Drafting a screenplay involves many moving parts. From storyboarding your ideas to drafting the final manuscript in a pitch-ready format, today’s screenwriting software programs streamline the process and eliminate overwhelm. Whether you need help starting a screenplay from scratch or just need a bit of formatting help, there’s a program that’s perfect for your needs. Here, we’ve rounded up the top 10 software programs for screenwriting along with their key features.
Top 10 Programs for Screenwriting
Final Draft is the number-one selling screenwriting software in the world and it’s used by 95% of the entertainment industry. The program paginates your script to the industry’s standard formatting. It also offers over 300 templates, including screenplays, teleplays, comics, immersive storytelling, graphic novels, and stage plays. Use the Beat Board feature to gather your thoughts in a visual way and build an outline for your project. You can also create your own custom keyboard shortcuts to save time while drafting.
Used by over a million screenwriters, TV shows, and blockbusters, WriterDuet helps you plan, write, and share your screenplay. The program includes industry-standard templates and custom formatting, locked and colored pages, and allows you to import and export .fdx files. It also includes a number of collaborative features, like co-writing in real time and text and video chat. WriterDuet tracks all production and writer revisions with individual line history and an edit-by-edit timeline. Your backups are constantly saved through the program’s app and everything is synced to the cloud for safekeeping.
Celtx is another popular option when it comes to screenwriting software programs. Use the multi-format script editors for film, TV, theater, and documentary projects. Celtx also automatically formats your script to industry standards so you’re ready for pitching. Frame your scenes with the storyboarding tools. With the pre-production features, you can organize shot lists and break down your script scene by scene. Keep your cast and crew organized by creating call sheets and sides. Celtx also includes revision tracking and budgeting tools to make sure your project stays on budget.
Studiobinder is a leader in video, photo, TV & film production management software. This customizable program provides solutions for production companies to better manage their projects all in one place. The customizable call sheets allow for digital approvals before sending and also have a tracking feature to view delivery status. Studiobinder also has shot lists and storyboards where you can create multiple lists for different scenes. Use the video production calendar feature to keep the pulse on your project’s progress.
Movie Magic Screenwriter 6
Movie Magic Screenwriter 6 from the Write Brothers is a more basic screenwriting program that formats scripts for movies, TV, novels, stage plays, and comic books. The program’s user-friendly interface takes under 10 minutes to learn and you can easily maneuver through your script using the tab and enter keys. Movie Magic Screenwriter contains over 100 templates and tools, including a thesaurus, text-to-speech features, and revision tracking. You also get free technical support by phone, web, and email for as long as you use the program.
Squibler claims to be the only writing platform with unlimited potential through project management, collaboration and publishing. Squibler is built to handle much more than just screenplays and includes templates for documents like white papers, short stories, meeting notes, and books. The screenplay feature includes templates for various genres, including comedy, thriller, action, and adventure. Use the Corkboard mode to get a visual picture of your project as you’re creating.
If you’re a screenwriter on a budget looking for a free program, check out Trelby. Use the screenplay editor for spell checking, formatting, and pagination. If you need to generate character names, use Trelby’s character name database, which contains over 200,000 different names from various countries. The program allows you to compare versions of your scripts so you can keep track of what’s changed. You can also export your screenplay in a variety of formats, including PDF and HTML.
Fade In is a professional screenwriting software program used to create motion pictures, TV shows, video games, and more. It’s supported in multiple languages and contains several helpful tools for outlining and organizing your project. Fade in also has extensive screenplay formatting capabilities and features to manage and streamline revisions and rewrites. Take advantage of the program’s autocomplete typing feature to save time when drafting. If you prefer to write on the go, the Fade In Mobile app is available for both iPhone and Android.
Slugline 2 is free to download. It works without watermarks until you reach page six of your script, then you’ll need to upgrade to the Unlimited Writing package. Use the dark mode feature to get an overview of your project’s structure and pacing as you draft. The drag-and-drop outline tool acts like index cards on a corkboard, allowing you to easily firm up your outline prior to writing. The Live Compare feature tracks changes against another document in real time. Like Fade In, Slugline is also available on iPhone and Android.
When you write your screenplay with Storyist, you can track your plot, characters, and settings while keeping your project as organized and accessible as possible. Use the Storyist rich text editor to properly format your screenplay and use the included templates to eliminate any formatting guesswork. Use the virtual index cards to create an outline of your story and display the cards next to your manuscript while you write. All work in Storyist is saved on the cloud so you can easily access your screenplay at home or on the go.