Curio for Thinking and Knowledge Management

Zengobi has released version 19 of Curio.
As usual, George, the developer, has outdone himself in adding features.
Curio has a lot of features and potential, and is a very power program. If you’re curious, I recommend downloading the free trial and working with it to get a feel for what it is capable of.

There is also the free light-weight companion app Curiota for taking notes, capturing files, etc.

And, the developer is a nice guy, readily gives support, and is open to suggestions.

Here’s a kind of visual workflow that I did for subject recruitment back in 2017. The items that represent people (name, email address) can be dragged from one list to another, depending on if they are going to participate, flaking out, etc. The lines (mostly) represent how people can move through the system to help guide my brain. Forum post



I’m another Curio 19 fan. I use it to plan out my semester of teaching, partial image shown below:


Some days I feel I could delete almost every other app, and just keep Curio. It’s just enjoyable to use and makes work and personal creation pleasant. I love things like Obsidian, but Obsidian is industrial and plain. Curio is creative.


Curio is an app I keep wanting to start using. I used to do this kind of noodling in Omnigraffle, but that licensed version stopped working some time ago. The developer definitely seems like one I’d like to support, too.


This is why Curio is such a great piece of software!

The picture shows an RStudio window in front of my Curio Idea Space that documents (part of) this data analysis pipeline.

The rectangles with text in them are links (aliases) to files in various places on my drives. Adding links/aliases is super easy, just drag them in from Finder, hold Option and release. (Bob’s your uncle.)

The lines with arrows show me the flow of data, and also the calls that routines make to other routines.
If I want to open, say, PSC_Analysis.Rmd, I just double-click on its link/alias and it opens in R, ready to edit or run.
If instead I want to open a file in Finder, I just right-click on its link/alias and select Reveal in Finder.

The Curio Idea Space is like a dashboard for this data analysis pipeline, which you can see is ridiculous, and too much to keep in ones head.

Also posted on the Zengobi forum


so it’s $70 one-time or $50/yr? Is that right? It would have to replace notion and all those tables/databases for me to justify this. But I can see some potential for use re: genealogy projects. Hmmm…

As I understand the pricing details here:
I have Pro, so it would be $139.99 or $99.99 with the educational discount.
I think Core could do everything as I’ve shown for, as you said, $69.99.
Those are one-time costs, and include updates for a year.

Looks like the Pro subscription is $6.99/mo or $69.99/yr.
Standard $4.99/mo or $49.99/yr.

Caveat: I believe all the subs go through the Mac App Store, and therefor will use a sandboxed version of Curio details of differences here.

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I suggest doing a trial before replacing Notion (and whatever your other comment means). Curio is as excellent as @JohnAtl has been telling us, but it is not a complete overlap with Notion or Craft. It may or may not be a database – depending on what the user thinks a “database” is. So, trial is the thing. And George will help answer any detailed questions you have.


Also this: Projects in Curio can sync with Reminders and the Calendar.

I thought I’d like to figure out what these scripts do, so I made a note at the top, remembered I could add a checkbox to it, and automagically, it was synced to Reminders. The link in Reminders, as expected, takes you to the Idea Space in the Project in Curio, and even highlights it once so you can easily find it.


That is intriguing but without a mobile app Curio would be a no go for me.

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I think so!

I recommend downloading and giving it a try. Every person’s use of it is different, so my description of it is biased to the way I use it. Curio has Idea Spaces. This is sort of like a white board / cork board / large section of wall :slight_smile:. On the Idea Spaces you can put things like pin boards, lists, index cards for notes, circles, rectangles, connecting lines, photos, etc. You can arrange these things however you like, and however your brain works. Those are kind of the basics (and very powerful). To go a little beyond basics, you can, say, turn on checkboxes on items and link that to your reminders and/or calendar, so Pop Quiz Unit 7 could show up on your calendar for Friday. When you click the link in your calendar, it would take you to the Curio Idea Space where you’ve laid out all your materials for that pop quiz.

(My partner is a teacher, and I just realized I should suggest this to her!)

Also see @lsieverts ’ example above.



Thank you for your reply. I think I have to look into it. What I’m looking for is some kind of knowledge data base & class management tool. I was watching some Youtube content and Curio might be a good solution because it seems to be very customizable.
Do you per any chance know Notion? If yes, can it be compared to Curio? Those are the two apps I tend to tumble over since I started looking into this kind of software.

They are really different animals.
Notion is a database, Curio is more of a data place, a place to put things, make sense of them, and keep up with them.
So in Notion you can have a table of items, and those items can be linked to other tables of items, so when you look up your 3rd period class, you see all the lessons for that class. You could then sort by date, etc. If you want to enter grades and get totals, averages, etc., then Notion is probably the one you want.

In Curio, you could have a folder for 3rd period, then folders in that folder for each unit (like properties of matter), then Idea Spaces for each lesson. You could also make a dashboard with links to quickly jump to whatever is currently relevant.
(Making assumptions in my examples based on what/how my partner teaches.)

I used August Bradley’s Life Operating System for a while and it was just too much. That’s not a negative for Notion per se. If you’re more of a spreadsheet-y person, you might prefer Notion. If you’re more of a post-it on a whiteboard person, you might prefer Curio (but Curio has tables too).

So I’d suggest looking at each and seeing what you like. Ultimately, you’re really the only person that knows :slightly_smiling_face:


Cool. Trademark that one ™


Screen Shot 2021-11-28 at 12.37.42 PM


As much as I liked Curio, I dropped it when it went to subscription. I don’t use it enough to warrant the high subscription cost.

I moved everything to Tinderbox which has been far more beneficial and IMHO, is way better for knowledge management and thinking than Curio. Curio has nice graphical features, but Tinderbox has phenomenal power under the hood and a number of different ways to view the same data.

So instead you dropped $250 for tinderbox? :open_mouth:


Curio also has a purchase option the same as Tinderbox. Pay once, get updates for a year, use it as long as you like.

I tried to like (and even use) Tinderbox, and have about $500 invested in that, including annual updates, his books, etc. In my use, it’s a kludgy, cantankerous, weird program that works the way Bernstein works, and Bernstein has a very Henry Ford model of software development (any color you want, as long as it’s black). I’m no stranger to programming, having started with machine code (I still recall F8 2D A3 F8 11 A1 to start setting up video on my first machine) and visited such oddities as b.f. (language, if your ears are tender). Still, Tinderbox’s “language” is terrible, as is the way the commands are entered into horizontally scrolling boxes in obscure place.
Other times you just want to change the font ( e.g., e.g., and be sure you actually need whatever you need because money doesn’t grow on trees). Tinderbox makes even changing fonts/colors/etc. exceptionally obtuse.


I did say that I didn’t use it enough to warrant the subscription. Tinderbox I use daily. It absorbed everything I was using Curio for. There are lots of apps I don’t mind upgrading every so often, but it’s a different matter when it’s another monthly subscription.

That has not been my experience. There is definitely a steep learning curve. The more recent releases and weekly web meeting have been a massive improvement.

I’m no programmer, but find the commands very powerful and the logic pretty simple. As with all software, once you know your way around knowing where to put code becomes second nature. Using it everyday really helps and the forums are really responsive.

In terms of knowledge management and thinking it has become second to none for me as well as for managing complex projects and systems.