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 To-Do Lists In WordPressIf you are a busy person trying to run a business or manage a team, time is always in short supply.

There is just so much work to do and things to remember. You have deadlines to meet, project tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to extinguish, deliveries to make, commitments to keep and so on. The stress of trying to get things done on time never ends.

Now … add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and maintaining your website or blog updated with fresh content and things can quickly start becoming unmanageable and chaotic.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a project, it’s important to be able to organize and prioritize your activities, track your progress and daily accomplishments, and, if necessary, assign responsibilities to members of your team or staff effectively.

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

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to do” list can help you measure your progress as you to get projects completed. Your to do list can be quite detailed and very specific, or act as a reminder of tasks that need to be done over a given period of time.

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

To Do Lists Create Order

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

Better Manage 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’s truly important vs what isn’t, and what steps have to be done first.

Keep Documented Work Logs

To-do lists allow you to maintain documented logs of what work has been done. You can use this to provide evidence of work to clients or employers, or just as a way of helping you assess your own productivity and efficiency.

Reduce Stress

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and so little time to do it in. Using to do lists allow you to prioritize urgent things that have to get done immediately, and push out items that can be addressed later. This can help you stress less.


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 to do lists, then prioritizing tasks and working systematically improves your business efficiency and productivity.

What about using to do lists on your website?

In this detailed step-by-step tutorial we are going to show you how to easily create a to-do list in WordPress to help your team get things done  faster and more efficiently using a customizable, multi-featured to-do list WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness plugin WordPress to-do list

Plugin Download URL


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


Note: the features described below are 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 the same to do list, or to have a master list with individual completion of items.

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

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

A sidebar widget is available as well as shortcode to display the to-do list items on your blog. There are 2 shortcodes for front-end list administration. Category management is accessed through the back-end admin section.

If you plan to run a multi-author blog you can use the to-do lists plugin to create custom to-do lists for your post planners if you also use a copy of the developer’s premium plugin, Post Planner.

Plugin Installation

In your site’s admin, scroll down the menu and select Plugins > Add New

WP Plugin Install

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin …

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Cleverness plugin - Activate To-Do List

Once the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

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

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ page …

plugin to do list - To Do List Settings Tab

Let’s set up the plugin …

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Configuration

The Settings screen is divided into 4 sections:

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

Let’s configure each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

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


Select ‘Enabled’ to organize your 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 …

to do list plugin Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

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

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

Private categories are not visible using sidebar widgets or short codes (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 three types of to do list views:

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

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

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

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

Show Added By

If this option is enabled, you can 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 items.

Show Deadline

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Deadline

Show Progress

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

to-do lists Cleverness - To Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

Enabling this option lets you display the ‘To-Do List’ menu in your WP Dashboard Admin bar

WP to do lists plugin - 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

Cleverness plugin WP to do lists - To-Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option to display content in your to-do lists using paragraphs.

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, from the same plugin developer that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Plugin

To learn more about using this WordPress plugin, visit this site: WordPress Post Planner

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

WP button save changes

Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness - Advanced Settings

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ area …

WordPress to do lists plugin - To Do List Advanced Settings Tab

This tab lets you customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do items to users and carry out database maintenance.

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 lists - Advanced Settings - To Do List Customization Settings

The following options can be configured in this section:

Date Format

In this area 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 how to format dates in WordPress, refer to the date section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

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

Cleverness WordPress plugin to do list - Priority drop-down menu

Items prioritized as “important” are colour-coded in red and low priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

WordPress to-do list plugin - sort by priority

Show To-Do Item ID

If this option is enabled, the items’ IDs appear on the to-do list …

WordPress to-do lists plugin - Show To Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

If enabled (‘Yes’), the date your to-do list was added will show on the items table …

Cleverness - sort by date added

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 settings in this section and assign to-do items to other users …

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

You can configure the following options in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enable this option to assign to-do items to other users …

plugin to-do lists 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 Subscriber) displays the type of users that can be assigned todo items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a role, then leave its checkbox unticked.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

If you enable this option, WordPress will automatically send an email to users with their assigned to-do items …

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

If you don’t want emails sent out to users, then leave this option disabled.

Note: If this option is disabled, skip the other items 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 …

Cleverness - Add Category to Email Subject

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

Leave this option disabled if you don’t want to display to-do categories in the subject of your emails.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

If this option is enabled, you can 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 …

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. Type the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

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

From Email

Add the email address that you would like displayed as the “sent from” address …

Cleverness to do lists - From Email

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Add a subject field for the email that will be distributed automatically to users when a new item has been assigned to your to-do list …

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

In this field, add 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 - To-Do Item Email Text Field

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can carry out database maintenance tasks related to plugin data inside your plugin settings area itself without having to log into your web server …

WP plugin to-do lists - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Clean up Database

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

The tasks below can be performed in this section:

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


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

If you don’t want to back up your files manually, then hire the services of a professional WordPress provider, or use WordPress backup plugins. You can learn more about a great WordPress backup plugin that can automate your site backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - User Permissions Settings


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

to do list Cleverness - User Permissions Tab - 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 would like users to perform for each option …

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

By default, general capabilities for each user role are set up as follows:

  • Subscribers: Read
  • Contributors: Edit Posts
  • Authors: Publish Posts
  • Editors: Edit Others Posts
  • Administrators: Manage Options

