How To Add To-Do Lists In WordPress

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

How To Create A To Do List In WordPress

WordPress Plugin Tutorials - How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPressTime is always in short supply, especially when you are running a growing business or managing other people.

There is just so much to do and remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, urgent tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to put out, calls and appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The stress of trying to get things done on time never stops.

Now … add the extra workload of promoting and growing your business online and maintaining your website or blog updated with new content and everything can quickly start to become unmanageable and chaotic.

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

One simple proven 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 when trying to complete projects. Your to do list can be very detailed or specific, or act as a reminder of the things that need to be done over a given period of time.

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

A To-Do List Helps To Stay Organized

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

Be More Strategic

Creating and organizing to-do lists helps you break larger projects into doable tasks and come up with a strategic plan for getting tasks done effectively.

Reschedule Or Reorganize Quickly

A to do list helps you better handle events. If an appointment gets cancelled at short notice or extra time becomes available when some task gets completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reschedule or reorganize and continue working with little to minimal disruption.


Without accountability there is no commitment to completion, and no motivation to act with a sense of purpose. Lack of accountability can also allow excuses to creep in and influence your productivity.

Delegate Better

To-do lists help you delegate work to other people better. This is also important if you plan to collaborate within a team (see further below).

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 is sure to improve.

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

In this tutorial you are going to learn how to easily add a to-do list to a WP website or blog to improve business efficiency and productivity using a customizable, multi-featured to do list plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

Cleverness plugin to-do lists WP

Download The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin


This WordPress plugin lets you easily add to do lists to WordPress.


Note: the features listed below are discussed in more detail in the tutorial section.

You can set up the plugin to have 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 provides a number of settings. You can delegate to-do items to specific users (this includes a setting to email a new to-do item to the assigned user) and optionally to have assigned items only viewable by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. There are also settings available to enable the display of 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 list and the to-do list is also displayed on the dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as short code to display the to-do list items on your blog. There are 2 shortcodes for front-end list administration. Category management is accessible via the back-end.

If you plan to set up a multi-author site you can use this plugin to create custom to do lists for your post editors if you also own the developer’s premium plugin, Post Planner.

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Installation

Log into your WordPress dashboard and select Plugins > Add New …

WordPress Plugin Menu

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

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

Locate the plugin in the Search Results tab and click Install Now

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

Click “Activate Plugin” …

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

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

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

Once you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

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

Cleverness plugin WP - To Do List

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ area …

plugin to-do list - To Do List Settings

Let’s set up the plugin …

Setting Up The Plugin

The Settings area is divided into 4 sections:

  • To-Do List Settings – The options in this tab let you specify the main plugin settings.
  • Advanced Settings – The options in this tab let you 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 Group and Master List types.
  • Import/Export – This section is where you can import and export to-do list data and plugin settings.

Let’s now configure each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

Cleverness plugin to do lists - To-Do List Settings


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

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

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

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

to do list plugin - To-Do List Categories Section

You can set up ‘public’ and ‘private’ categories for your lists.

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

List View

List View lets you choose how your lists are viewed. You can select three to do list views:

  • Individual – Selecting this option allows users to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Selecting this option allows 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 items to complete. If you select the ‘Master’ list view, make sure that you set the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (this is covered further below).
Sort Order

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

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

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

Show Added By

If this option is enabled, you can display which users have added an item to the to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

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

Show Deadline

If enabled, you will be able to specify deadlines for your to-do tasks …

WP to do list plugin - To Do List Settings Deadline

Show Progress

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

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

Show Admin Bar Menu

If enabled (‘Yes’), the ‘To-Do List’ menu displays in your WP Dashboard Admin bar

Cleverness WordPress plugin to do lists - Show Admin Bar Menu

Use WYSIWYG Editor

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

Cleverness plugin - 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 are running a collaborative 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 that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Plugin

Visit this site to learn more this plugin: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Editorial Solution Plugin

Once you have finished configuring your plugin options in this section, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WordPress save changes

Advanced Settings

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

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

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

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

In this tab you can customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do items to users and perform 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 settings in this section:

Date Format

Here you can specify how to display dates in your to-do 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 important, middle (normal) and lowest (low) priority items …

plugin to-do list Cleverness - Priority Labels

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

WordPress plugin to do lists - colour-coding priority

Show To-Do Item ID

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

Cleverness plugin WP - Show To-Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness plugin to do list - 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 settings in this area and assign to-do items to other users …

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

The following options can be configured in this area:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

If this option is enabled, you can assign tasks to other users …

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 (‘Yes’) to display tasks only to users who have been specifically 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 (Administrator to display the type of users that can be assigned items. If you don’t want to assign to-do items to a role, then don’t tick its checkbox.

Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Email Assigned To Do Items to User

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

Note: If you disable this option, 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 - Add Category to Email Subject

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

If you don’t want to show to-do categories in the email subject, then leave this option disabled (‘No’).

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enabling this option displays the user who assigned the to-do item in the email. This is a useful option if your site has several project managers assigning to-do items to users …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do Item Email From Field

From Field for Emails Sent to User

Use this field to customize the “From” field when sending out emails. You can enter the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

Cleverness plugin to do list - From Field for Emails Sent to User

From Email

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

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

WordPress plugin to-do list - Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Text in Emails Sent to User

Add into this field 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 - Text in Emails Sent to User

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 the need to access your web server …

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

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

The following tasks can be performed:

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


Any database operations performed 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 WordPress database first.

If you don’t want to back up your site manually, then consider getting help from a WordPress professional, or use a WordPress backup plugin. Learn about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to completely automate your site backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness - User Permissions Settings


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

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

If you plan to configure 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 …

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

The default general capabilities for each user role are configured 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 authorized to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list.

Cleverness - User Permissions

Let’s now review the settings for this tab:

View To-Do List

Here you can enable the chosen 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 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 items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

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

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This allows the selected capability to assign items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

Here you can permit 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 setting allows the selected 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 allows the chosen capability to add new categories.


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be useful. For example, you may need to copy over data from one site to another, 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 …

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

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

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

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - 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 device …

Cleverness plugin WP - Import/Export Tab - Export Settings File

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

WP Export Menu

You can include to-do list data in a WordPress export file (in XML format), either by checking ‘All content’ (includes everything – posts, pages, etc…), or just select ‘To-Do’ from the ‘Choose what to export’ section and click the ‘Download Export File’ button to save your file to your hard drive…

WP Menu Tools > Export - To-Do Data

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 lists Cleverness - Import/Export Tab - Import/Export Settings - Import To Do File

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

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

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

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

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

Once you have configured all of the plugin settings, you can start creating and editing your to-do lists.

Plugin Usage

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

Cleverness to do lists - To-Do List Menu

This brings you to the ‘To-Do List’ page …

WP to-do list plugin - To-Do List screen

Adding New To-Do Items

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

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

Cleverness to-do list plugin WP - How To Add New Items 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 …

Cleverness plugin to-do lists - Adding New To-Do 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 already contains many items, as the link is only going to take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section down the screen) …

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

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

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

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

Cleverness - Adding New To-Do Items To Your List

Note: If you have chosen 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 …

Cleverness WP 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) …

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

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

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

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

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

Edit And Remove 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

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

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

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

to-do list plugin - View To-Do List

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

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

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

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

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

WordPress to do lists plugin - Complete To Do Item

Additional Plugin Information

The Cleverness plugin offers added functionality that lets you display to-do lists on your website using widgets, and insert a list into any post or page using short codes.

Using The 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 (or footer) menu where you want your list to show …

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

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

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

Your to-do list will appear where the widget has been placed (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Plugin Widget

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

Using Plugin Short Codes

The plugin also lets you display lists and checklists on your site with short codes.

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

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

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

Cleverness to do list - Plugin Shortcodes

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

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

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

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Short Codes

Publish your post or page and you will see the list displayed exactly where you added the short code …

Using Plugin Shortcodes

Visit this site to learn more about this plugin:

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


"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. provides hundreds of FREE detailed step-by-step tutorials that will teach you how to use WordPress to grow your business online at minimal cost with no coding skills required!

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