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Substance is a content creation tool and a dead simple multi-format publishing platform. Whether you produce stories, books, documentations or scientific papers, Substance provides the tools that allow you to create, manage and share your content.

The new Substance eco-system consists of an offline editing tool (The Substance Composer) and an online multi-platform publishing system (

The Composer

The Substance Composer is a desktop application (OSX and Linux first, Windows later), where you create and manage digital documents. While traditional text editors usually deal with visual information (emulating its representations on paper), the Substance Composer is developed around the idea that content is data. Its structured document composition allows documents to be stored and represented in multiple arbitrary ways. On top of that, with its collaborative features you can annotate, comment and revise your content with anyone.

Anyone can create a free account on the server and start publishing their content online in one click straight from the Composer. You can think of it as an open document repository from where you will be able to manage your published content, add it to existing networks, find other people's public documents or export yours in any imaginable format (print, web, tablet, mobile and more).

We need your help

Over the last two years, Substance has grown into a large project and has gained a lot of attention. People have been contacting us expressing their wish to integrate Substance in their application use-cases. But sadly we have not yet reached a stage in which they could start using it and we'd love to change that!

The goal of this campaign is to get Substance out of experimental state into a usable release. However, the more concrete our goals get, the more we see the need to spend dedicated time on it, in order to come to the day when we can say "It's finally here!".

Your donation

We’ve been developing Substance for two years now without any funding, making this a project fully built out of voluntary effort. Being an open source project our whole platform is going to be free for every user, so there won't be any licence upon completion or any of the likes. The funds collected during this campaign are intended for the development of the platform.

What do I get?

Substance is designed to support your publishing workflow. The software will be released under a liberal software license (MIT). That means that you can use the sofware in any way (customize it, improve it and sell it if you like to). By using our platform you can make your clients happy by improving their workflows, saving them time and money and increase revenue.

And finally, all of our donators will be mentioned in a supporters page on the our website.


Here's how our roadmap looks like. We'll roll a first alpha release at the beginning of February, so people can have a first look at the complete system. After a second, more robust alpha we'll enter a two month beta phase at the beginning of June. The final release will land at the end of July.

Open Source

Behind the scenes the Substance is mainly composed by a stack of open source modules that will be publicly released under the Open Source MIT license.

Substance Composer

The Composer is built on top of web-technology but packaged and shipped as a native application using the modern webkit rendering engine. It can be customized easily by anyone who knows the web-development stack (HTML, CSS, Javascript). Besides having the building blocks available as open source libraries, you can at anytime mess with the code of the app itself.

Substance Document

At the core of the whole platform is the Substance Document. The Document is a programmatic interface for creating and transforming digital documents. It ensures consistency, separates content from presentation and provides an easy to use API.

Substance Surface

Substance Surface is an in browser multi-line plain text editing control. It provides a low-level interface for general text manipulation, insertion, deletion et. al. and user-defined range based annotations. Surface exposes an API that will make it possible to build more complex text editors on top of it.

And then?

This campaign is just a starting point. Once we have a stable foundation is when things will become really exciting. Here are a some of our next priorities:

Additional content types

We'll be adding additional content types in future versions. Among them will be: Lists, Tables, Videos and interactive maps.

Plugin System

We'll be adding a plugin system for the Composer in order to make it easy for developers to create their own content types and share them with the Substance development community.

Multi-format export

You'll be able to export documents to various formats (PDF, ePub, LaTeX, Markdown, MS Word, etc.).

Collaborative editing

Our architecture is ready to support collaborative workflows, so documents can be edited by multiple users, even in realtime. ye

Who are we?

Our core team consists of three people: Michael Aufreiter, Victor Saiz, Oliver Buchtala.

We would also like to thank Samo Korosec, Tim Baumann and Remo Rauscher for their contributions.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if the campaign goal is not reached?

We're dedicated to the idea of making Substance happen anyway. If we don’t reach our goal, we’ll work with less, just moving slower.

What happens if the campaign goal is exceeded?

If we manage to exceed our goals with the campaign, all the money will still be used for doing further work on Substance (see "And then?" section).

How is it different from Google Docs?

Unlike Google Docs Substance focuses on structured content composition, leaving the layout part to the system not the user. Because of the absence of formatting utilities, it suggests structured, content-oriented writing. The Substance Composer is available as Open Source and can be extended by the developer community. It's is intended to be a platform, not a product. Moreover, with Substance your data is stored locally, unless you share it with the public or a selected number of people.

For any specific questions, please email us at:

Thank you,
Team Substance