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

WP Plugin Tutorials - How To Create A To-Do List In WordPressIf you plan to run a growing business, there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done.

There are just so many things to do and remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, urgent tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to put out, deliveries to make, commitments to keep and so on. The amount of things that need to get done never stops.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra dimension of promoting and growing your business online and maintaining your website or blog updated with fresh content and everything suddenly begins 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 activities, keep track of your progress, and, if necessary, assign responsibilities to members of your team effectively.

One ”tried and true” method that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability, and allow you to gain some control is to use a “to-do” list.

The Benefits Of Using A To Do List

A “to-do” list can help you track your progress as you complete projects. Your to-do list can be minutely detailed and very specific, or act as a concise reminder of what needs to be done over a given period of time.

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

Keep Things Organized

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

Better Time Management

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time. You can gain a clearer perspective on what’s more urgent vs what isn’t, and what steps should be done first.

Reorganize Quickly

To-do lists help you better handle unforeseen situations. If a meeting suddenly gets cancelled or extra time is made available because a task was completed sooner than expected, you can continue moving forward with minimal disruption.


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


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

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

Let’s turn now to using a to do list on your website. More specifically, how to add to do lists to WordPress.

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

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness plugin WP to do list

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin


This plugin lets you easily add a to-do list to your WP website or blog.

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Features

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

You can configure the plugin with 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 provides a number of different settings. You can delegate 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 be seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. There are also settings to show deadline and progress fields. Category support is included as well as front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the backend to help you manage your lists and your to-do list can also appear on a dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is also available as short code to display the to-do list items on your blog. There are 2 shortcodes for front-end administration of your list. Management of categories is accessed through the back-end admin section.

If you plan to run a multi-author blog you can use the plugin to create custom to do lists for your post planners if you also install a copy of the Post Planner plugin for WordPress from the same developer.

Plugin Installation

Log into your WP dashboard and select Plugins > Add New …

Add New WordPress Plugin

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

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

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

Cleverness - Cleverness - Install Cleverness To-Do List

Activate the plugin after installing it …

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

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

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

When the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

plugin to-do list - To Do List > Settings

This brings you to the plugin ‘Settings’ page …

WordPress plugin to do lists - To Do List Settings

Let’s go through the plugin setup process …

How To Configure The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The “To-Do List” plugin ‘Settings’ area is divided into 4 tabs:

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

Let’s now configure each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

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


Select ‘Enabled’ to organize your to-do lists into categories, otherwise leave this option set to ‘Disabled’.

Note: When you enable this option, a ‘Categories’ item gets added to the To-Do List menu …

WP plugin to do list - To Do List Menu

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

to-do list Cleverness - To-Do List Categories

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

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

List View

List View allows you to specify how to-do lists are viewed. You can choose from 3 kinds of list views:

  • Individual – Choosing this option lets users create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Selecting this option allows all users to share the same to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you 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 to adjust the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

Cleverness plugin to-do lists WordPress - To-Do List Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can display which members have added an item to the to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays completion dates for your to-do tasks.

Show Deadline

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

Cleverness - To Do List Deadline

Show Progress

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) 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

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display the ‘To-Do List’ menu in your WordPress Dashboard Admin bar

Cleverness to-do list - To Do List Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

to do lists Cleverness - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option 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, from the same developer to help make the task of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Multi-Author Publishing Plugin

For more information about using this plugin, go here: WordPress Post Planner

After you are done configuring your plugin options, click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

WP save changes

Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness to-do lists - Advanced Settings

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

Cleverness - Advanced Settings Tab

This tab lets you customize your To Do lists, assign to-do tasks to other users and perform plugin 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

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

Cleverness to-do list plugin - Advanced Settings Tab - Customize To-Do List Settings

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Date Format

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

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

In this area you can customize your labels for highest, normal and lowest priority items …

plugin to-do lists - Priority Labels

Items given the highest priority are shown in red and low priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

to-do lists Cleverness - color-coded priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option will show the items’ IDs on the list …

plugin to-do list - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays the date your To-Do Items table was added …

WP plugin to do lists - Date Added

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

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

WordPress to do lists plugin - 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

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can assign to-do items 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 enabled, you can display tasks only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leave this option disabled (‘No’) to display items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this section Contributor displays the type of users that can be assigned todo 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

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

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

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

Note: If you disable this option, 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 on the subject of your emails …

WP to-do list plugin - Add Category to Email Subject

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want categories to appear the email subject.

