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

WP Plugin Tutorials - How To Create A To-Do List In WordPressTime is always in short supply, especially if you run a growing business or manage a team.

There are so many things to do and remember. You have deadlines to meet, tasks to complete, meetings to attend, fires to put out, appointments to make, commitments to keep and so on. The “doing” never seems to end.

Now … add the extra dimension of trying to promote and grow your business online and maintaining your website updated with new content and things can quickly start to become unmanageable and overwhelming.

Whether you are running a business, website, blog, or managing a project, you need to be able to organize and prioritize your daily tasks, track your progress and daily accomplishments, and, if necessary, delegate responsibilities to members of your team or staff effectively.

A simple “tried and true” method that can help you save time, create a sense of order and manageability, and allow you to gain some control is to use a “to-do” list.

To Do Lists – Benefits

A “to-do” list can help to keep you on track and measure your progress when trying to complete tasks. Your to-do list can be minutely detailed or specific, or just serve as a concise reminder of what needs to be done over a given period of time.

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

Free Up Resources

Writing a to do list means that you don’t have to try and remember things or clutter your head with details. Once tasks are jotted down on a to do list, your head is free to process information and you can focus on more important things.

Be More Strategic

Creating and organizing to do lists helps you break your workload into more doable tasks and come up with a strategic plan for getting tasks completed effectively.

Quickly Reorganize Or Reschedule

Using to do lists let you better handle events. If you find that an appointment has been cancelled at the last minute or extra time is made available because a task was completed sooner than expected, you can quickly reorganize and keep moving forward with little to minimal disruption.

Relieve Stress

Stress can come from feeling overwhelmed by the fact that there are so many things that needs doing and so very little time to do it in. Creating to do lists allow you to prioritize important items that have to get done within the time you have available, and push out items that can be worked on at a later time. This can reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and help to relieve some of the stress you may be feeling.

Better Delegation

To-do lists help you better delegate work to others. This is also important when collaborating on a team-based project (see further below).

As you can see, there are many benefits to using a to-do list, both in business and in your personal life. Creating a to-do list, then prioritizing tasks and working in a systematic way increases productivity and efficiency in your business.

What about using a to do list on your website?

In this step-by-step tutorial we are going to show you how to add to-do lists to WordPress to improve business efficiency and productivity using a great little WordPress plugin called Cleverness To-Do List.

Cleverness To-Do List

WordPress plugin to do lists

Cleverness To-Do List Plugin Download URL

Plugin Description

This plugin lets you easily add a to-do list to a WP website or blog.


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

You can configure the plugin with private to do lists for individual users, 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 has a variety of settings available. 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 only seen by that user. You can also assign different permission levels to different users based on user roles. 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 manage your lists and your to-do list can also display on a dashboard widget.

A sidebar widget is available as well as short code to display the to-do list items on your site. There are two short codes for front-end administration of your list. Management of categories is accessible via the back-end admin section.

If you plan to run a multi-author site you can use this plugin to create custom to-do lists for your post planners if you also download a copy of the Post Planner plugin for WordPress.

How To Install The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

Log into your WP admin area scroll down the menu choose Plugins > Add New …

WordPress Plugins

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

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

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

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

Activate the plugin after installing it …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Cleverness - Activate Cleverness To Do List Plugin

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

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

When the plugin has been activated, click on Settings

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

Note: You can also get to the settings section by selecting To-Do List > Settings from the admin menu …

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

This brings you to the ‘Settings’ screen …

Cleverness to do lists plugin - To Do List Settings Tab

Let’s set up the plugin …

Setting Up The Cleverness To-Do List Plugin

The “To-Do List” plugin ‘Settings’ area is divided into 4 sections:

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

Let’s take you through each of these tabs.

To-Do List Settings

WordPress plugin to do lists - To Do List Settings Tab

To-Do List Categories

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

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

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

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

Cleverness plugin - To-Do List Categories

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

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

List View

List View lets you specify how your to-do lists will be viewed. There are 3 types of list views you can select:

  • Individual – Selecting this option allows users to create and manage their own private to-do list.
  • Group – Choose this option if you want all users to share the same to-do list.
  • Master – Use this option to create a master list for all users, where users have their own individual completion of items. If using 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 lists - To-Do List Settings Sort Order

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

If you choose Category, Alphabetical or ID, Category, ID or Alphabetical options, items will be sorted first 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 applies when ‘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 (‘Yes’), you will be able to specify deadlines for your to-do tasks …

Cleverness - To-Do List Settings 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 (‘Yes’) lets you display the ‘To-Do List’ menu in your WordPress Admin bar

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

Use WYSIWYG Editor

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

Cleverness to-do lists - WYSIWYG editor

Use Auto Paragraphs

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

Integrate with Post Planner

If you plan to run a collaborative 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

To learn more about using this WordPress plugin, visit this site: WordPress Post Planner – Editorial Solution Plugin For WordPress

After configuring your plugin options, remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your settings …

WP save changes

Advanced Settings

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

WP to-do list plugin - Advanced Settings Tab

This brings up the ‘Advanced Settings’ screen …

Cleverness - Advanced Settings

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

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

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

This section of the ‘Advanced Settings’ screen lets you customize your To Do List …

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

The following settings can be configured in this section:

Date Format

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

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

WordPress Codex – Formatting Date And Time

Priority Labels

This section lets you customize labels for important, middle and lowest (low) priority items …

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

Highest (important) priority items are color-coded in red in your lists and low priority items display in a lighter shade of grey …

Cleverness WordPress plugin to-do lists - color-coded priority

Show To-Do Item ID

Enabling this option (‘Yes’) shows the item’s ID on the to-do list …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - Item ID

Show Date To-Do Was Added

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

Cleverness - Date Added column

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

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

Enable this option (‘Yes’) to assign tasks to other users …

to do list plugin 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

If enabled (‘Yes’), you can display to-do items only to users who have been specifically assigned those items. Leaving this option disabled (‘No’) displays to-do items to all users.

