Curio 12 — a Markdown extravaganza

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Curio 12 is out today with a metric ton of new features, and a few that make it an especially exciting update for me. I’ve been testing the beta for just a couple weeks now, but have found plenty of the delight I’ve come to expect with every new release. George Browning keeps setting a high bar for himself…

I’m afraid I don’t have time to offer a complete overview of Curio. It’s wildly powerful for brainstorming, research, organization, and project management, and flexible enough to use in a myriad workflow configurations. I’ve written about Curio before, but here’s a quick description of key concepts:

  • A project represents a real-world project
  • A project contains idea spaces, which are freeform pages for collecting everything (literally) associated with that project. Notes, images, PDFs, documents, web links and embedded web views, multimedia, even emails and contact cards. And more.
  • Additionally, idea spaces can use figures with things like integrated mind maps, lists, tables, index cards, albums, pinboards, and stacks.
  • Use metadata to associate pretty much anything with anything. Tags, due dates, durations, flags, checkboxes… you can develop your own workflows, and then the shelf provides tools for overarching project management based on your metadata workflows.

Suffice to say that between the overall power of the app and the number of new features, I’ll just be focusing on a couple of my favorites. This quick review assumes a basic understanding of what Curio does, but if you don’t know and these features are still intriguing, please go check it out and grab the demo!

First, expanded Markdown support is available in the Pro and Standard editions of Curio 12. This includes the ability to use Markdown in all text figures. You’ll see it rendered as rich text in Curio as soon as you finish editing, and it’s available as Markdown when you start editing the figure again. There aren’t a lot of Markdown-specific editing features, but the Markdown Service Tools work great in Curio.

You can specify a figure as Markdown in the inspector, or let it automatically detect when Markdown is being used. You can also set all text figures to be “Markdown” as the default1.

Whether or not you used a lot of Markdown in a project or space, you can export a space or the entire project in full Markdown glory. A single Markdown file with an accompanying folder of assets. Figures containing rich text will be converted to Markdown formats (including conversion of tables to MMD format), and figures containing Markdown (or specified as Markdown) are exported as-is, meaning no escaping or other conversions that would break your text.

Curio does a great job of figuring out the order in which to export the free-form layout of an idea space (in a left-to-right, top-to-bottom fashion, but without requiring a grid structure). You can use it with index card figures to replicate Scrivener-style idea layout and organization. You can convert Mind Maps and other figure types to Markdown equivalents. And you can preview the results flawlessly in Marked 2.

Any figure in Curio can have metadata associated (tags, flags, checkboxes, priorities, etc.). In the Markdown export, metadata used in the project also exports as @tags in the text, and non-tag metadata types export with consistent names in the document. Given @tags are more specific to the TaskPaper format, that brings me to my next favorite feature…

In the Pro and Standard versions, Curio supports pasting TaskPaper-formatted text lists as List figures, and copying list figures in TaskPaper format, including metadata as tags.

In addition to Markdown and TaskPaper, Curio 12 also adds support for OneNote lists, and extensive support for OmniOutliner Pro. It boasts an updated interface, and a plethora of other meaningful improvements, including boolean syntax and regular expression support (Pro) in searches.

Depending on the edition you’re purchasing, a Curio license runs between $59.99 US and $139.99 US. (Details on what features are available in the various editions, and pricing, can be found here.) Check Curio out at the Zengobi site!

  1. Curio has a cool preference-setting url handler, so there are links in the documentation you can click to modify advanced preferences.