If you don’t want to-do categories added to the email subject, then leave this option disabled (‘No’).

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 is a useful option if you have several project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness to-do list - To-Do Item Email From Field

From Email

In this field, type the email address that you want showing as the “sent from” address …

Cleverness plugin to do lists WordPress - To-Do Item Email From Field

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

In this field, enter a subject field for the email that will be distributed automatically to users whenever new items have been assigned in your to-do list …

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list WordPress - To-Do Item Email Text Field

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This area of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab lets you carry out database maintenance tasks related to plugin data directly from the plugin settings area itself …

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

This is useful if, for example, you see that todo items you have already deleted are still listed on your site.

The tasks below can be performed:

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


Actions that you perform on your database from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are sure that you want to perform database maintenance in this section, then make sure to backup your WP database first.

If you don’t want to back up your files manually, then get professional WordPress support, or use a backup plugin. Learn about a great WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to automate backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness plugin to do lists - User Permissions Settings


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

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - User Permissions - 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 want users to perform for each option …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - User Permissions Tab - View To-Do-List drop-down 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 make sure that you only authorize non-administrator users to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

WP to-do lists plugin - User Permissions

Let’s now review the settings for the User Permissions tab:

View To-Do List

Here you can permit the selected capability to view to-do items in the dashboard widget and on the To-Do List page under the ‘Tools’ section.

Complete To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the selected capability to mark items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the selected capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable the chosen capability to edit existing items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can allow the selected capability to view all tasks even if “Show Each User Only Their Assigned Tasks” is set to ‘Yes’.

Delete To-Do Item Capability

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

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can permit the chosen capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

This option allows 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 want to transfer data from an existing to-do list to another website, or export the list data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

WordPress to do list plugin - Import/Export Settings Tab

Use this section to import and export your data and plugin settings …

WP plugin to-do list - Import/Export

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

Cleverness - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings Section - Download Export File

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

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

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

WP Tools > Export Menu

You can include to-do list data in an export file (in XML format), either by checking ‘All content’ (includes everything – posts, pages, 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…

Tools > Export WordPress - Export To-Do Data

Importing To-Do List Data

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

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

Select the file in your hard drive or external drive and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

Your file will be imported.

Once you have configured all of the plugin settings, you are ready to begin creating and editing to-do lists.

How To Use The Plugin

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

Cleverness to do list plugin - To-Do List Menu

This brings up the ‘To-Do List’ page …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List page

Add New To Do Items To Your List

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

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

to-do lists Cleverness - How To 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 …

plugin to do list Cleverness - 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 contains many items, as the link will simply take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the page) …

Cleverness plugin WP - How To Add New To Do Items

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

Depending on how you have set up your plugin, some options may not display when when you add 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 item to your list …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Repeat this process to add new items to your list …

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

Edit And Remove To-Do Items From Your List

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

Edit And Delete Items

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

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

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

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

When a user assigned with completing an item ticks the item check box …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - Complete To Do List Item User Dashboard

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

to-do lists plugin - Completed To-Do Item User Dashboard

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

WP to do list plugin - Complete To Do List Item User Dashboard

Additional Plugin Information

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

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 location in your sidebar (or footer) menu where you would like the to-do list to display …

WordPress plugin to-do lists - Widgets

Configure the widget settings and click ’Save’ …

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Short Codes

Cleverness To-Do List also lets you display to-do lists to your site by placing shortcodes into your content.

To access the documentation on using shortcodes, select To-Do List > To-Do List from your admin menu …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness - Plugin Shortcodes

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

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

Once you know what information you would like to add to your site, create a new post or page and either type or paste the short code into the content area …

Short Codes

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

Plugin Shortcodes

Visit this site to learn more about this plugin:

Congratulations! Now you can create and add to-do lists to your WordPress site or blog.


"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 the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. provides hundreds of FREE detailed step-by-step tutorials that will teach you how to use WordPress to grow your business online at minimal cost with no coding skills required!

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