How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

WordPress Tutorials - How To Create A To Do List In WordPressTime always seems to be in short supply, especially if you are a business owner.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have deadlines to meet, tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to put out, calls and appointments to make, commitments to keep and so on. The amount of things that need to get done never seems to stop.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and maintaining your website updated with new content and things suddently begin to feel unmanageable and overwhelming.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a team, it’s important to be able to organize and manage your daily tasks.

A simple proven tool that can help you save time, reduce stress, and allow you to gain some control is to use “to do” lists.

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to do” list helps you measure your progress when working towards your goals. Your to do list can be very detailed and very specific, or act as a concise reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc..

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

Think More Clearly

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

Prioritize Your Time

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time. You can develop a clearer perspective on what is truly important vs what’s not, and what steps need to be done first.

Document Your Work

A to-do list lets you retain documented logs of what work has been done. This can be used as evidence of work to clients or employers, or just as a method of helping you measure your own productivity and efficiency.

Ensures Accountability

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

Collaborate Better With Others

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

As you can see, there are many benefits to using to do lists, both in business and in your personal life. Creating a to do list, then prioritizing tasks and working towards completing the items listed improves your business productivity and efficiency.

What about adding to-do lists to your WordPress website?

How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

Cleverness To Do List

to-do lists Cleverness

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin URL

Plugin Description

This plugin lets you easily add customizable to do lists to WordPress.

Plugin Features

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

You can configure 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 item completions.

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

A new menu item is added to the admin backend to manage your list and the to-do list is also displayed on a dashboard widget.

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

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

How To Install The Plugin

Log into your WordPress admin and in the menu click on Plugins > Add New …

Add New WP Plugin

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

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

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

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

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

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

After you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

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

to do list Cleverness - To-Do List > Settings

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ area …

to do list plugin Cleverness - To-Do List Settings

Let’s configure the plugin …

How To Configure The Plugin

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

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

Let’s go through each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness to-do list - To Do List Settings


Select ‘Enabled’ to organize your list 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 plugin menu …

Cleverness - To Do List Menu

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

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

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

Categories marked ‘private’ are not visible when using the sidebar widgets or shortcodes (only when ‘Sort Order’ is set to ‘Category’)

List View

List View lets you choose how lists are viewed. There are three list views available:

  • Individual – Select this option if you want each user to be able to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Choosing this option lets all users share one to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you to have one master list for all users, where users have their own individual completion of items. 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

to-do lists Cleverness - To Do List Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option lets you display which users have added an item to your 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 tasks.

Show Deadline

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

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

Show Progress

If enabled, you can specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - To-Do List Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

Cleverness to do lists - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If enabled (‘Yes’), automatic paragraphs are used to display content in your to-do lists.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you are running a multi-author 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 provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Editorial Solution Plugin

Visit this site to learn more about this 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 configuring the general settings, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to proceed …

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

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ screen …

to-do lists plugin - To Do List Advanced Settings

This screen lets you customize your To Do lists, assign to-do items to other users and perform plugin database maintenance tasks.

Let’s step through how to configure the plugin’s ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Customize The To-Do List

In this section you can customize your To-Do List …

Cleverness plugin to-do list WordPress - To-Do List Advanced Settings - To Do List Customization Settings

You can configure the following options in this section:

Date Format

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

Note: To learn more about how to format dates in WordPress, 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 highest, normal and low items …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do list - Priority Labels

Items given the highest (important) priority display in red in your lists and lowest priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness WP to do list plugin - color-coded priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) will show item IDs on your list …

Cleverness plugin - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If this option is enabled, the date the to-do list was added will display on your To-Do Items table …

Cleverness plugin - 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 to-do items to other users …

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

The following options can be configured in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

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

Note: This setting must be set to ‘Yes’ for the settings below it to work.

Show a User Only the To-Do Items Assigned to Them

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

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this area (Administrator to display 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 you enable this option, WordPress will automatically send users an email with their assigned to-do items …

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

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

Note: If this option is disabled, skip the remaining settings in this section.