User Roles to Show

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

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 …

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

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

Note: If you disable this option, you can skip 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 in the subject of emails sent to users …

Cleverness - Add Category to Email Subject

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

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

Show Who Assigned the To-Do Item in Email

Enabling this option lets you 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 WordPress to-do lists plugin - Show Who Assigned the To Do Item in Email

From Field for Emails Sent to User

This field allows you to customize the “From” field when sending out email notices. You can enter your company name, your domain, your name, or anything you like in this field …

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

From Email

Type into this field the email address that you want showing as the “sent from” address …

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

Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

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

Cleverness - Subject Field for Emails Sent to User

Text in Emails Sent to User

In this field, 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 to do list plugin - Show Who Assigned the To Do Item in Email

To-Do List Advanced Settings > Database Cleanup

In this area of the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab you can perform database maintenance tasks associated with plugin data inside the plugin settings area itself without having to log into your web server …

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

This is useful if, for example, you see that to-do items you have already deleted are still showing on your site.

You can perform the tasks below:

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


Any database operations you perform from this screen cannot be undone. If you are sure that you want to proceed with any of the database operations available in this section, then make sure to backup your database first.

If you don’t want to do your own site backups, then get help from a WordPress professional, or use WordPress backup plugins. You can learn more about a great WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to perform complete file and database backups here:

User Permissions

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

Cleverness to do lists - User Permissions Settings

Important Info

If you have chosen Individual List, the only setting applicable for this section is the View To-Do List option …

to-do lists Cleverness - User Permissions Settings Tab - View To Do-List drop-down menu

If you plan to set up 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 …

Cleverness plugin - User Permissions Tab - View To Do-List

The default general capabilities of 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 make sure that you only allow non-admin users to view and complete items, otherwise they will be able to edit the Master list.

to do list plugin - User Permissions Tab

Let’s now review the settings for this section:

View To-Do List

This option allows the chosen 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 setting permits the selected capability to mark to-do items as completed or uncompleted.

Add To-Do Item Capability

Here you can enable 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

Here you can permit the chosen capability to assign to-do items to individual users.

View All Assigned Tasks Capability

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

Delete To-Do Item Capability

This option enables the chosen capability to delete individual items.

Delete All To-Do Items Capability

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

Add Categories Capability

This enables the chosen capability to add new categories.


The ability to import and export to-do list data can be very useful. For example, you may want to copy over data from one website to another, 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 WP plugin to-do lists - Import/Export Settings

Here you can export or import your list data and plugin settings …

Cleverness plugin WP - Import/Export

Exporting To-Do List Data

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

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

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

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

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

WordPress Export Menu

You can include to-do list data in an export file (in XML format), either by checking ‘All content’ (includes everything – pages, posts, 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 an internal or external hard drive…

WP Menu Tools > Export - 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 …

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

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

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

Once uploading the data file, click on ‘Import Settings’ …

Cleverness plugin to do list - 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 of the plugin settings, you can start creating and editing to-do lists.

Plugin Usage

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

WordPress plugin to do lists - To-Do List Menu

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

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

Adding A New Item To Your To Do List

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

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

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

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

Cleverness - How To 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 already contains many items, since the link is only going to take you to the “Add New To-Do Item” section at the bottom of the page) …

Cleverness plugin to-do list WP - 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 configured your plugin’s 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, add appropriate information into the relevant fields and click on the ‘Submit To-Do Item’ button to add the item to your list …

Cleverness plugin WordPress - 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 …

Cleverness plugin WP - Assign To Do Items to Users

You can also assign multiple users to the same item (click on ‘x’ to delete users) …

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

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

to do list Cleverness - Add A New Item To Your To Do List

Repeat the above process to continue adding items to your list …

Cleverness - 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 each item under the ‘Action’ column …

Edit And Delete Items

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

Cleverness WP plugin to-do list - Assigned To-Do Items Email

After creating your to do list, users can view it from their own user dashboard …

Cleverness plugin to do list - View To-Do List

When users responsible for completing an item click on the item check box …

WP plugin to-do lists - Completed To-Do List Items User Dashboard

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

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

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

WP to-do list plugin - Complete To-Do Item User Dashboard

Additional Plugin Information

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

Using The Plugin Widget

To add to-do lists to your site using widgets, go to the ‘Widgets’ section (Appearance > Widgets) and drag the ‘To-Do List’ widget to the location in your sidebar menu where you want your to-do list to appear …

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

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

Cleverness to-do lists - Using The Cleverness Plugin Widget

The to-do list will appear wherever the ‘to-do-list’ widget has been placed (e.g. the sidebar menu, footer, etc.)

WordPress plugin to do list - Plugin Widget

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

The Cleverness plugin also lets you add to-do lists and checklists to your site by inserting shortcodes into your content.

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

Cleverness plugin WordPress - To-Do List Menu

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

WP plugin to-do lists - Short Codes

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

Using The Cleverness Plugin Short Codes

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

Once you know what type of information you would like to add to your site, open up a new page or post and either type or paste the short code into the content section …

Using The Cleverness To Do List Plugin Short Codes

Publish your post or page and you should see the list showing exactly where you have added the shortcode …

Using Plugin Short Codes

For more details about this plugin, visit the plugin website:

Congratulations! Now you can create and add a to-do list in WordPress.


"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group


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