How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

How To Create To Do Lists In WordPress

WordPress Tutorials - Creating A To Do List In WordPressThere is never enough time to get things done, especially when you run a fast-paced business.

There is just so much to do and remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, projects to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to put out, calls and appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The “doing” never seems to end.

Now … add the extra workload of trying to promote and grow your business online and keeping your website updated with fresh content and everything suddenly begins feeling unmanageable and out of control.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a team, you need to be able to organize and manage your daily activities.

One proven method that can help you save time, alleviate stress, and allow you to gain some control is to use “to-do” lists.

To Do Lists – Benefits

A “to-do” list helps you keep track of your progress when trying to achieve your objectives. Your to-do list can be detailed or specific, or just serve as a reminder of tasks that need doing over a given period of time.

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

Create Order

To-do lists help you create order, stay organized and achieve your goals sooner.

Better Strategic Planning

After creating and organizing your to-do list, you can break down larger projects into more doable tasks and come up with a strategy to get everything completed on time and on budget.

Document Your Work

To-do lists let you keep documented logs of what you have done. This can be used to provide evidence of work done to employers or clients, or simply as a way of helping you measure your own productivity and efficiency.

Eliminate Stress

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by so much to do and very little time to do it in. Using a to-do list allows you to work on important tasks that have to get done immediately, and reschedule non-urgent items that can be worked on later. This can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and take away some of the stress you (and your team) may be feeling.


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 a to do list, both in business and in your personal life. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work towards completing the tasks you have listed and productivity and efficiency in your business is sure to improve.

What about using a to-do list on your 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 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

plugin to-do lists

Plugin Download URL


This 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 to assign private to do lists for each user, to have all users share your to-do list, or to have a master list with individual completion of items.

The shared to-do list option offers a number of different settings. You can assign to-do items to specific users (this includes a setting to email new to do items to assigned 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 available to display deadline and progress fields. Category support is included as well in the front-end administration.

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

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

Plugin Installation

In your WordPress administration section, select Plugins > Add New

Plugins Menu

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

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

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

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

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

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

When the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

to-do lists Cleverness - To Do List

This brings you to the plugin ‘Settings’ page …

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

The section below shows you how to configure the plugin …

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Configuration

The plugin’s ‘Settings’ screen is divided into 4 tabs:

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

Let’s configure each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

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


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

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

to-do list plugin - To Do List Menu Categories

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 Categories Section

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

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

List View

List View allows you to specify how lists are viewed. There are 3 list views you can choose:

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

to-do lists plugin - To Do List Sort Order

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

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

Show Added By

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display which of your users has added an item to the to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

If this option is enabled, completion dates will display for to-do tasks.

Show Deadline

If this option is enabled, you can specify deadlines for your to-do tasks …

Cleverness to do lists - To-Do List Deadline

Show Progress

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin - To-Do List Progress

Show Admin Bar Menu

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you display the ‘To-Do List’ menu in your WordPress Admin bar

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

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

plugin to do list - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display content in to-do list items using paragraphs.

Integrate with Post Planner

If you plan to run a multi-author website 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 - Plugin For WordPress

Visit this site for more information about this plugin: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Plugin

Once you have configured your options, click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WordPress button - save changes

Advanced Settings

Once you have configured the general settings, click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab to proceed …

Cleverness to-do list - To Do List Advanced Settings

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

plugin to do lists Cleverness - Advanced Settings Tab

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

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’ tab allows you to customize your To Do List …

to-do lists Cleverness - To Do List Advanced Settings - To Do List Customization Settings

The following settings can be configured in this section:

Date Format

Here you can specify how to display dates in your todo lists (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 section you can customize your labels for important, middle (normal) and lowest (low) priority items …

plugin to-do list Cleverness - Priority Labels

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

Cleverness - color-coding priorities

Show To-Do Item ID

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), item IDs appear on your to-do list …

Cleverness to do list plugin WordPress - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

WP plugin to-do list - Date Added column

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

If you have selected ‘Group’ or ‘Master’ View for your to-do list, you can configure the settings in this area and assign to-do items to other users …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin - 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

Enable this option to assign to-do items 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

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to display tasks 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

Check the boxes in this area Editor to display the type of users that can be assigned todo items. Leave the check box unticked for any roles that you do not want to assign to-do items.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

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

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

Note: If you disable this option, you can skip the remaining 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 on the subject of your emails …

Cleverness - Add Category to Email Subject

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want to-do categories to appear the subject of your emails.

