How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

Creating A To Do List In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - Creating To-Do Lists In WordPressWhen you run a hectic business, time always seems to be in short supply.

There are just so many things to do and remember. You have clients to meet, urgent tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to put out, deliveries to make, schedules to keep and so on. The “doing” never ends.

Now … add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and keeping your website updated with fresh content and things can quickly start to become unmanageable and chaotic.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a project, you need to be able to organize and manage your day.

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

Benefits Of Using A To-Do List

A “to-do” list helps you track your progress when trying to complete projects. Your to do list can be quite detailed and specific, or act as a concise reminder of the things that need doing over a given period of time.

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

Stay Organized

Having to do lists help you create order, keep things organized and reach goals faster.

Better Strategic Planning

Creating and organizing to-do lists helps you break your workload into doable tasks and formulate a strategic plan to get things completed effectively.

Reschedule Quickly

Using to do lists let you better handle new and unexpected situations. If a meeting suddenly gets cancelled at the last minute or extra time becomes available when some task gets completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reschedule or reorganize and continue working with little to no disruption.


Without accountability there’s no commitment to completion, and no motivation to take meaningful action. Lack of accountability lets excuses creep in and take over your productivity.

Sense Of Accomplishment

Crossing items off a to do list gives you a sense of accomplishment and allows you to stress less, as you can objectively see (or show) that work is indeed being completed and that progress is being made.

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, prioritizing tasks and working in a focused way increases productivity and efficiency in your business.

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

In this 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

Cleverness to-do list plugin

Download URL

Plugin Description

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

Plugin Features

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

You can set up Cleverness To-Do List 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 offers different settings. You can assign to do items to specific users (this includes a setting to email a new to do item to assigned users) and optionally to have assigned items only viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. There are also settings available to show 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 list can also be displayed on the dashboard widget.

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

If you plan to set up a multi-author blog you can use the 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

From your WP administration section, select Plugins > Add New

WP Plugins Menu

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin after installing it …

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

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

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

When you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List > Settings Menu

This brings you to the plugin ‘Settings’ screen …

Cleverness - To-Do List Settings Tab

The section below shows you how to set up the plugin …

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Setup

The Settings area is divided into four tabs:

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

Let’s now go through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

plugin 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 to-do lists - To Do List Categories Menu

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

plugin to do lists - To Do List Categories Section

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

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

List View

List View allows you to choose how your lists will be viewed. You can choose 3 types of to do list views:

  • Individual – Selecting this option allows each user to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Choosing this option allows all users to share one to-do list.
  • Master – Use this option to create one master list for all users, where users have their own individual completion of items. If using the ‘Master’ list view, make sure that you set the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

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

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

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

Show Added By

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

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

Show Date Completed

Enabling this option displays completion dates for to-do items.

Show Deadline

If this option is enabled, you will be able to specify deadlines for your to-do tasks …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Deadline

Show Progress

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

WP to do list plugin - 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 WP plugin to do list - 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 - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option to display content in to-do lists 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, developed by the same plugin author that helps to make the process of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - Plugin For WordPress

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

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

WordPress button save changes

Advanced Settings

After you have configured the settings in the To-Do List Settings tab, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab …

Cleverness plugin WP to-do list - Advanced Settings

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

to do lists plugin Cleverness - Advanced Settings

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

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’ tab lets you customize your To-Do List …

Cleverness plugin - Advanced Settings - To Do List Customization Settings

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Date Format

In this section you can specify how to display dates on your todo list (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

Note: To learn more about formatting dates in WordPress, see the date section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

This section lets you customize the labels for highest, middle (normal) and lowest priority items …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - Priority Labeling

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

to-do lists Cleverness - Priority column

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled (‘Yes’), the item’s ID will display on the to-do list …

Cleverness to-do list - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option shows the date your items table was added …

Cleverness to do list - sort by date

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

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

to-do list plugin 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 to assign tasks to other users …

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

Enable this option to display tasks only to users who have been assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled (‘No’) will display to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this area (Administrator displays the type of users that can be assigned to-do items. Leave the checkbox 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 (‘Yes’), WordPress automatically sends users an email 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, you can skip other 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 …

WP plugin to-do lists - Add Category to Subject

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want to show categories in the email subject.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enabling this option displays the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This is a useful option if your site has multiple project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness plugin to do lists - 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 notices. You can enter your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

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

From Email

Enter the email address that you want to display as the “sent from” address …

Cleverness to do list plugin - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list WP - 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 - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can carry out database maintenance tasks related to plugin data inside the plugin settings area …

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

This is useful if, for example, you notice that to-do items you have already deleted are still showing on your site.

The following tasks can be performed:

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


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

If you don’t want to back up your data manually, then consider hiring a professional service, or use backup plugins. Learn about a great WordPress backup plugin that can fully automate your site backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness to-do lists - User Permissions Settings Tab


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

Cleverness 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 would like users to be able to perform for each option …

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

The default general capabilities of each user role are set up 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 allowed to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness plugin WordPress - User Permissions Settings

Let’s now review the settings in this tab:

View To-Do List

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

Add To-Do Item Capability

This setting allows the chosen capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This setting allows the chosen capability to edit existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This option allows the selected capability to delegate to-do 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 enable the chosen capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

This option permits the selected capability to purge all the completed to-do 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 very useful. For example, you may need to copy over data from an existing list to another website, 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 …

Cleverness plugin to-do list - Import/Export Settings

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

plugin to do list Cleverness - Import/Export Settings Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a new window allowing you to view or save the data in a plain text file (e.g. Notepad) to a storage device (e.g. your hard drive) …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Import/Export Settings - Export Settings

In addition to exporting list data from the ‘Import/Export’ section, you can also export data by going to your admin menu and choosing 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 the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to a storage device…

WP Export Menu - Export To-Do Data

Importing To-Do List Data

To import a previously saved to-do list data file, click on the ‘Browse’ button next to the ‘Choose File to Import’ field …

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

Select the file and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

Your file will be imported.

Now that you have configured all plugin settings, you are ready to begin create and edit your to-do lists.

How To Use The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

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

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

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

to do list Cleverness - To-Do List screen

Add New To Do Items To Your List

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

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

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

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

Cleverness to-do lists - 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 already contains many items, as the link is only going to send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the page) …

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

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

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

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

WordPress plugin to-do lists - How To Add A New Item To Your To-Do List

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

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

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

plugin to do lists Cleverness - Adding A New Item To Your To-Do List

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

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

Editing And Deleting To-Do Items From Your List

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

Editing And Removing To Do 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 …

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

Once you have created your to do list, users can view the list inside their own WordPress user dashboard …

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

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

Cleverness to do list plugin - Complete To-Do Item

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

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

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

WordPress to do lists plugin - Completed To Do Item

Additional Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin offers added functionality that lets you display to-do lists on your WordPress site using widgets, and display a list on content inside a page or post using short codes.


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 display …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - Using The Plugin Widget

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

to do lists Cleverness - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

plugin to do lists Cleverness - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Short Codes

You can also create to-do lists and checklists to your site by inserting shortcodes into your content.

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

WordPress to-do list plugin - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness - Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

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

Short Codes

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

Once you know what type of information you want to add to your site, create or edit a new or existing page or post and either type or paste the shortcode into the content section …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

Publish your post or page and you should see the list displayed in the location where you added the short code …

Using Plugin Shortcodes

Visit the plugin website here for more information about this plugin:

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


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