How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

How To Create A To-Do List In WordPress

WordPress Plugin Tutorials - Creating To Do Lists In WordPressThere never seems to be enough hours in the day to get things done, especially if you run a growing business or manage other people.

There is just too much to do and remember. You have clients to meet, projects to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to extinguish, calls and appointments to make, commitments to keep and so on. The amount of things that need ”doing” never seems to end.

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

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a team, it’s important to be able to organize and manage your day.

One ”tried and true” tool that can help you save time, reduce stressful workloads, and allow you to take control is to use “to-do” lists.

Benefits Of Using To-Do Lists

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

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

Stay Organized

Having a to do list helps you create order, keep things organized and reach goals faster.

Prioritize Your Time

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

Keep Documented Work Logs

To-do lists let you maintain documented logs of the work you have done. You can use this to provide evidence of work done to clients or employers, or simply as a means of helping you measure your own productivity and efficiency.

Stress Less

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by the thought that there is so much to do and so very little time to do it in. Using to-do lists let you work on important things that have to get done within the time you have available, and push out non-urgent items that can be worked on at a later time. This can help reduce stress.

Sense Of Accomplishment

Ticking items off to do lists not only makes you feel more positive, motivated and in-control, it also allows you to relax more, as you can objectively see (or show) that the workload is getting done and that things are moving forward.

As you can see, there are many benefits to using a to-do list, both in business and in your personal life. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work systematically and productivity and efficiency in your business will improve.

What about using to-do lists on your website or blog?

In this detailed tutorial you are going to learn how to easily create a to do list in WordPress to help your business grow  faster and more efficiently using a great little WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness plugin

Plugin URL

Plugin Description

This WordPress plugin lets you easily add to-do lists to a WordPress site.


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

You can configure Cleverness To Do List to assign private to do lists for each user, to have all users share a to do list, or to have a master list with individual item completions.

The shared to-do list has a variety of settings available. You can assign to-do items to specific users (this includes emailing new to do items to users) and optionally to have those items be seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users based on user roles. There are also settings to show 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 list and the to do list can also be displayed on a dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as shortcode to display the to do list items on your site. There are 2 shortcodes for front-end list administration. Management of categories is restricted to the back-end admin section.

If you plan to set up a multi-author site you can use the plugin to create custom to-do lists for your post editors if you also download a copy of the Post Planner plugin.

How To Install The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Log into your WP dashboard scroll down the main menu choose Plugins > Add New …

WordPress Plugins

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

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

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

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

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

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

When you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

Note: You can also get to the plugin’s ‘Settings’ section by selecting To-Do List > Settings from the admin menu …

Cleverness to do list - To-Do List > Settings

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ section …

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

Let’s go through the plugin configuration process …

Plugin Setup

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

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

Let’s now take you through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Settings


Choose ‘Enabled’ to organize lists into categories, otherwise leave this option set to ‘Disabled’.

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Categories

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

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

List View

List View lets you choose how lists are viewed. You can select 3 types of to-do list views:

  • Individual – Select this option if you want each user to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Choosing this option lets users share the same to-do list.
  • Master – Choose this option to have a master list for all users, where users have their own individual items to complete. If you select the ‘Master’ list view, make sure to configure the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List Sort Order

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

If you choose ID, Alphabetical, or Category 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 your 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 (‘Yes’) lets you specify deadlines for your to-do tasks …

Cleverness to-do lists - To-Do List Deadline

Show Progress

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

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

Use WYSIWYG Editor

If this option is enabled, you can 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 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 plugin author that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Editorial Solution Plugin

For more information about using this handy plugin, go here: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Multi-Author Publishing Plugin

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

WordPress save changes button

Advanced Settings

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

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

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ area …

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List Advanced Settings

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

Let’s take you 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 plugin WordPress - To-Do List Advanced Settings - Customize To Do List Settings

The following options can be configured in this section:

Date Format

Here you can specify how to display dates on your to-do lists (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 highest (important), normal and lowest (low) priority items …

Cleverness plugin WP to-do list - Priority Labeling

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 …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled, the items’ IDs display on your to-do list …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - Show To Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

to-do list plugin - 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 options in this section and assign to-do items to other users …

Cleverness plugin to-do list WP - 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

Enabling this option lets you assign tasks to other users …

Cleverness - 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

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

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this section (Administrator displays the type of users that can be assigned to-do items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a specific role, then don’t tick its check box.

