How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

Creating To Do Lists In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - Creating A To-Do List In WordPressAs a business owner, there are never enough hours in the day to get things done.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have deadlines to meet, projects 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 dimension of promoting and growing your business online and maintaining your website updated with new content and things can start becoming unmanageable and chaotic.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a team, you need to be able to organize and manage your daily tasks.

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.

Benefits Of Using A To-Do List

A “to-do” list can help you monitor your progress as you complete tasks. Your to do list can be very detailed and specific, or serve as a concise reminder of the things that need to be done today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc.

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

Stay Organized

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

Prioritize Your Time

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

Keep Documented Work Logs

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

Less Stress

Stress can result from feeling overwhelmed by the fact that there is so much that needs to get done and so little time to do it all in. Creating to do lists let you work on urgent tasks that have to be completed immediately, and push out items that can be addressed later. This can help reduce stress.

Working With Others

Using 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 to-do lists, both in business and in your personal life. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work things systematically and your business productivity and efficiency will surely improve.

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

In this step-by-step tutorial we are going to show you how to easily create to-do lists in WordPress to improve business efficiency and productivity using a great little plugin for WordPress called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness to-do list plugin

Plugin URL

Plugin Description

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

Plugin Features

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

You can configure the plugin to have private to do lists for each user, to have all users share the same to do list, or to have a master list with individual item completions.

The shared to-do list option has a variety of settings available. You can delegate to do items to a specific user (this includes emailing a new to do item to the assigned user) and optionally to have assigned items only viewable 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 also included in the front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the backend to help you manage your lists and the to do lists can also display 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 short codes for front-end list administration. Category management is accessed through the back-end admin section.

If you plan to set up a multi-author blog you can use this to do lists plugin to create custom to-do lists for your post planners if you also own the Post Planner plugin from the same developer.

How To Install The Plugin

From your site’s dashboard section, go to the menu and select Plugins > Add New

WordPress Plugin Install

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

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

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

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

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

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

After you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

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

to-do lists Cleverness - To-Do List > Settings Menu

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ page …

Cleverness to do list - To Do List Settings

Let’s go through the plugin configuration process …

Setting Up The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

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

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

Let’s now go through each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

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

To-Do List Categories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

List View

List View lets you specify how to-do lists will be viewed. There are three to do list views:

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

Cleverness plugin to do list WP - To-Do List Settings Sort Order

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

If you select Category, Alphabetical or ID, Category, ID or Alphabetical options, items will be first sorted 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 lets you specify deadlines for to-do items …

plugin to-do list Cleverness - 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

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

Cleverness - 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

Cleverness plugin - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

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

Integrate with Post Planner

If you plan to run 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 to help make the process of managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner

For more details about this handy plugin, go here: WordPress Post Planner

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

WordPress save changes

Advanced Settings

After configuring the settings in the To-Do List Settings tab, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to continue …

Cleverness - Advanced Settings

This brings you to the plugin’s ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

plugin to do list - 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 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’ screen allows you to customize your To Do List …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Advanced Settings Tab - To-Do List Customization Settings

The following options can be configured 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, 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 …

WordPress plugin to-do list - Priority Labels

high priority items display in red and lowest priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness to-do list plugin - Priority column

Show To-Do Item ID

If this option is enabled, the item’s ID will show on your to-do list …

Cleverness plugin - Show To-Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness WP to do lists plugin - sort by date added

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

If you have selected either ‘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 lists Cleverness - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Assign To Do Items Settings

You can configure the following options in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you assign tasks to other users …

Cleverness plugin to do list - 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

Enabling this option lets you display to-do items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled will display to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Checking the boxes in this section Author displays the type of users that can be assigned items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a role, then leave its check box unticked.

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 WP plugin to-do list - Assigned To-Do Items Email

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

Note: If this option is disabled, skip the 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 …

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

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want to-do categories to display the email subject.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This option is useful if, for example, you have various project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness to do list plugin WordPress - 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 …

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

From Email

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

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Type in a subject field for the email that will be automatically sent to users whenever a new item has been added to your to-do list …

Cleverness plugin WP to-do list - 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.

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This section lets you carry out database maintenance tasks related to plugin data directly from your plugin settings area without the need to access your server …

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

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

The following tasks can be performed in this section:

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


Any actions that you perform on your database 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 database first.

If you don’t want to perform manual backups, then consider using the services of a professional WordPress provider, or use a WordPress backup plugin. Learn about a great WordPress backup plugin that can fully automate your backup process here:

User Permissions

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

to do list plugin - User Permissions Settings Tab

Important Info

If you select the Individual List type, the only permission that is applicable in this section is the View To-Do List option …

Cleverness plugin WP - User Permissions Settings Tab - View To Do-List

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

WordPress to do list plugin - User Permissions Settings 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 working with the Master list type make sure that you only authorize non-administrator users to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list itself.

to do lists plugin Cleverness - User Permissions

Below is a description of the settings for this tab:

View To-Do List

This setting permits the chosen 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

This setting permits the chosen capability to mark to-do items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

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

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the chosen capability to modify existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the selected capability to delegate items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can permit 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 allows 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 to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

This setting 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 decide to copy over 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 area …

to do list Cleverness - Import/Export Settings

Use this section to easily import or export your list and plugin settings …

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do lists - Import/Export Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This opens up a new window allowing you to download and save the data as plain text to a storage medium …

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

As well as 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 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 on the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to a storage device…

WP Menu Export - Export To Do Data File

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

Locate the previously saved to-do list data file in your hard drive or external drive and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

Your file data will be imported.

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

How To Use The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

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

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

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

to do lists Cleverness - To-Do List screen

How To Add New To-Do Items To Your List

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

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

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

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

to do lists plugin - Add New To Do Items

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 already contains many items, as the link will simply take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the screen) …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

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

Repeat this process to keep adding new items to your to-do list …

to do list plugin - Adding A New Item To Your List

Editing And Deleting Items From Your List

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

Edit And Delete Items From Your List

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

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

After creating your to-do list, users can view it inside their WP user dashboard …

WordPress to do lists plugin - View To-Do List

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

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - Completed To-Do List Item

Additional Information

The Cleverness plugin provides additional functions that let you display a to-do list on your website using widgets, and insert lists into any page or post using shortcodes.

Using The Cleverness To-Do List 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 menu where you would like your to-do list to display …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

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

to do list plugin - Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Widget

Your list will appear where the widget was placed (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

WP plugin to-do lists - Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

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

Using Plugin Short Codes

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

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

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

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

Cleverness to do list plugin WP - Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

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

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

Using Plugin Shortcodes

After publishing your page or post, you should see the list displayed in the location where you have inserted the short code …

Plugin Shortcodes

Visit the plugin website for more details about this plugin:

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


"I was absolutely amazed at the scope and breadth of these tutorials! The most in-depth training I have ever received on any subject!" - Myke O'Neill,


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