Add Category to Subject

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

to do lists plugin Cleverness - Add Category to Subject

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

If you don’t want to-do categories displayed in the subject of your emails, 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 your site has several project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness plugin - 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 …

plugin to-do lists - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Type into this field a subject field for the email that will be automatically sent to users when new items have been assigned to your to-do list …

Cleverness plugin WP to-do lists - Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Text in Emails Sent to User

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

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This area allows you to carry out database maintenance tasks related to plugin data directly from the plugin settings area …

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

This function is useful if, for example, you notice that items you have previously deleted are still appearing on your site.

The tasks below can be performed:

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


Any database operations performed from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are sure that you want to perform database maintenance in this section, then remember to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to back up your data manually, then consider getting support from a WordPress professional, or use WordPress backup plugins. You can learn more about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to automate backups here: Backup, Copy And Protect Your WP Web Site With Backup Creator WordPress Plugin

User Permissions

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list - User Permissions Settings


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

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

If you are configuring user permissions and capabilities for Group or Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you want users to have access to for each option …

to do lists plugin Cleverness - User Permissions Settings Tab - View To-Do-List

The default general capabilities of each user role are 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 be able to edit the Master list itself.

Cleverness WP to do lists plugin - User Permissions Tab

Below is a description of the settings for this section:

View To-Do List

This option permits 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 permits the selected capability to mark to-do items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

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

Edit To-Do Item Capability

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

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This setting allows 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 allow the chosen capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can allow the chosen capability to purge all the completed items.

Add Categories Capability

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


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may need to copy over data from one site to another, or export your list data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

to do lists Cleverness - Import/Export Tab

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

Cleverness - Import/Export Settings Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a new window allowing you to download and save your data as plain text to a storage medium (e.g. your hard drive) …

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Settings Tab - Export Settings File

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

WP Menu Tools > Export

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 save your file to an internal or external hard drive…

WP Menu Tools > Export - Export To-Do

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Import/Export Settings Tab - Import/Export Settings Section - Import File

Once uploading the data file in your settings area, click on ‘Import Settings’ …

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

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

After configuring all of the plugin settings, you are ready to start create and edit your to-do lists.

Plugin Usage

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

to do lists plugin Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness to-do list plugin WP - To-Do List page

Add New To Do Items

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - How To Add A New Item To Your List

You can 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, since the link will simply take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the page) …

Cleverness to do list - How To Add A New Item To Your List

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can also assign items to multiple users (click on ‘x’ to delete a user) …

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

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

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

Repeat this process to keep adding items to your list …

Cleverness plugin WP - Add New To Do Items

Edit And Delete To Do Items

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

Editing And Deleting Items

Depending on how you have configured the plugin (discussed earlier), users assigned to tasks may also receive email notifications …

to-do list Cleverness - Assigned To Do Items Email

Once you have created your to-do list, users can view it when logged into their dashboard …

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

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

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

… the item disappears from the “To-Do” list …

WordPress plugin to do lists - Complete To Do List Item

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

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

Additional Information

The Cleverness plugin offers added functionality that lets you display a to-do list on your website using widgets, and insert lists into any page or post using short codes.


To add a to-do list 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 would like your to-do list to appear …

Cleverness to do list plugin - Using The Plugin Widget

Configure the widget settings and click ’Save’ …

to-do lists Cleverness - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

WordPress to-do lists plugin - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

Cleverness To-Do List also lets you display to-do lists and checklists on your site using short codes.

To access the plugin’s shortcode documentation, click on To-Do List > To-Do List from your dashboard menu …

to-do list Cleverness - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

Cleverness - Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

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

Plugin Shortcodes

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

Once you know what type of information you would like to display on your site, create or edit a new or existing post or page and either type or paste the shortcode inside the content section …

Plugin Short Codes

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


To download this plugin, go here: Cleverness To-Do List WordPress Plugin

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

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