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 - Email Assigned To Do Items to User

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

Note: If this option is disabled, you can skip other 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 on the subject of your emails …

WordPress plugin to-do lists - Add Category to Email Subject

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

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

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This option is useful if, for example, your website has various project managers assigning to-do items to users …

to-do lists Cleverness - 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 emails. Enter your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

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

From Email

Add into this field the email address that you want displayed as the “sent from” email address …

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness - Show Who Assigned the To Do Item in Email

Text in Emails Sent to User

Add 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.

to do lists Cleverness - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database maintenance

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

The following tasks can be performed in this section:

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


Any database operations you perform from this screen cannot be reversed. If you are sure that you want to proceed with any of the database operations available in this section, then remember to backup your WordPress database first.

If you don’t want to back up your files yourself, then consider using a professional service, or use a backup plugin. You can learn more about a WordPress backup plugin that can automate your site backups here:

User Permissions

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

to-do lists Cleverness - User Permissions


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

Cleverness - User Permissions - View To Do-List drop-down menu

If you plan to set up user permissions and capabilities for Group or Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you would like users to have access to for each option …

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

The default general capabilities of 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-administrators to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do list - User Permissions Settings Tab

Let’s go through the settings for the User Permissions tab:

View To-Do List

This 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 setting permits the selected capability to mark to-do items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

This setting enables the selected capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

This permits the selected capability to modify existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the chosen capability to assign to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This setting permits 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 enables the chosen capability to purge all the completed items.

Add Categories Capability

This option enables the selected capability to add new categories.


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be very useful. For example, you may decide to transfer data from one website to another, or export the data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

Cleverness WP plugin to do lists - Import/Export Tab

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

Cleverness to-do lists - Import/Export Settings

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

Cleverness plugin - Import/Export Settings - 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 an internal or external drive …

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

In addition to exporting data from the ‘Import/Export’ section, you can also export data by going to your WordPress admin menu and selecting Tools > Export

Export WP

You can include to-do list data in a WordPress 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 on the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to your storage medium…

WordPress Menu Tools > Export - Export To-Do Data File

Importing To-Do List Data

Importing a previously saved to-do list data file is easy. Just click on the ‘Browse’ button next to the ‘Choose File to Import’ field …

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

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

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

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

After configuring all of the plugin settings, you are ready to start creating and editing your lists.

Plugin Usage

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

plugin to do lists - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

Cleverness - To-Do List screen

Add New To-Do Items

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

For example, you can add a new item to your to-do list from your admin toolbar …

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

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

Cleverness WP to-do lists plugin - How To 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, since the link is only going to send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the screen) …

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

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

Depending on how you have set up your plugin, you may or may not see certain options displayed when new items to your to-do list.

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

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

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

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

After you have added a new item item, the item will be listed as an entry in the ‘To-Do List’ table …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Add New To Do Items

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

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

Editing And Deleting Items

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

Edit And Delete Items

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

to-do lists plugin - Assigned To Do Items Email

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

Cleverness plugin - View To Do List

When the user assigned with an item completes the task and clicks on the item checkbox …

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

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

Cleverness - Completed To-Do Item

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

to do lists Cleverness - Complete To-Do Items User Dashboard

Additional Plugin Information

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

Using The Plugin Widget

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 appear …

Cleverness plugin WP - Plugin Widget

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

WP plugin to do lists - Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

Cleverness To-Do List also lets you create to-do lists to your site using short codes.

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin to-do list WP - Using Plugin Shortcodes

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

Using Plugin Shortcodes

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

Once you know what type of information you want to add to your site, open up a new page or post and either type or paste the shortcode into the content editor …

Plugin Short Codes

Publish your page or post and you will see the list displayed in the location where you have added the shortcode …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

For more information about this plugin, visit this site:

Congratulations! Now you can add a to-do list to your WordPress site.


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Author: Martin Aranovitch

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

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