Custom document models: Define a custom document schema, with your own set of content types.
HTML/XML import and export: Substance interacts well with HTML/XML content. You can import a whole XML document or insert HTML fragments from the clipboard.
Custom HTML rendering: Have full control over the markup of editable content, by implementing components.
Server and client-side execution: Substance runs in the browser and in server-side environments, such as Node.js.
Collaborative editing: Substance documents are manipulated through operations that can be undone, redone and transformed to support concurrent collaborative editing. The needed server infrastructure will be provided soon.
Learn how to define a Note document, write a custom HTML converter for it and build a full-fledged Notepad application.


Being around for five years, Substance has been used in a variety of projects. Here is a short selection of software built with Substance.


Stencila is a platform for creating documents that are driven by data. Stencila Stencils are much like traditional templates for embedding data analysis and presentation code but designed to also play friendly with WYSIWYG editing - think RMarkdown meets Jade meets Google Docs. Stencila Sheets are much like traditional spreadsheets but with cells that are expressions in the host language (i.e. R or Python or ...) and with a bunch of other characteristics that make them fit in with modern software practices - think R meets Google Sheets meets git.


Together with eLife, Substance is developing Lens, an open source toolkit around scientific content. In June 2013 eLife launched the original Lens Reader, which provides a novel way of looking at content on the web. Lens Browser and Lens Writer followed in 2015 complementing the Lens ecosystem.


Archivist is a new platform used by researchers at International Society Memorial. They are creating an archive of interview transcriptions related to the topic of Ost-Arbeiters and WWII POWs. Using Archivist they associate words and passages with an ontology of subject terms, locations, persons and definitions. Later they are able to examine that data and find relevant text passages easily.


Substance Composer is a desktop application that let's you create and share professional web-first publications. You can download the software for Mac OSX, Windows and Ubuntu Linux. Please note, that Composer uses an earlier version of Substance and hasn't seen updates in the last year.


Here is a miscellaneous collection of publications, related to Substance and digital publishing in general.

Michael Aufreiter on January 22 2016
Daniel Beilinson on September 15 2015
Michael Aufreiter on September 4 2015
Michael Aufreiter on April 14 2015
Michael Aufreiter on March 17 2014

About us

Substance is being developed as an open source project since 2010. In 2014 Substance Software GmbH was founded to provide consulting and support.

Michael Aufreiter Co-Founder and Co-CEO
Michael is the initiator of Substance. He coordinates the project and leads UI/UX development. He is a passionate open source commiter since many years. Notable projects include Prose, a visual interface for managing content on GitHub, eLife Lens and of course Substance. Find him on Twitter and Github.
Oliver Buchtala Co-Founder and Co-CEO
Oliver has worked in various fields of Computer Science. He loves and masters code generation, parsers and lately, Javascript. Back in 2010, he helped with the initial design of the Substance Document Model. Today he's involved in every aspect of development, with a focus on infrastructure and system architecture. Find him on Github.

Work with us

As experts in web-based publishing we are offering custom integrations of the Substance platform. These can either be scoped prototyping projects or long-term contracts including a fixed monthly time-budget for custom development. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Substance Consortium

In April 2016 the Public Knowledge Project (PKP), the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation (CoKo) and √Črudit partnered to form a consortium committed to supporting and integrating Substance. The idea is to create a common-pool resource whose development is driven by community needs. Everybody is invited to join.

We are planning a Consortium meeting in July, 2016. If you wish to be informed of the consortium's activities or to join this meeting please join the mailing list.