I’ve written several times about an amazing, but sometimes baffling software application for handling notes called Tinderbox. This seems to be the main reason people visit this site, so to make it a little easier for you to find those posts, I am creating this page with links to each post in chronologic order:

Tinderbox Chronicles, part 1

part 2

Tinderbox Chronicles, interlude

part 3

part 4

part 5

Tinderbox vs. PersonalBrain

Excellent Tinderbox Tutorial

Tinderbox Redux

Why I find Tinderbox irreplaceable

Tinderbox review at Mac Appstorm

Planning your day with Tinderbox

Tinderbox Chronicles, part 6 – creating a day book

Tinderbox Chronicles, part 6a – day book followup

Nice tutorials for Tinderbox

Bullet Journaling with Tinderbox

Tinderbox 6 is now available

Quick Tinderbox 6 highlight – Chart View

Great resource for getting the hang of Tinderbox

Quick Tinderbox 6 hightlight – Adornment Tables

Outlining with Tinderbox 6 (6.2 to be precise)

Workflowy and Tinderbox

Outlines and inline notes


    1. Hi Steve,

      I know you’re a big TB fan — I’m just starting to get my feet wet.

      I also know you e written about Curio in the past (at MacStorm). I’m curious if you still use Curio or if you use TB instead? I ask because I can’t tell if the apps are redundant or if it’s useful to have both. Thanks.

      1. Chris,

        I am a fan of both Curio and Tinderbox. Depending upon your needs they can be redundant, but they can also do very different things. Here is my (quick) take on the strengths of each, relative to the other:

        Tinderbox is better than Curio:
        – As an outliner
        – As an actual database
        – If you like fiddling with your information
        – For more free form diagramming

        Curio is better than Tinderbox:
        – As a notebook
        – As a place to store or organize files like PDFs
        – For more formal mind-mapping and diagramming

        You can make Tinderbox into a decent project manager, but Curio already comes with all the tools for task management already operational.

        If I had to sum up the differences in one sentence I’d say that Tinderbox is better as a note-taker/manager, but if you’re managing a lot of other types of information, Curio might be a better choice.

      2. Hi, Steve,

        Thanks for your thoughts on TB and Curio! I also use Scrivener, DTPO, and Bookends.

        I used to use Circus Ponies Notebook, but after they closed shop and left everyone hanging I’m looking for a replacement for notes, outlines, and other tasks related to large projects. I’ve been experimenting with OmniOutliner, as well as MindNode (for mind mapping), but also thinking about TB and Curio.

        When you say TB can be used as an actual database, would this be on top of using DTPO or in lieu of?

        It sounds like CURIO may be a replacement for OmniPlan, but probably not a replacement for task managers like THINGS or OmniFocus?



      3. Hi, Chris. I got your reply. Some further thoughts:

        I see DevonThink Pro Office as a repository for anything you want to put in there. It’s pretty free form. When I said TB could be used as a database, I meant as a more formal database, because you can create fields (what TB calls attributes). Say you were cataloging your extensive DVD library, you could do that in TB with attributes for Title, Director, Stars, Rating, etc… Whether you’d want to choose TB over a dedicated database like FileMaker would depend on how much database power you would need. And I wouldn’t recommend TB as a replacement for DTPO. The latest version of TB is supposed to have some improved integration capability with DTPO, though I don’t know actually know what that means.

        I’ve never used the task management functions of Curio — I just know they are there.

        If you’re looking for a Circus Ponies Notebook replacement, I’d say that Curio is your best option, with the caveat that it is not as powerful an outliner as CPN (or OmniOutliner or TB).

        All this, of course, is just my opinion, but I hope it is useful.

      4. Hi Steve,

        Not sure my reply went through. If not, feel free to let me know and I’ll write it again.


  1. Hi, Steve,

    Thanks for all of your help. Very, very much appreciated and the type of insight I was looking for.

    So I also use Scrivener and DevonThinkPro. I’m been piloting a trial of Curio and it made me wonder how (if necessary) that would become a part of my workflow. As you mentioned, DTPO as a repository. Because Scrivener also has an option of saving files/attachments, I wonder if you have any thoughts about Curio being better for this (or not)? I know Curio has project management, charts, and other tables — just didn’t to make sure I considered what step it might take in my data management and writing.



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