cleverness - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If enabled (‘Yes’), the date your to-do list was added displays on your table of items …

Cleverness plugin - sort by date added

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 to-do items to other users …

Cleverness plugin - 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

If this option is enabled, you can assign tasks to other users …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - 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

If this option is enabled, you can display items only to users who have been specifically 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 (Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, Subscriber) to display the type of users that can be assigned todo items. Leave the check box unticked for any roles that you do not want to assign to-do items.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

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

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

Note: If this option is disabled, skip the remaining 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 …

Cleverness WP plugin 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 subject of your emails.

If you don’t want to show categories in the subject of your emails, then leave this option disabled.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

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

Cleverness - To Do Item Email From Field

From Field for Emails Sent to User

Use this field to customize the “From” field when sending out email notifications. You can enter your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

to do list Cleverness - From Field for Emails Sent to User

From Email

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

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Type into this field a subject field for the email that will be sent out automatically to users when new items have 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 in 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 to-do list plugin WordPress - Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can perform database maintenance operations related to plugin data inside your plugin settings area itself without having to log into your server …

Cleverness - To Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This function is useful if, for example, you notice that old items are still displaying on your site.

You can perform the following tasks:

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


Any database operations performed from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are comfortable to proceed with any of the database operations available in this section, then make sure to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to do site backups, then use the services of a professional WordPress provider, or use backup plugins. You can read about a WordPress backup plugin that can automate your site backups here:

User Permissions

Here you can configure user permissions and capabilities for Group or Master List types …

WP to-do lists plugin - User Permissions Settings


If you select the Individual List type, the only configurable option applicable for this section is the View To-Do List permission …

to do list plugin - User Permissions Settings Tab - 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 be able to perform for each option …

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

The default general capabilities for each user role are configured 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-admin users should only be authorized to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

to-do lists Cleverness - User Permissions

Let’s review the settings in this tab:

View To-Do List

This allows 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

This allows the chosen capability to mark to-do items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the selected capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the chosen capability to modify existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This permits the selected capability to delegate 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

Here you can permit the chosen capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

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


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may want to transfer data from one website to another, 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 WordPress - Import/Export Tab

Here you can import or export your list and plugin settings …

WordPress to do list plugin - Import/Export Settings

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This opens up a new window allowing you to view or download your data in plain text format to an internal or external storage medium …

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

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

Export WordPress Menu

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

WordPress Menu Export - 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 - Import/Export - Import/Export Settings Section - Import File

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

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

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

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

The data from the existing to-do file will be imported.

After configuring all plugin settings, you are ready to start creating and editing to-do lists.

How To Use Cleverness To-Do List

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

WordPress plugin to do list - To-Do List Menu

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - To-Do List screen

How To Add New To-Do Items

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

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

WP to-do lists plugin - How To Add New To-Do Items

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

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

You can also click on the ‘Add New Item’ link in the ‘To-Do Items’ section (note: only use this option if your To Do list contains many items, as the link will simply take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the page) …

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Adding New Items To Your List

Note: If you are using a list type that lets you assign items to users, select a user from the drop-down list and assign them the item …

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

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

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

Once the new item has been added, it will display as an entry in the ‘To-Do List’ table …

Cleverness plugin - Adding New Items To Your To-Do List

Repeat the above process to keep adding new items to your to-do list …

WP to-do list plugin - Add New To-Do Items To Your List

Editing And Deleting Items From Your List

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

Edit And Remove Items From Your List

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

Cleverness to-do lists - Assigned To Do Items Email

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

plugin to-do lists Cleverness - View To-Do List User Dashboard

When users assigned with completing an item click on the item checkbox …

to-do list plugin - Complete To-Do List Items User Dashboard

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

Cleverness - Completed To Do Item

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

Cleverness - Complete To Do List Item User Dashboard

Additional Information

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

To add to-do lists 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 the list to show …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Plugin Widget

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

to-do lists Cleverness - Plugin Widget

Your to-do list will now display where you have added the 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

You can also add to-do lists and checklists to your site using short codes.

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

Cleverness to do list - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness to do list - Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

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

Short Codes

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

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

Plugin Shortcodes

After publishing your post or page, you will see the list showing exactly where you entered the shortcode …


Go here to learn more about this plugin:

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


"I was absolutely amazed at the scope and breadth of these tutorials! The most in-depth training I have ever received on any subject!" - Myke O'Neill,

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. provides hundreds of FREE tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

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