How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

WordPress Tutorials - How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPressThere are never enough hours in the day to get everything done, especially when you are running a growing business.

There are just so many things to do and remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to extinguish, deliveries to make, schedules to keep and so on. The “doing” never ends.

Now … add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and maintaining your website updated with regular content and everything can start to become unmanageable and out of control.

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

A ”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 helps you monitor your progress as you to get projects completed. Your to do list can be minutely detailed or specific, or serve as a reminder of tasks that need to be done today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc..

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

To Do Lists Help You Keep Things Organized

To-do lists help you create order, stay organized and achieve 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 clearer perspective on what is truly important vs what is not, and what tasks need to be done first.

Keep Work Logs

To-do lists allow you to retain documented logs of what has been done. This can be used to provide evidence of work done to employers or clients, or just as a method of helping you monitor your own productivity and efficiency.


Without accountability there’s no commitment to completion, and no motivation to take meaningful action. Lack of accountability can also allow excuses to creep in and impact your productivity.

Sense Of Accomplishment

Crossing items off your to do list not only helps you feel more productive, motivated and in-control, it also lets you relax more, as you can objectively see (or show) that the work is being completed and that progress is being made.

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 in a systematic way increases your business productivity and efficiency.

Let’s turn now to using to do lists on your website. More specifically, adding to-do lists to WordPress.

How To Create A To Do List In WordPress

In this tutorial we are going to show you how to easily 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

Cleverness to-do lists

Download The Plugin


This plugin provides users with a to do list feature.


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

You can set up Cleverness To-Do List 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 option has a variety of settings available. You can delegate to do items to specific users (this includes a setting to email new to-do items to the assigned user) and optionally to have those items only viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. There are also settings available to show deadline and progress fields. Category support is included as well as front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the admin backend to manage your lists and the to-do lists can also appear 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 two short codes for front-end list administration. Management of categories is accessible via 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 download a copy of the Post Planner plugin for WordPress.

Installing The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Inside your WordPress admin section, scroll down the main menu and select Plugins > Add New

Plugin Menu

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

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

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

Cleverness - Cleverness plugin - Install Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Click Activate Plugin

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

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

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

After you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

Note: The plugin’s settings section can also be accessed by selecting To-Do List > Settings from your dashboard menu …

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

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ area …

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

Let’s go through the plugin configuration process …

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Setup

The Settings screen is divided into 4 sections:

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

Let’s now go through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

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


Select ‘Enabled’ to organize your 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 menu …

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

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

to do lists plugin - To Do List Add Category

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

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

List View

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

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

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

‘Sort Order’ lets you specify how your to-do list items will be sorted.

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

Show Added By

If enabled, you can display which of your members has added an item to your to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), completion dates will display for to-do items.

Show Deadline

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

Cleverness to do list - To Do List Deadline

Show Progress

If enabled (‘Yes’), you will be able to specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

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

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

to-do list plugin Cleverness - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If this option is enabled, 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 plugin author to help make managing a multi-author WordPress site easier …

WordPress Post Planner - Editorial Solution Plugin For WordPress

To learn more this plugin, go here: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Plugin

After configuring your plugin options in this section, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button …

WordPress button - save changes

Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness - To Do List Advanced Settings Tab

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ screen …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Advanced Settings

In this screen you can customize your To Do lists, assign to-do tasks to users and carry out 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

Here you can customize your To Do List …

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

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Date Format

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

Note: To learn more about how to format dates in WordPress, visit the relevant section of the WordPress Codex below:

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

In this area you can customize labels for highest (important), middle and low priority items …

Cleverness plugin - Priority section

Items prioritized as “important” are shown in red and lowest priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness WP to do lists plugin - colour-coded priorities

Show To-Do Item ID

If enabled (‘Yes’), item IDs will show on the to-do list …

WordPress plugin to-do lists - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - sort by date

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 settings in this section and assign items to other users …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Assign To-Do Items Settings

The following options can be configured in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enabling this option lets you assign tasks to other users …

plugin 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

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display to-do items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leave this option disabled to display to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

Check the boxes in this section Editor to display the type of users that can be assigned items. If you do not want to assign to-do items to a particular role, then don’t tick its check box.

