Using Curio to document prototype versions

I’m documenting a design project, which has nine versions of a prototype. I needed to understand the evolution of the design and how each version differed. Most things were in Google Slides (I use Google Slides for co-design work since most folks know how to use it), though one iteration was a website.

I exported all the Google Slides versions as PDFs and I used File > Export as PDF for each webpage on the site in Safari. Then, I imported the PDFs to a Curio idea space, used the fantastic “Spread PDF Within This Idea Space” feature, and then drew arrows and made some annotations to better understand how the prototypes evolved.

I can’t imagine a better tool for this job.


Curio is my go-to thinking tool.
Especially since you can place aliases to files in an Idea Space that update as the files on your drive update. Great for programs that need files or sets of files in certain places.

Thinking about using Curio for GTD too. Idea Spaces can be Projects, with an Idea Space to act as a dashboard, etc. I’m torn between this and a text-only system in Emacs org mode.


That is quite the feature! How neat. I love when specific little workflows are so precisely suited to a task. Programming that feature was undoubtedly a tedious job, but it seems it was worth it.

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Another handy thing is you can stick a line to any part of a figure (e.g. PDF page), so you could have a line connecting a word or paragraph to some other thing in the Idea Space. Move the figure, and the attached line moves as you would expect, attached where you attached it.

curio attachments


This road you’re paving with good intentions… where does it go again?

CleanShot 2022-08-10 at 09.49.29


@beck I have to say that I am always impressed with the minutia of your work (usually in Tinderbox before this Curio example) , although I can’t help but wonder how you find your way around such massive documents.
How do you use them once they’re finished? Are you just following one thread and observing the relationships along the way?
I tend to think in spreadsheets and aggregated observations which is why it may appear foreign to me :slight_smile:

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Oh! I have a virtual reality cave in the basement and I walk around and through them, like this.

In seriousness, I’m constantly wanting more screen space. But I’m also a very visual thinker and so I am less satisfied or benefitted from columns and calculations.

My mind remembers where certain things are (like when you can find a passage in a book by sort of remembering it was on the right/left/top/bottom about this far through, etc.). I navigate to those areas and do what I need to do. But, mostly, insights come from the creation of these documents. For me, laying these things out in an order that makes sense (to me) is, itself, the point.


There are actually quite a few VR projects around knowledge working in a spatial environment, from the classic replica of a room with a whiteboard to the port of PKM applications in VR.

There is also the option to use Immersed or virtual desktop to summon a 30 meters wide cinema screen floating in space to display your curio / tinderbox board. It’s quite compelling but the resolution still needs to improve before I spend time in there. It does not seem to stop some folks to adopt it full-time, here is a nice account of one user.

There are new VR headsets coming up with much better definitions and I know of this project which is set on bringing a proper computing experience to VR.

When it comes to Curio and large boards, I find that the progressive zooming is a bit heavy, I’d like to just pinch and drag to move around, but that feels a bit sluggish. I was told by Georges from Curio that it’s because the app re-renders everything at every zoom level, and he provided me with a workaround to change the zoom increment.

Having written that makes me think I should try navigating large, multi-page curio documents with hyperlinks using another tool (Alfred, KM, Hook, etc.). :thinking:


Would love to see some examples of what you’re working with!