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 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 so much work to do and things to remember. You have clients to meet, tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to put out, calls and appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The stress of trying to get things done on time never ends.

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

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a project, it’s important to be able to organize and prioritize your daily tasks, keep track of your progress, and, if necessary, delegate responsibilities to members of your team efficiently.

A simple “tried and true” method that can help you save time, reduce stressful workloads, and allow you to gain some control is to use a “to do” list.

The Benefits Of Using To Do Lists

A “to do” list helps you monitor your progress when trying to complete projects. Your to-do list can be quite detailed and very specific, or just serve as a reminder of tasks that need doing over a given period of time.

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

Think Clearly

Creating a to-do list means that you don’t have to try and remember stuff or clutter your head with details. Once things are written down on a to-do list, your head is free to process information and you can focus on more important things.

Better Strategic Planning

Creating and organizing to do lists helps you view the bigger picture and formulate a strategy to get tasks done efficiently.

Keep Documented Work Logs

A to do list lets you keep documented logs of what work has been done. You can use this to provide evidence of work done to clients or employers, or just as a means of helping you measure your own productivity and efficiency.

Relieve Stress

Stress can result from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and so very little time to do it all in. Creating to do lists let you work on urgent items that need to be completed immediately, and reschedule non-urgent tasks that can be worked on at a later time. This can help reduce stress.

Delegate Better

To-do lists help you assign tasks to other people 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. Creating to do lists, prioritizing tasks and working in a systematic way increases your business productivity and efficiency.

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

Creating To Do Lists In WordPress

In this step-by-step tutorial you are going to learn how to add to-do lists to a WordPress website or blog to help your business grow  faster and more efficiently using a customizable, multi-featured to-do list plugin for WordPress called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

WordPress to-do lists plugin

Plugin Download URL

Plugin Description

This WordPress plugin provides users with a to-do list feature.


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

You can set up the plugin with private to do lists for individual users, 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 provides a number of different settings. You can assign to-do items to a specific user (this includes a setting to email new to do items to users) and optionally to have assigned items only seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. There are also settings to enable the display of deadline and progress fields. Category support is included as well in the front-end administration.

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

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 planners if you also own the Post Planner plugin for WordPress.

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Installation

From your WP dashboard, scroll down the main menu and click on Plugins > Add New

WP Plugins

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

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

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

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

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

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

When you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

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

Cleverness to do list plugin - To Do List Menu

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ area …

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

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

Setting Up The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

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

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

Let’s take you through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

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


Select ‘Enabled’ to organize lists 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 menu …

Cleverness - To Do List Categories Menu

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

Cleverness to-do list plugin WordPress - To Do List Add Category

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

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

List View

List View lets you choose how your to-do lists will be viewed. There are 3 types of to do list views you can choose:

  • Individual – Use this option if you want each user to be able 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 – Select this option to create a master list for all users, where users have their own individual items to complete. If you choose 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

plugin to-do lists - To Do List Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option lets you display which of your users has added an item to the to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

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

Show Deadline

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you specify deadlines for to-do tasks …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Settings Deadline

Show Progress

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

If enabled (‘Yes’), the ‘To-Do List’ menu displays in your WordPress Admin bar

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

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

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display content in your 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 author that helps to make the task of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Plugin

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

After configuring your plugin options in this section, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WP button save changes

Advanced Settings

After configuring the general settings, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to proceed …

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

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

plugin to do list - To Do List Advanced Settings Tab

This section lets you customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do items to other 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 - To-Do List 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 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 highest (important), middle (normal) and low items …

Cleverness plugin - Priority section

Items given the highest priority are color-coded in red in the lists and lowest (low) priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

to do list Cleverness - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) shows item IDs on your to-do list …

Cleverness to-do list - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) shows the date your table of items was added …

WordPress plugin to-do list - 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 section and assign items to other users …

Cleverness - 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 (‘Yes’) to assign to-do items to other users …

to-do list 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

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display tasks only to users who have been assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled displays to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this section Author displays the type of users that can be assigned to-do items. Leave the check box unticked for any roles that you don’t want to assign to-do items.

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 …

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

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want to send out emails to users.

Note: If you disable this option, you can skip the remaining items in this section.

Add Category to Subject

If categories are enabled in your plugin settings and you have selected ‘Yes’ for this option, the to-do category will display on the subject of your emails …

Cleverness to-do lists - Add Category to Subject

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

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

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, your site has various project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

From Email

Enter the email address that you would like showing as the “sent from” address …

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Enter a subject field for the email that will be automatically sent out to users when a new item has been assigned in your to-do list …

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

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 WP plugin to-do lists - To-Do Item Email Text Field

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can perform database maintenance operations associated with plugin data directly from the plugin settings area without the need to access your server …

WordPress to-do list plugin - To Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

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

You can perform the tasks below in this section:

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


Any actions that you perform on the database from this screen cannot be undone. If you are sure that you want to perform database operations in this section, then make sure to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to back up your data manually, then get professional WordPress help, or use WordPress backup plugins. You can read about a great WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to perform complete WordPress file and database backups here: Back Up, Clone And Protect Your WordPress Web Sites With Backup Creator WordPress Plugin

User Permissions

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

to-do lists plugin Cleverness - User Permissions Settings Tab


If you are using Individual List, the only configurable item that applies in this section is the View To-Do List option …

Cleverness to-do list - User Permissions Tab - View To Do-List dropdown menu

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

Cleverness - User Permissions - View To Do-List dropdown menu

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-administrator users should only be permitted to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do lists - User Permissions Settings

Below is a description of the settings in the User Permissions tab:

View To-Do List

Here you can allow 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 permit the selected capability to mark items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

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

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the chosen capability to edit existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the chosen 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

This option enables the selected capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

This option enables 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 copy over data from one website to another, or store the list data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

plugin to do list - Import/Export Tab

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

to-do lists plugin Cleverness - Import/Export Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Import/Export Settings - Export Settings

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

Tools > Export WordPress

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

WP Menu Export - Export To Do Data

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 Settings - Import/Export Settings - Import To Do File

Select the file and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

Your file data will be imported.

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

How To Use The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

To create a new to do list, log into your WordPress admin, then scroll down the menu and select To-Do List > To-Do List

WP to-do list plugin - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List page

Adding New Items To Your To Do List

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Adding 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 already contains many items, as the link is only going to take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the screen) …

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

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

Depending on the way you have set up your plugin, you may or may not see certain options displayed when adding 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 to-do item …

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

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

Cleverness WP plugin 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) …

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Add New Items To Your List

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

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

Editing And Deleting To-Do Items

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

Edit And Remove Items From Your List

Depending on how you have set up the plugin (see previous section), users assigned to completing tasks may also receive email notifications …

to-do lists Cleverness - Assigned To Do Items Email

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

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

When a user assigned with completing an item ticks the item checkbox …

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

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

Cleverness to-do lists - Completed To-Do List Item

And gets listed the ‘Completed Items’ section located in the ’To-Do List’ page …

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

Additional Information

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

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 location in your sidebar menu where you would like the list to display …

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - Plugin Widget

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

WP plugin to do list - Widgets

Your to-do list will now display where the ‘to-do-list’ widget has been added (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness WP to do lists plugin - Plugin Widget

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

The plugin also lets you create to-do lists and checklists on your site with shortcodes.

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

to do list plugin Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do list - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

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

Using 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 would like to display on your site, create a new post or page and either type or paste the shortcode inside the content editor …

Short Codes

After publishing your post or page, you will see the list displayed in the location where you added the short code …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

Visit this site to download this plugin: Cleverness To-Do List WordPress Plugin

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


"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)

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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 at minimal cost!

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