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 run a fast-paced business, time always seems to be in short supply.

There are just so many things to do and remember. You have clients to meet, urgent tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to put out, deliveries to make, commitments to keep and so on. The stress of trying to get things done on time never seems to end.

Now … on top of all this, add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and keeping your website or blog updated with new content and everything can quickly start becoming unmanageable and out of control.

Whether you run a business, website, blog, or manage a team, you need to be able to organize and prioritize your daily activities, keep track of your progress, and, if necessary, assign responsibilities to other people efficiently.

One simple proven tool that can help you save time, alleviate stressful workloads, and allow you to regain control is to use “to do” lists.

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to-do” list can help to keep you on track and monitor your progress as you work to get tasks completed. Your to do list can be detailed or specific, or serve as a reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc.

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

Clear Thinking

Creating to do lists means you don’t have to try to memorize things or store information inside your brain. Once tasks are written down on a to-do list, your brain is free to process other information and you can focus on things that are more important to you.

Be More Strategic

By creating and organizing a to do list, you can break down larger projects into more doable tasks and formulate a strategic plan to get things completed on time and on budget.

Document Your Work

A to do list allows you to maintain documented logs of what work has been done. You can use this as evidence of work done to employers or clients, or simply as a method of helping you measure your own productivity and efficiency.


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

Sense Of Accomplishment

Crossing items off your to-do list gives you a sense of accomplishment and allows you to 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. Create a list, prioritize your list items and work in a systematic way and productivity and efficiency in your business will surely increase.

What about using to do lists on your website?

In this tutorial you are going to learn how to easily add to-do lists to a WordPress site to help your team get things done  faster and more efficiently using a customizable, multi-featured to do list plugin for WordPress called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To Do List

Cleverness plugin WP to-do list

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Download URL


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

Plugin Features

Note: the plugin features listed 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 a to-do list, or to have a master list with individual completion of items.

The shared to do list has a variety of settings available. You can assign to do items to a specific user (this includes emailing new to-do items to the 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 also included as front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the backend to help you manage your lists and the to do lists are also displayed on the dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is also available as short code to display the to do list items on your site. There are two short codes for front-end administration of the list. Category management is accessed via the back-end.

If you plan to run a multi-author site you can use the 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 from the same developer.

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Installation

Log into your site’s dashboard section, and choose Plugins > Add New …

Install WP Plugin

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

WP plugin to do lists - WordPress plugin to-do lists - Install To Do List Plugin

Locate the item in the Search Results area and click Install Now

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

Click Activate Plugin

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

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

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

After the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

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

Cleverness plugin - To Do List Menu

This takes you to the plugin ‘Settings’ screen …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Settings

The section below shows you how to set up the plugin …

How To Configure The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

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

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

Let’s now go through each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

to-do list plugin - To-Do List Settings Screen


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

List View

List View lets you choose how lists are viewed. You can choose from three list views:

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

Cleverness - To Do List Settings Sort Order

‘Sort Order’ lets you specify how list items will be sorted.

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

Show Added By

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

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

Show Date Completed

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) displays completion dates for your to-do tasks.

Show Deadline

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

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

Show Progress

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

Cleverness plugin - To Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

to-do lists Cleverness - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

If this option is enabled, you can add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

to do lists Cleverness - To Do List WYSIYG 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 website 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 Editorial Solution Plugin

To learn more about this handy plugin, visit this site: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Multi-Author Publishing Plugin

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

WordPress save changes button

Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Advanced Settings

This brings up the plugin’s ‘Advanced Settings’ area …

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

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

Let’s go 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 WordPress to do lists - To Do List Advanced Settings Tab - To-Do List Customization Settings

You can configure the following options in this section:

Date Format

In this section you can specify how to display dates on your to-do list (e.g. month/day/year, day/month/year, etc.)