If you don’t want to show categories in the email subject, 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, you have a number of project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

Use this field to customize the “From” field when sending out email notifications to users. Type the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

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

From Email

In this field, type the email address that you would like displayed as the “sent from” address …

Cleverness - To-Do Item Email From Field

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

In this field, enter a subject field for the email that will be sent automatically to users whenever a new item has been assigned in your to-do list …

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

Type in 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 plugin - Show Who Assigned the To Do Item in Email

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

This section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab lets you perform database maintenance tasks associated with plugin data directly from the plugin settings area itself …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database maintenance

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

You can perform the tasks below:

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

Useful Info

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 we recommend backing up your database first.

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

User Permissions

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

Cleverness WordPress to-do lists plugin - User Permissions Tab


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

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

If you are configuring 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 …

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

The default general capabilities of each user role are as follows:

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

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

to-do lists Cleverness - User Permissions

Let’s go through 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

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

Add To-Do Item Capability

This option permits the selected capability to add new to-do items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can permit the selected capability to edit existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This permits the chosen capability to assign 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

Here you can enable the chosen capability to delete individual to-do items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

This option allows the chosen capability to add new categories.


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may need to transfer data from an existing list to another website, or store your data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

Cleverness to do list - Import/Export Settings

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

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

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This opens up a new window allowing you to download and save your data in a plain text file (e.g. Notepad) to an internal or external hard drive …

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

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

Tools > Export WordPress

You can include to-do list data in a WordPress export file (in XML format), either by selecting ‘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 save your file to an internal or external hard drive…

Export WordPress - 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 to do lists - Import/Export Settings Tab - Import/Export Settings Section - Import To Do Data File

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

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

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

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

Your file will be imported.

Once you have configured all plugin settings, you are ready to start creating and editing your to-do lists.

Plugin Usage

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

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

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

WordPress to-do lists plugin - To-Do List screen

Add A New Item To Your To Do List

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

For example, you can add a new item to your to-do list from your WP dashboard bar …

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

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

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

You can click on the ‘Add New Item’ link in the ‘To-Do Items’ section (note: only use this option if your To Do list contains many items, as the link will simply take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section further down the screen) …

to do list Cleverness - Adding New To-Do Items

All 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 new items to your to-do list.

Select the options you have enabled for your to-do items, add 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 - How To Add New To-Do Items

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Assign To-Do Items to Users

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

Cleverness - Assign To-Do Items to Users

Once you have added the new item, it will display as an entry in the ‘To-Do Items’ table …

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

Repeat the above process to keep adding new items to your list …

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

Edit And Delete Items

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

Depending on your configuration plugin settings (discussed earlier), users assigned to completing tasks may also receive email notifications …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - Assigned To Do Items Email

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

Cleverness to-do lists - View To-Do List

When the user assigned with completing an item clicks on the item check box …

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

… the item is deleted from the “To-Do” list …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Completed To-Do List Item User Dashboard

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

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

Additional Information

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

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 want your to-do list to display …

Cleverness plugin to-do list WordPress - Using The Plugin Widget

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

to do lists Cleverness - Widgets

Your list will now display where you have inserted the ‘to-do-list’ widget (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

Plugin Short Codes

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin also lets you display to-do lists and checklists to your site with shortcodes.

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To-Do List > To-Do List

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Using Plugin Short Codes

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


The documentation section explains various ways to configure and use short codes to display lists on your pages and posts.

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

Publish your page or post and you will see the list displayed exactly where you have inserted the shortcode …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

Visit this site to learn more about this plugin:

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


"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)


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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.