Softwares for writers


Hi guys,

Any writers have a suggestion on softwares to write a screenplay. I have many ideas to write about but I don’t want to make fatal mistakes on my script and have it thrown in the can. Again this isn’t a comparison on which software can pee further… I’m just looking for an easy to use one and one that helps getting the writer out of the common mental block.

Thanks in advance,



I always liked Scriptwright. It’s a MS Word add on, reasonably priced and does a great job of formatting. Unlike some programs, you don’t need a special reader to view a screenplay. The output is a standard word document, readable by anybody, and formatted correctly as a screenplay. Great for e-mailing to potential buyers and also to collaborate. Obviously, you need to own Word as well and Scriptwright does need the matching version to work. Check out the link.


Thanks Brian


i use celtx it’s free, but does a great job for writing and organizing a screenplay and you can save as pdf.


Didn’t know this one also, thank you Arne.


I’d never seen Celtx either. I downloaded it and it looks interesting. Price is sure good. Of course the big daddy in screenwriting software is Final Draft. This is the one that used to need a special reader (free) for others to read your screenplay electronically. Not sure if it still does. Also, seems like they’ve lowered the price. I remember this software costing about $350 (us) but it’s listed as $250 now.

Most professionals use Final Draft.

But really, a professional screenplay is all about formatting. Putting your ideas down in an industry standard format that professionals are used to reading and shooting from.

I’m sticking with SciptWright because I’m so used to Word and it’s very complete set of features.

Good luck.


Yep. Final Draft.

Word doesn’t give you an accurate page count (from my experience).

I find writing in Final Draft fantastic because you stop thinking about formatting and focus more on the creative side of the project.

Also, just a side note, I found ‘Screenplay’ by Black Mana Studios is an awesome little iPhone app that allows you to type a scene up and email it (or store it online) in the .fdx format (for Final Draft v8). They mentioned that future versions of ‘Screenplay’ may support older versions of Final Draft (which uses the .fdr extension). At any rate, when you think up a scene, you can type if up on the iPhone and fire it off to your email, then open it up again on your computer when you get home. The best part? Screenplay costs $8.

Personally, I think both programs are worth the expense (if you have an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad already).


Honestly couldn’t tell you nothing you haven’t already read.

  • Final Draft (trial?)

or better next:

  • Celtx

I personally prefer Final Draft over Celtx, I’m not quite sure why.
Think I once used something along the lines of Magic Script… writer…? not sure.
It was good though.

My recommendation: Celtx

Because It doesn’t just write scripts, it does so much more. :thumbsup:


Don’t get hung up on which software you use, it is much more important that you understand industry formatting. I wrote my first screenplay in long hand, it was a really crappy screenplay, but I learned the ins and outs of proper formatting. Only once you have a strong understanding of formatting, should you use a piece of software that formats for you. I think of it like spelling; many people rely exclusively on spell-check to catch misspellings, put them in a situation where they don’t have a spell-check available, and they start turning in unprofessional, poorly spelled copy. The same holds true for formatting, if you don’t understand how the formatting works, how will you be able to spot bad program performance? I’m not saying you don’t understand it, this is a general statement of belief. Once you are at a point that you feel confident with your formatting know-how, then I would recommend using cheap/free solutions. The mentioned Celtx is probably the most full featured solution you can get for free, but it does WAY more than just write screenplay; for that reason, I feel it is a bit too distracting for a first draft. I normally write my first drafts in one of the two following:

Open Office Template (itself, also free)

[COLOR=Blue]Screenplay Template
Rough Draft

Rough Draft

I use the above on first draft, then move the script to celtx afterwards (if necessary). I also use Tree DB Lite as a story development database.

These are just my opinions, hope they help, and on a last note, I would recommend NOT using any of these online screenplay writing services, they are free, but once you place anything online, you lose control over it. Site could be hacked, and your worked deleted/vandalized/stolen… Paranoid? maybe, but why risk it? If I want access to the file to work on it wherever I am, I upload it to dropbox, often encrypted if it is something for money and not just fun. Hope this helped, good luck with whatever you choose.


My luck I haven’t bought anything yet. Thanks for advice.


Writing in Final Draft just smooths and streamlines the whole process as far as writing screenplays - but I would also agree with Durbdk, it’s all very well having something that formats for you but you also need to understand what the formatting conventions are and how things can be laid out.

That said, if you have a fantastic story that isn’t formatted exactly the way people expect, you’ll probably find no one really minds. Story is top trumps, beats everything else.

If you’re a writer at all and you have a Mac, I would highly recommend Scrivener, which is not a word processor. The entire package is focused on getting out of the way and letting you get on with writing. I use it, I love it. You can find out more at Literature and Latte


Also, for those of you with iPhones, there’s an app for that!

It’s called ‘Screenplay’ by Black Mana Studios and it’s the best $8 I’ve spent. It exports (via email) an .fdx formatted file for use in Final Draft 8. It’s simple and effective. There are minimal formatting issues once you get it into FD8, nothing major.

I typed a whole half hour episode of my sitcom using it, as a test. Works great. Very robust for an $8 app, let alone one that handles screenplay formatting. Future updates suggest even better functionality. I highly recommend it.

Good luck! And happy writing.


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