33 Screenwriting Software Programs To Optimize Your Scripts
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published September 29, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Quality screenwriting software can help you effectively create and collaborate on screenplays. Whether you have extensive experience in screenwriting or are looking to join the industry, many software tools can assist with various parts of the writing process, both during and after you finish. Learning what these tools can do can allow you to create more compelling scripts and find more success in your career.
In this article, we explore why screenwriting software is important and list 33 of these programs to assist with your creative process.
Why is screenwriting software important?
Screenwriting software programs are important because they can help you get your formatting right and offer collaboration tools that make it easier to work with a writing or production team.
Screenwriting software features tools that help you organize your thoughts and get straight to drafting without using too much time formatting your document. Many industry professionals rely on this type of software to streamline the process, helping them save time while producing more effective scripts.
Related: How To Become a Screenwriter
13 screenwriting software programs to consider
Here are some of the most common screenwriting software programs for creating, formatting and sharing your scripts:
1. Final Draft
Final Draft is screenwriting software that has an array of features that makes it easy to use and help you organize everything from your storyboard to your final draft. Final Draft works on most common operating systems, and it has an app for mobile devices and tablets that it sells separately from the software license.
The company also provides educational resources for screenwriters, including information from industry professionals, screenwriting tips and how-to articles for using the software. This software can allow you to do the following:
Format your script to better match industry standards
Choose templates for screenplays, stage plays, teleplays and more
Organize your ideas with color coding and image capabilities
Use an outline editor to transform your board into a working outline
Comment on your script with a notes feature
More easily format and back up your files
Celtx is a cloud-based screenwriting software focused on production team collaboration. Celtx offers different subscription packages depending on your needs. Individuals and small teams can choose between plans for scriptwriting, video production and game production.
Enterprise operations get an all-in-one package through CeltxPro, and CeltxPro Education is available for a classroom. Newer screenwriters may prefer Celtx because it's affordable and offers a robust list of features, such as:
Access all of your documents in a backed-up location
Create scripts that meet industry standards
Collaborate in real-time with a team-oriented workflow
Use development tools to organize and revise your scripts
Plan all aspects of your project, from the budget to shooting
Integrate with other file types
WriterDuet aims to be an intuitive, easy-to-use program that offers tools to facilitate collaboration and a streamlined interface. This cloud-based interface offers apps for web, desktop and mobile, which work online or offline. Other tasks WriterDuet allows you to do include:
Outline easily with tools to facilitate brainstorming like index cards and mind maps
Write simultaneously on a project with other members of your team
Video chat and in-app text with your other writers
Switch your work between multiple devices
Organize beat sheets, outlines and treatments with a few clicks
When you sign up for WriterDuet, your first three scripts are free, and the company doesn't impose limits on imports, exports, how much time you use the software or the number of pages you create within those three scripts.
Highland aims to make the writing process easier by automating the formatting of a script. For example, if you type a character's name in all caps, the program automatically indents the next line and formats it as dialogue. It also recognizes scene headers and transitions to help save you time while writing. With Highland you also can:
Navigate your script by scenes and sections with Navigator
Save alternative pieces of text in the Bin
Turn on Live Margins for automatic formatting to take effect
Track your changes to an existing script in Revision Mode
Analyze how speaking parts in your script break down by gender with Gender Analysis
Open other file formats into editable documents
Highland is free to download on some operating systems and offers in-app purchases, and it doesn't have a mobile app.
5. Fade In
Downloadable software Fade In offers familiar screenwriting tools for most common operating systems. The software includes features and customizations like Unicode support and focused editing mode to help you optimize your scripts. Other tasks Fade In allows you to do include:
Automatically format your screenplay while you type
Automatically fill character names and locations
Collaborate with other members of your team in real time on the same document
Organize and color-code your screenplay around plot points, characters or other elements
Import and export a variety of file formats
Fade In offers free software updates and a free trial before you buy the software. You can use your copy of the software on multiple computers, but it requires you to expand the license if you want to have multiple users.
6. Movie Magic Screenwriter
Movie Magic Screenwriter is creative writing software that allows you to look at your script, outlines, note cards and other tools at the same time. The software uses NaviDoc technology to offer its user interface and streamline the creation process. It emphasizes being easy to learn and use, and with this software you can:
Rely on over 100 templates and tools to help you craft and revise projects
Outline a script with different components, like acts, scenes and sequences
Show or hide script notes, and categorize notes by color
Customize the look and outline of your document view
Receive free technical support
Movie Magic Screenwriter is available for most common operating systems. The software is available for a one-time purchase fee, and you can buy upgrades for your existing software as they come out.
