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Office software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Curio 8.3 review

£72

Manufacturer: Zengobi

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Free-form project management combines whiteboarding, mind mapping and note-taking. Read our Curio 8.3 review to find out more.

As its name suggests, Curio is one of those odd products that doesn’t really want to be classified, so by turns the makers describe it as a digital notebook, a mind mapper, a brainstormer and a project management program. What it actually provides is an empty space into which it’s possible to add, organise and then share all manner of content. This makes it suitable for speccing out everything from traditional tasks like homework, websites or a new product plan, through to less obvious projects like outlining a story or planning a trip. See all software reviews.

Inevitably, Curio uses its own lingo, so the working area is ‘the idea space’ and anything that gets added to this is ‘a figure’ - whether it’s some text, a shape, an image or an asset representing another file that’s been dragged in from the Finder. Figures can be arranged individually or gathered together into collections of associated items, which makes it easier to organise the workspace, especially if you’re working on a large project. They can also be assigned specific due dates, priorities and star ratings. See all office software reviews.

Around the idea space you’ll find Curio’s various navigation panels and toolbars. The current project is arranged in the Organizer, rather like slides in a slideshow sorter; along the top, the Inspector Bar offers access to attributes associated with the currently selected figure (for example the typeface, appearance, whether it has any identifying tags); the toolbar sits at the bottom and lets you change tool type (text, drawing and so on) as well as allowing you to insert various kinds of rich media elements; finally, at the top right is the Navigator which makes it easy to jump around large projects. 

Curio provides plenty of pre-styled lists, tables, stencils (like buttons, geometric shapes, lines, arrows) index cards for traditionalists, mind maps, quick ways to paste in links to web content from YouTube, Vimeo, Google Docs and so on; we also liked the Instant Document feature which supports a range of popular programs (like Pages, Word and Photoshop) and allows you to drop an icon representing a blank, ready-to-edit document into the workspace; double click it and the associated program will launch.

Curio makes it easy to add a pre-styled mind map to an existing ‘idea space’ – note the re-designed, streamlined interface.

Used Curio before? With this version the company has streamlined the product line by dropping the Core, Standard and Pro editions and massaging them into a single product, with a much less fussy interface; as a result, one or two features have gone, of which the main one is Dossiers - existing ones will be imported as RTF files and dropped into the Organizer panel on the left. 

There’s plenty more to like here, including integration with Reminders, iCal and Evernote, support for retina displays, the ability to export projects, spaces and even individual figures as HTML, PDF, or RTFs. Factor in the new, lower price and Curio is easy recommend as a powerful, versatile way of managing a myriad of projects.

Time-reliant tasks can be linked to Reminders and iCal in order to keep projects on track.

Curio 8.3 Expert Verdict »

Requirements: OS X 10.7.4 or later
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

Re-vamped, re-styled free-form project manager makes it easy to create and organise all manner of tasks, add and link to external information, define and prioritise deadlines and present the entire thing in an easy-to-navigate series of electronic whiteboards. Good exporting and powerful search features too.

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