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 Plugin Tutorials - How To Create To-Do Lists In WordPressThere is never enough time to get everything done, especially if you are a business owner or busy manager.

There is just so much to do and remember. You have so many deadlines to meet, urgent tasks to complete, priorities to attend to, fires to put out, appointments to make, schedules to keep and so on. The amount of things that need ”doing” never stops.

Now … add the extra dimension of promoting and growing your business online and keeping your website or blog updated with regular content and things can start becoming unmanageable and out of control.

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

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

To-Do Lists – Benefits

A “to do” list helps you track your progress when working towards your goals. Your to-do list can be quite detailed and specific, or just serve as a reminder of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

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

Free The Brain

Writing a to-do list means that you won’t have to try and remember stuff or store information inside your brain. Once tasks are jotted down on a to-do list, your brain is free to process information and you can focus on more important things.

Better Manage Your Time

Prioritizing tasks on your list helps you save time. You can gain a clearer perspective on what is truly important vs what isn’t, and what tasks need to be completed first.

Quickly Reorganize And Reschedule

Having a to do list helps you better handle changes in circumstances. If a meeting suddenly gets cancelled at short notice or extra time has been made available because a task was completed sooner than expected, you can keep working with no disruption.

Ensures Accountability

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 take over your work day.

Feeling Of Accomplishment

Ticking items off a to-do list not only helps you feel more positive, motivated and in-control, it also lets you stress less, as you can objectively see (or show) that the workload is getting done 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 to do lists, prioritizing tasks and working in a focused manner increases your business efficiency and productivity.

What about adding a to-do list to your WordPress website?

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

Cleverness To-Do List


Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Download URL

Plugin Description

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

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Features

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

You can configure 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 provides a number of different settings. You can delegate to-do items to a specific user (this includes a setting to email a new to do item to users) and optionally to have those items only seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users. There are also settings to show deadline and progress fields. Category support is included as well as front-end administration.

A new menu item is added to the backend to help you manage your list and your to-do list is also listed 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 two short codes for front-end list administration. Management of categories is accessed via the back-end admin section.

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 download the developer’s premium plugin, Post Planner.

How To Install The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

In your site’s administration section, click on Plugins > Add New

WordPress Plugin Menu

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin after installing it …

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

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

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

When you have activated the plugin, click on Settings

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

Note: The ‘Settings’ screen can also be accessed by choosing To-Do List > Settings from the admin menu …

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

This brings you to the plugin ‘Settings’ screen …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Settings Tab

The section below shows you how to go through the plugin setup process …

Plugin Setup

The Settings area is divided into four sections:

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

Let’s review each of these sections.

To-Do List Settings

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


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

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

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

This lets you add categories to your lists (see ‘Plugin Usage’ section further below for more details) …

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

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

Categories set to ‘private’ will not be visible using 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. You can choose from three list views:

  • Individual – Selecting this option lets users create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Choosing this option allows users to share one to-do list.
  • Master – This option allows you to have 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 configure the User Permissions appropriately in the ‘User Permissions’ tab (see further below).
Sort Order

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

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

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

Show Added By

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can display which of your users has added an item to your to-do list.

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

Show Date Completed

Enabling this option displays completion dates for your to-do tasks.

Show Deadline

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

Cleverness to-do list - To Do List Deadline

Show Progress

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) lets you specify task progress indicators for your to-do items …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Progress Bar

Show Admin Bar Menu

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

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

Use WYSIWYG Editor

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can add and edit items on your to-do list using the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

Cleverness - To Do List WYSIYG Editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

If enabled (‘Yes’), automatic paragraphs are used to display content in your to-do lists.

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 author that provides you with a complete WordPress editorial solution …

WordPress Post Planner - WordPress Editorial Solution Plugin

Go here to learn more this handy plugin: WordPress Post Planner – WordPress Plugin

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

WordPress button - save changes

Advanced Settings

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

Cleverness to do lists plugin - Advanced Settings Tab

This brings you to the ‘Advanced Settings’ area …

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

In this tab you can customize your To-Do lists, assign to-do items to other users and perform database maintenance tasks.

Let’s take you through how to configure the plugin’s ‘Advanced Settings’ section …

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Customize The To-Do List

Here you can customize your To-Do List …

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

The following options can be configured in this section:

Date Format

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

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

In this section you can customize the labels for important, middle (normal) and low priority items …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Priority Labels

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

to do lists plugin Cleverness - Priority column

Show To-Do Item ID

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

Cleverness - Show To Do Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

Enabling this option will display the date your To-Do Items table was added …

to do list plugin - sort by date

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 section and assign items to other users …

WordPress plugin to do lists - To-Do List Advanced Settings > Assign To-Do Items Settings

You can configure the following settings in this section:

Assign To-Do Items to Users

Enable this option to assign tasks to other users …

WordPress to-do list plugin - 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

If this option is enabled (‘Yes’), you can display to-do items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled will 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 todo 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

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

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

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

Note: If this option is disabled, you can skip other settings in this section.