StudioBinder helps you organize your entire production process, not only your screenwriting. If you're working on a smaller project and perform several duties for it, StudioBinder can help you multitask. It also provides capabilities to integrate information from photo and video production teams to enhance collaboration across your projects. With this software you can:
Create call sheets with RSVPs
Tag script elements like wardrobes and props
Customize the storyboard and shot list
Use drag-and-drop capabilities to schedule shoots
Comment on calendars, tasks and files
Manage your contact lists
Pricing varies based on the number of projects you plan to create, and you can pay monthly or yearly. A free version is available with no time limit, but you can create only one project in the free version.
Scrivener is a writing program that provides a framework for you to manage your documents, notes, concepts and more for easy reference. You can customize it based on the project you're working on, with features to optimize your outlining and storyboarding processes. Scriptwriters using scrivener can:
Use formatting features to get scripts into industry standards
Export to other software
Split the screen to view multiple documents at once
Expedite the creative process with the corkboard and outline tools
Switch between editing specific scenes and the screenplay as a whole
Scrivener is available for most operating systems and mobile devices. You can bundle your subscription if you own multiple devices you'd like to run the software on, and it has a 30-day free trial available.
Trelby is free, open-source software that focuses on providing a straightforward interface to simplify your projects. Trelby offers a discussion forum for users to suggest changes, and its developers implement them if they might make the program better. If you use Trelby, you can:
Format your screenplay correctly in the editor
View your screenplay in several view options, including draft or full screen
Compare different drafts of your scripts
Easily import and export different file types
Get reports on your dialog, characters, scenes and locations
Trelby is free to download and use, and it's available for most operating systems.
10. KIT Scenarist
KIT Scenarist is a free program that aims to simplify the screenwriting process. This program contains features for creating scripts from when you create an idea and when you transition to the production phase. KIT Scenarist aims to offer similar features to many paid screenwriting programs. When you use KIT Scenarist, you can:
Conduct research for your script and keep it all in one module
Create color-coded cards, similar to a storyboard or corkboard
Write your script and let the script editor automatically format it for you
Use the statistics module to get information about your script
Import and export in a variety of file formats
You can download the beta version or the stable version when you get this free software. It's available on most operating systems and mobile devices. If you want cloud storage, you can purchase the Pro version.
While you're drafting your script, Squibler allows you to structure your document into headings, scenes and more to help you navigate the process more easily. This program automatically generates a table of contents based on your document, and it automatically updates if you change the order of your chapters or scenes. Other features of Squibler include:
Choose from a variety of screenplay templates
Use editor mode to structure revisions and set goals
Create to-do lists
Restructure your screenplay with the corkboard
Collaborate easily with others on your team
Download your screenplay in multiple formats
Squibler is available for a 14-day free trial, after which you can purchase it for a monthly subscription. The website offers resources for getting started, such as prompts, screenwriting how-to blogs and a prompt generator.
Slugline relies on Fountain markup language, which is a free screenplay format that's compatible with many common software programs. This program automatically formats your document based on commands, such as if you type a name, a transition phrase or a scene heading descriptor. Slugline also allows you to:
Automatically create an outline, timeline and color-coded notes while you work
Outline with drag and drop
Compare your tracked changes with a previous draft
View your screenplay in dark mode
Slugline is available for desktop and mobile devices. It's free for your first six pages, and you can choose to buy the full version after that.
A word processor with extra features, Storyist offers a simple layout with helpful features available in menu bars. It provides a screenwriting template for easy formatting, and it includes features for a corkboard for photos or index cards, an outliner and a project manager. Other features of this program include:
Outline your project in a flexible format
Switch quickly between screenplay styles with a few keystrokes
Rely on the auto-complete feature for scene introductions, characters and more
Import and export into a variety of file formats
Storyist is available for purchase for some desktop and mobile devices. You can purchase the current version of the software, or you can get upgrade pricing if you have an older version.
20 additional screenwriting software choices
Here are some other screenwriting software programs you can consider when planning your next project:
Arc Studio Pro
DubScript Screenplay Writer
Page 2 Stage
Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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