The university of Tromsø > Giellatekno


About SubEthaEdit (SEE)

SubEthaEdit, named after a famous net in The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy (SubEthaNet — long before Internet was invented), is a standard text editor, just like TextEdit, NotePad, or whatever - except that it allows instant and easy collaboration and concurrent editing. What you see is what the other person does - WYSIWTOPD - instantly, everywhere. It is perfect for writing meeting memos together, for debugging together, for collaborative article writing etc. Getting the other buddy into your document is as easy as drag-and-drop.

We have bought a site version of SubEthaEdit for this project. Talk to Trond.

You can also download a 30-day trial from the SEE website, or try out the free 2.2 version of SEE (which unfortunately doesn't seem to be compatible with the latest versions of MacOS X (Lion and Snow Leopard).

SEE server

We have installed SubEthaEdit on our main server, such that a number of shared documents are always available for everyone to use. This is especially nice when everyone collaborating is behind a firewall or NAT. Just click on the following link: see://

SubEthaEdit settings

Under the first menu (SubEthaEdit), choose "preferences", and the tab "Editing". "Default encoding" should be "UTF-8" and "Line endings" should be "Unix (LF)". "Highligth Syntax", "Show matching brackets", "Show line numbers" and "Wrap lines by word" are nice choices as well.

On the "Printing" tab, "Show line numbers" is a good choice.

On the "Advanced" tabs, install the command line tools.

Syntax modes

We have made a number of modes available for the formal languages we use, like twolc, xfst, lexc etc. Have a look in $GTHOME/tools/see-tools/. These modes will help you in editing the most common document formats in use. A number of other modes are available from the SEE modes page.


Basic usage of SubEthaEdit requires no tutorial. Just write, erase, and move around with the arrow keys. But SubEthaEdit may be a much more efficient tool. Here are some hints:

  • Most basic emacs commands work in SubEthaEdit. Cf. the list below, where "C-a" means "hold down the ctrl key and press A"
    C-a, C-e, C-p, C-n
    Beginning of line, end of line, previous line, next line
    C-k, C-d
    Delete the rest of the line, delete the next character
  • Ordinary Macintosh commands work (command and then x, c, v, z, a for cut, copy, paste, undo and select all
  • The Find/Replace command supports regular expressions
  • Have a look at the "Settings" options in the SubEthaEdit menu. Make "Show line numbers" and "Show matching parenthese" default.

SubEthaEdit as a collaborative editor

This is where SEE really shines, even today, with a lot of online pastebins available. You may invite other people into your document. Do as follows:

  1. On the top of the document, press the yellow Announce symbol on the top left corner of the document (or press Cmd-Shift-E).
  2. In the pop-up window to the right, your name will appear. Above it, change Locked to Read/Write (or press Cmd-Shift-A).
  3. Make the Connections window visible by going to Windows > Connections (or by pressing Cmd-K).
  4. To invite other SEE users to your document, EITHER:
    • drag their iChat buddy icon to the Connections window - SEE will prepare a chat with the correct SEE link; OR:
    • drag the blue ball from the Connections window to an existing chat or other communications channel - a clickable link will appear where you drop the ball