Add Category to Subject

If categories are enabled in your plugin settings and you have selected ‘Yes’ for this option, the to-do category will display on the subject of your emails …

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

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

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

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 you have a number of project managers assigning to-do items to users …

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

From Field for Emails Sent to User

This field lets you customize the “From” field when sending out emails. Type the name of your company, your domain, your name, or anything you like into this field …

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

From Email

In this field, add the email address that you want to display as the “sent from” email address …

Cleverness plugin - To-Do Item Email From Field

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

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

Text in Emails Sent to User

In this field, 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 - Text in Emails Sent to User

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can perform database maintenance operations associated with plugin data directly from your plugin settings area itself 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 see that previously deleted to-do items are still showing on your site.

You can perform the following tasks:

  • 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 comfortable to carry out database maintenance in this section, then remember to backup your WordPress database first.

If you don’t want to back up your files 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

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

WP plugin to-do lists - User Permissions Settings Tab

Useful Info

If you select Individual List, the only setting applicable in this section is the View To-Do List option …

Cleverness to do list plugin - User Permissions Settings - View To Do-List drop-down menu

If you are configuring user permissions and capabilities for Group and Master List types, select the highest level capabilities that you would like users to perform for each option …

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress to do list - User Permissions

Let’s now review the settings in the User Permissions section:

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

Here you can enable the selected capability to mark items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the chosen capability to add new items.

Edit To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the chosen capability to edit existing to-do items.

Assign To-Do Item Capability

This setting permits the selected capability to delegate items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

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

Delete To-Do Item Capability

Here you can allow the selected capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

Here you can enable the chosen capability to purge all the completed to-do items.

Add Categories Capability

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


Being able to import and export to-do list data can be very useful. For example, you may decide to copy over data from an existing to-do list to another website, or export the data for backup or reporting purposes.

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

Cleverness - Import/Export Tab

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

plugin to-do list Cleverness - Import/Export

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

This will open up a new window allowing you to download and save the data as plain text to a storage medium (e.g. your hard drive) …

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

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

WordPress Menu Export

You can include to-do list data in an 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 on the ‘Download Export File’ button to download your file to an internal or external hard drive…

Tools > Export WP - Export To Do Data File

Importing To-Do List Data

Importing a previously saved to-do 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 - Import/Export Settings - Import File

Select the previously saved to-do list data file in your hard drive or external drive and click ‘Open’ …

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

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

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

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

Now that you have configured all plugin settings, you are ready to begin creating and editing your 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

to-do lists Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness plugin to do list - To-Do List screen

How To Add New To Do Items

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Adding A New Item To Your To Do 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 page) …

Cleverness plugin WP to do list - How To Add 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 configured your plugin settings, you may or may not see certain options displayed when adding new to-do items.

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

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

Note: If you have chosen 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 - Assign To Do Items to Users

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Add A New Item To Your To-Do List

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

WordPress to-do list plugin - Adding 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 Deleting To-Do Items

Depending on how you have configured the plugin (see previous section), users assigned to completing tasks may also receive an email notification in their inboxes …

Cleverness - Email Assigned To-Do Items to User

Once you have created your to do list, users can view the list from their own WP dashboard …

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

When users assigned with completing an item click on the item check box …

to do list plugin - Completed To Do List Item

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

Cleverness to-do list - Complete To Do List Item

And gets listed the ‘Completed Items’ table located in the ’To-Do List’ page …

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

Additional Information

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


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

to-do list plugin - Widgets

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

Cleverness to-do list plugin - Widgets

Your list will display on your site where you have placed the widget (i.e. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

Cleverness to-do list - Using The Plugin Widget

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

Short Codes

The Cleverness To-Do List plugin also lets you display to-do lists on your site by placing short codes into your content.

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

Cleverness - To-Do List Menu

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

Cleverness - Short Codes

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

Short Codes

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

Once you know what information you want to display on your site, open up a new page or post and either type or paste the shortcode into the content editor …

Using The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Shortcodes

After publishing your page or post, you will see the list showing where you have inserted the shortcode …

Using Plugin Shortcodes

Go here to download this plugin:

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


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