Note: When using the Master list type make sure that you only allow non-administrator users to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

Cleverness - User Permissions Tab

Here is a description of the settings in the User Permissions tab:

View To-Do List

This option enables 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

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

Add To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the chosen capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

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

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

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

Delete To-Do Item Capability

This setting allows the chosen capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

This setting allows the selected capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

This 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 copy over data from an existing list to another website, or export the data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

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

Use this section to easily export and import your to-do list data and plugin settings …

WP to do list plugin - Import/Export Settings

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a new window allowing you to view or download the data as plain text to a storage medium …

Cleverness - Import/Export - Export Settings

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

WordPress Menu Export

You can include to-do list data in an export file (in XML format), either by selecting ‘All content’ (includes everything – pages, posts, etc…), or selecting ‘To-Do’ from the ‘Choose what to export’ section and clicking the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to a storage device…

Tools > Export Menu - Export To Do Data File

Importing To-Do List Data

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once you have configured all plugin settings, you can begin creating and editing to-do 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

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

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

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

Adding A New Item To Your List

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

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

Cleverness - Add New To-Do Items To Your List

You can also add new to-do items in the Dashboard 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 contains many items, as the link will simply send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the page) …

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

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

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

Configure 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 new item to your list …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - How To Add New To-Do Items To Your 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 plugin WP to do lists - Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

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

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

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

Repeat the above process to add new items to your list …

Cleverness to do lists - How To Add New To-Do Items

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 …

Editing And Removing Items From Your List

Depending on your configuration settings (see previous section), users assigned to tasks may also receive email notifications …

Cleverness plugin - Assigned To Do Items Email

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

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

When users responsible for completing an item tick the item checkbox …

Cleverness to do list - Completed To Do Item User Dashboard

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

Cleverness - Completed To-Do Items User Dashboard

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

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

Additional Information

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin provides added functionality that lets you display to-do lists on your website using widgets, and display lists on content inside a post or page using shortcodes.


To add to-do lists to your site using widgets, go to the ‘Widgets’ section (Appearance > Widgets) and drag the ‘To-Do List’ widget to the menu location where you would like your to-do list to show …

Cleverness to do list plugin WP - Plugin Widget

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

Cleverness WP plugin to do lists - Widgets

The to-do list will now display where the ‘to-do-list’ widget was added (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness WordPress to-do list plugin - Plugin Widget

To learn more about how to use WordPress widgets, see the tutorial below:

Using Plugin Shortcodes

You can also display to-do lists and checklists to your site with shortcodes.

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

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

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

Cleverness to do lists - Plugin Short Codes

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


This documentation section explains different ways to configure and use short codes to display lists and checklists on your content.

Once you know what type of information you want to display on your site, create a new page or post and either type or paste the short code inside the content area …

Using Plugin Short Codes

After publishing your page or post, you should see the list displayed exactly where you have inserted the shortcode …

Short Codes

To learn more about this plugin, go here:

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


"I am beyond impressed with what you have put together. I can tell that you put a ton of hard work into building what you have. You have the absolute best content on WordPress I have ever seen!" - Robert T. Jillie


Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Back Up & Restore WordPress SitesHow To Back Up & Restore WordPress Sites

Learn how to safely and automatically backup your WordPress files and database and how to easily restore your WordPress site if something were to happen.

More info: How To Back Up & Restore WordPress Sites

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Set Up A Forum On WordPressHow To Set Up A Forum On WordPress

Learn how to set up a forum for your visitors, prospects, customers, members, or affiliates using WordPress.

More info: How To Set Up A Forum On WordPress

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Use Amazon S3How To Use Amazon S3

Learn how to set up and use Amazon S3 to upload, store, manage, and protect your site’s images, large media files, downloadable files, stream videos and more.

More info: How To Use Amazon S3

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Use cPanelHow To Use cPanel

cPanel is a powerful and simple-to-use web hosting management software application that gives website owners the ability to quickly and easily manage their servers and websites using a simple and intuitive dashboard.

This video course will teach you how to use the main features of cPanel to manage your web hosting.

More info: How To Use cPanel

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Use FTPHow To Use FTP

This video course shows you how to use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to transfer and upload files between your hard drive and your server using a free FTP program called Filezilla.

More info: How To Use FTP

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Install, Set Up & Use WordPress MultisiteHow To Install, Set Up & Use WordPress Multisite

Learn how to quickly and securely set up an online community of websites or blogs using the powerful WordPress Multisite feature.

More info: WordPress Multisite

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

Using Password ManagersUsing Password Managers

Password Managers provide an easy and secure way to keep track of all your passwords. This video course shows you how to use two FREE powerful password management tools.

More info: Using Password Managers

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

WordPress SecurityWordPress Security

Learn how to keep your WordPress site or blog secure and protected from malware, hackers and brute-force attacks.

More info: WordPress Security

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

Google ToolsGoogle Tools

This video course will help you learn the basics of using Google Tools like Google Analytics and Gmail.

More info: Google Tools

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Set Up WordPress On LocalhostHow To Set Up WordPress On Localhost

Learn how to install, set up, and locally host a fully functioning WordPress site on your computer.

More info: How To Set Up WordPress On Localhost

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.