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 …

Cleverness plugin to-do list WordPress - 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 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 Subject

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

If you don’t want to display categories in the email subject, then leave this option disabled.

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

If enabled, you can display the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This option is useful if, for example, your site has multiple project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do Item Email From Field

From Field for Emails Sent to User

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

WordPress plugin to-do list - Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

From Email

Enter the email address that you would like to display as the “sent from” address …

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness plugin WP to-do lists - To Do Item Email Subject Field

Text in Emails Sent to User

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

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

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can perform database maintenance operations related to plugin data directly from the plugin settings area without the need to log into your server …

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

This is useful if, for example, you notice that old items are still displaying on your site.

You can perform the tasks below:

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

Important Info

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 make sure to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to do your own site backups, then consider using professional assistance services, or use a WordPress backup plugin. You can learn more about a great WordPress backup plugin that can fully automate your site backups here:

User Permissions

In this section you can configure user permissions and capabilities for Group or Master List types …

WP plugin to-do list - User Permissions Tab

Important Info

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

Cleverness to-do list - 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 want users to have access to for each option …

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

By 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 non-administrators should only be allowed to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list itself.

to-do lists plugin Cleverness - User Permissions Settings

Let’s now review the settings for this section:

View To-Do List

Here you can permit 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 enables the selected capability to mark to-do items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

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

Edit To-Do Item Capability

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

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This setting enables the chosen capability to delegate items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

This setting enables the chosen capability to view all tasks even if “Show Each User Only Their Assigned Tasks” is set to ‘Yes’.

Delete To-Do Item Capability

This option permits the chosen capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can permit the selected capability to purge all the completed items.

Add Categories Capability

This 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 want to transfer data from an existing list to another website, or store the list data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

WordPress to-do lists plugin - Import/Export Tab

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Import/Export Tab

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

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

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

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

Tools > Export Menu

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 on the ‘Download Export File’ button to save your file to your hard drive…

Tools > Export WP - 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 …

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

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

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

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

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

Your file will be imported.

Now that you have configured all plugin settings, you can start creating and editing to do lists.

How To Use The Plugin

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

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

Adding New To-Do Items

There are several ways to add a new item to your to-do list.

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

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

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

Cleverness - Adding New To-Do Items To Your 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 already contains many items, as the link will simply send you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the screen) …

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

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin 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) …

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

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

Cleverness - Adding A New Item To Your To Do List

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

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

Editing And Deleting Items From Your List

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

Edit And Delete To-Do Items From Your List

Depending on your plugin configuration settings (discussed in the previous section), users assigned to tasks may also receive an email notification in their inboxes …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Email Assigned To Do Items to User

After creating your to do list, users can view the list from their own WP dashboard …

WP to do lists plugin - View To-Do List User Dashboard

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

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

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

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

And gets added to the ‘Completed Items’ table located in the ’To-Do List’ plugin screen …

Cleverness plugin to-do list WordPress - Complete To-Do Item

Additional Information

The Cleverness plugin provides added functionality that lets you display to-do lists on your WordPress site using widgets, and display a list on any post or page using shortcodes.

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Widget

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 want the list to show …

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

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

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

The list will now display wherever you have inserted the widget (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

plugin to do lists - Widgets

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

You can also display lists and checklists on your site by inserting short codes into your content.

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 lists - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

to-do lists plugin Cleverness - Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

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

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Shortcodes

This documentation section explains various ways to configure and use shortcodes for displaying lists on your content.

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

To download this plugin, visit the plugin website here:

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


"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of and has authored hundreds of FREE WordPress tutorials for non-techies and beginners. provides detailed step-by-step tutorials that will teach you how to use WordPress with no coding skills required and grow your business online at minimal cost!