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

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

WP to-do lists plugin - Priority drop-down menu

Items given the highest priority display in red in the lists and low priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness - Priority column

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option displays item IDs on your list …

Cleverness - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option shows the date the items table was added …

Cleverness to do lists - sort by date

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

If you have chosen either ‘Group’ or ‘Master’ View for your to-do list, you can configure the options in this section and assign to-do items to other users …

Cleverness plugin WP to-do lists - 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 …

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

Note: This set this option to ‘Yes’ for the settings below it to work.

Show a User Only the To-Do Items Assigned to Them

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can 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

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

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

to do list Cleverness - Assigned To-Do Items Email

Leave this option disabled (‘No’) if you don’t want to send out emails to users.

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 …

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

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

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

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 is a useful option if your website has various project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness plugin WP to-do list - 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 notifications. Type your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

Cleverness to-do lists plugin WordPress - From Field for Emails Sent to User

From Email

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

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

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 plugin WordPress - To Do Item Email Text Field

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this section you can perform database maintenance tasks associated with plugin data directly from your plugin settings area itself …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

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

The tasks below can be performed in this section:

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


Any database operations you perform from this screen cannot be undone. If you are sure that you want to carry out database maintenance in this section, then make sure to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to perform your own backups, then consider getting help from a WordPress professional, or use WordPress backup plugins. You can learn more about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to completely automate your file and data backups here:

User Permissions

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

to do lists Cleverness - User Permissions Tab

Important Info

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

Cleverness plugin WP - User Permissions Tab - View To Do-List dropdown menu

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

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

The default general capabilities for each user role are 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 allow non-admin users to view and complete items, otherwise they will have the ability to edit the Master list.

Cleverness plugin to do lists WP - User Permissions

Let’s go through the settings in this tab:

View To-Do List

Here you can enable 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 option permits the selected capability to mark to-do items as completed or not completed.

Add To-Do Item Capability

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

Edit To-Do Item Capability

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

Assign To-Do Item Capability

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

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

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

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

This option allows the selected capability to purge all the completed items.

Add Categories Capability

This setting enables the chosen capability to add new categories.


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may want to copy over data from an existing list to another website, or export the list data for backup or archiving purposes.

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

WP to-do list plugin - Import/Export Tab

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

WordPress plugin to-do lists - Import/Export

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a window allowing you to view or save the data in a plain text file (e.g. Notepad) to a storage medium (e.g. your hard drive) …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Import/Export Settings - Export Settings

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

Tools > Export WP Menu

You can include to-do list data in a WordPress 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 a storage device…

Export WP Menu - Export To-Do Data

Importing To-Do List Data

To import a list data file, click on the ‘Browse’ button next to the ‘Choose File to Import’ field …

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

Select the file and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

Your file will be imported.

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

Plugin Usage

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List page

Adding New To-Do Items

There are several ways to add new to-do items.

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

Cleverness plugin WP - How To Add A New Item To Your List

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

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

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

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

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

Depending on how you have set up your plugin, you may or may not see certain options displayed when 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 item to your list …

Cleverness - How To Add New To-Do Items

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

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

You can also assign items to multiple users (click on ‘x’ to delete a user) …

Cleverness - Assign To Do Items to Users

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin WordPress - Adding New To Do Items

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

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

Edit And Delete To-Do Items

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

Editing And Removing To-Do Items From Your List

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

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

After creating your to do list, users can view it when logged into their dashboard …

WP to-do lists plugin - View To Do List

When the user assigned with completing an item ticks the item check box …

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

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

Cleverness to do list - Completed To Do List Items User Dashboard

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

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

Additional Plugin Information

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

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

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

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

WordPress plugin to-do lists - Widgets

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

WP plugin to-do list - Plugin Widget

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

Short Codes

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

To access the documentation on using shortcodes, select To-Do List > To-Do List from the admin menu …

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

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

Cleverness to do list - Shortcodes

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

Using Plugin Shortcodes

The documentation section explains different ways to configure and use short codes for displaying lists on your pages and posts.

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


After publishing your post or page, you should see the list displayed in the location where you entered the shortcode …

Using The Cleverness Plugin Shortcodes

Visit this site to learn more about this plugin:

Congratulations! Now you can add to-do lists in WordPress.


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