Get SubEthaEdit
Download SubEthaEdit 3.5.4
Requires Mac OS X 10.4

This version lets you try the software for 30 days before requiring registration. For details, please click here.

Quick Links
SubEthaEdit's Awards

Frequently Asked Questions


What about the name?

The name has been chosen to honor one of the greatest visionaries of computer supported collaborative writing, Douglas Adams, author of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", one of the funniest and greatest books on earth. In his books he envisioned a travel guide for aliens, which was updated by multiple editors collaborating over the "SubEthaNet". To quote him:

The Guide was compiled by researchers roaming round the galaxy, beaming their copy in, which was then instantly available to anybody to read. Over, believe it or not, something called the SubEthaNet. [...] I really didn't foresee the Internet. But then, neither did the computer industry. Not that that tells us very much of course - the computer industry didn't even foresee that the century was going to end. But I did have the inkling of an idea that a collaborative guide, one that was written and kept up to date by the people who used it, in real time, might be a neat idea.

SubEthaEdit is pronounced Sub-Etha-Edit. Sub like in "Subway", Etha like in "Ether", and Edit like in "Editor".

Any chance of a *nix or Windows version?

We love developing Macintosh applications with Cocoa and are determined to improve SubEthaEdit on that platform. We currently have neither resources nor experience to port our products to other platforms.

I would like to put a "Created with SubEthaEdit" button on my website

Here you go:
Created with SubEthaEdit

How does it work, technically?

SubEthaEdit uses Bonjour to announce its services on the subnet. Contrary to popular belief Bonjour does not provide collaboration services. This is handled by an engine internally dubbed "Million Monkeys Framework" to ensure zero-latency, non-locking, constant editing of text. SubEthaEdit's network protocol is based on open standards, namely the "Blocks Extensible Exchange Protocol" (BEEP).

Is there a forum or a mailinglist?

Yes. Please have a look at our Yahoo Group.

Where can I get old versions of SubEthaEdit?



I'm the only Macintosh user in the subnet. Where can I test collaborative editing?

Connect to the offical codingmonkeys testing server by clicking here.

Is SubEthaEdit 2.x compatible with 1.x?

No. Due to its much more evolved network protocol, SubEthaEdit 2.x can't talk to 1.x clients. However, the new protocol is extensible and ensures future development.

Did the port number change?

Yes. Version 1.x used port 30729. Version 2.0 introduced a new, more efficient network protocol and therefore changed the port number to port 6942, easily memorable with the help of advanced hypermathematics: "Six times nine is forty-two". The range of 6942-6951 will be used to allow for fast user switching and port conflicts.

I don't see any shared documents. What's wrong?

Please check if you have enabled a firewall. If so, please allow SubEthaEdit to use ports 6942 to 6951. In case you are using Mac OS X's Click 'New' to the right of the list of predefined ports, choose 'Other' from the pop-up menu and enter "6942-6951" for the port number and "SubEthaEdit" for the description. For detailed step-by-step instructions, please visit our networking support page.

I'm behind a router. How can I work with others over the internet, that also sit behind a router?

Since version 3.1 SubEthaEdit can automatically forward ports if your router supports NAT-PMP (most Airport Basestations) or UPNP (nearly every other router). Sometimes you have to enable these service once before they can work. Have a look at your router's manual or go here for help with Apple Basestations. In case of manual port mapping, port 6942 to 6951 should be forwared from the router to the computer. After that the other user should be able to establish a connection to him, which will be used to share documents in both directions. If you need to find out your dynamic IP, for example browse to For detailed step-by-step instructions, please visit our networking support page.

What is friendcasting?

Friendcasting allows you to see all current connections of somebody you are connected to. This allows work groups to find each other even if just two of them are initially connected. It can be enabled by clicking the friendcast button in the Connections window. All new friend-of-a-friend connections are indicated by a special connection icon in the browser. If you are concerned about your privacy, you can disable friendcasting in the advanced preferences.

Is my document securely transmitted?

SubEthaEdit uses SSL encryption by default, so the contents of your document can't be read by anybody that isn't allowed to. In case SSL encryption fails SubEthaEdit indicates a insecure connection in the Connections window and by not displaying a SSL lock in the upper right corner of the document.


I need help regarding regular expressions.

Have a look at "Help → Regular Expressions" for a summary of SubEthaEdit's regular expression vocabulary. To learn about basic and advanced regular expressions we recommend

The syntax highlighter does not apply bold and italic styles to the source. What's wrong?

To use "fontification" you need a font that has bold and italic variants. Unfortunately Apple does not supply a monospaced font with these variants that is suitable for programming. We recommend downloading and installing the free "Vera Bitstream Mono" font. If you still want to use Monaco or another font without suitable variants, you can go to the Advanced Preferences in SubEthaEdit and turn on "Add synthesised Bold and Italic to Fonts". You might also want to disable screen fonts because most screen fonts don't look to great with synthesised variants.

How does autocomplete work?

Autocomplete can be activated by pressing ⌥⎋ (option-escape) or F5. This shortcut works for all Cocoa applications and can be customized by experienced users by putting a custom DefaultKeyBinding.dict in ~/Library/KeyBindings/. Please note that Autocomplete does not work while running TextExtras.

How does blockedit work?

You can edit multiple lines at once by holding ⌥ (option) and selecting an area. Click inside and edit. To stop blockedit press ⎋ (escape) or click outside the highlighted area. Here's a tutorial movie. Since SubEthaEdit 2.1 you can also press shift-command-B to blockedit the current selection.

How can I call SubEthaEdit from Terminal?

Just use the command-line tool. Type man see in Terminal for more information

What about FTP support?

SubEthaEdit does integrate with FTP Clients which support the ODB editor suite. This includes clients such as Interarchy, Fetch, NetFinder, Cyberduck, FTPeel, CuteFTP, Fugu and Transmit. Just configure SubEthaEdit as an external editor in these applications. From now on you can fire up your FTP client, chose "Edit with SubEthaEdit" and have changes uploaded automatically on save.

Any chance of RTF support?

SubEthaEdit is a plain text editor. However, we are evaluating the idea of a collaborative rich text editor and might release an application like that in the future.

I want to change the colors for syntax coloring.

SubEthaEdit 2.1 features a "Styles" preference pane that allows you to customize your modes. You can even share these customizations with others by exporting them.