Screenwriting is a unique form of writing. It is not like writing a novel or a short story. There are specific techniques and rules that you need to follow to make your screenplay effective.
If you’re screenwriter, then you know that writing can be a difficult task. It’s not easy to develop authentic ideas, and It’s even harder to put those ideas down on paper in cohesive way.
That’s where screenwriting software comes in handy. Screenwriting software can help you organize your thoughts, develop characters, and outline your story.
Choosing the best screenwriting software is neccesary to becoming a great writer. This blog post will discuss the best screenwriting software available and how it can help you write your next masterpiece.
Reviews of the Best Screenwriting Software
Best for the Aspiring Pro
Final Draft is the best screenwriting software because it helps you to visualize, outline, and report your writing in a way that is not difficult to understand.This top-selling screenwriting software is used by 95% of the entertainment industry, making it the best choice for anyone looking to break into this competitive field.
Final Draft automatically paginates your script to entertainment industry formats, and offers over 300 templates for screenplays, teleplays, comics, and more. You can also write using Windows, Mac, or in the Final Draft Mobile app for iPhone & iPad (sold separately).
- Final Draft has limitless space to organize your ideas in a customizable, visual way.
- It contains the new outline elements which transfer your beat board to the outline editor for high-level outlining.
- It uses multiple lanes to organize your screenplay’s structure.
- Final Draft also adjusts the size of beats in the Outline Editor for a bird’s eye view of your script
- It has the Scriptnotes features, which allows you to add comments to your script as ideas come to you
- Final Draft is the industry standard for screenwriting software
- It’s easy to use and helps you focus on your writing
- You can export your work in a variety of formats
- Updates can be expensive
- Final Draft is not compatible with all word processors like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and Pages..
- Final Draft offers a free trial for 30 days
- Special Upgrade Plan costs $69.99
Best for Screenwriters on a Budget
Arc Studio Pro is the best screenwriting software for writers on a budget. It offers all of the standard formatting features that industry professionals expect without fuss. The clean interface makes it easy to stay focused on your story, and the autocompletion and intuitive shortcuts make it easy to get the most out of the software.
Additionally, Arc Studio Pro’s Plot Board tool can help you structure your story, and the real-time collaboration feature makes it easy for everyone on your team to stay on the same page.
- Arc Studio Pro can easily import and export .fdx format
- It has a better design, even more intuitive shortcuts, intelligent formatting and a minimal interface
- Better collaboration – write along seamlessly in time period, as simple as Google Docs
- Better Plot Board – organize your beats in act columns and intuitively change your structure with drag & drop
- Auto-save with each keystroke, mechanically adjust to the cloud, with great backups for further security
- Arc studio pro is very easy to use and has a simple interface.
- The program is well organized and allows you to find the tools you need quickly.
- The plot board interface makes the process of writing a screenplay much more accessible.
- The customer support is excellent.
- It does not have all of the features that Final Draft offers, such as the ability to adjust the size of beats in the outline editor and the Scriptnotes feature.
Arc Studio Pro offers a free trial and two paid plans. Each plan has its different customizable features.
- Essentials at about $69/yr
- Pro at about $99/yr
Best for Editing
Celtx is the best screenwriting software for anyone looking to write a professional, industry-standard script. The software has multi-format script editors for film & TV, theater, documentaries, and other media, which will automatically format your script to industry standards. Celtx also has powerful story development tools and pre-production tools to help you take your writing from idea to camera.
And finally, celtx has production tools to help you manage your cast and crew during a shoot. Overall, Celtx is an all-in-one production studio that will simplify your screenwriting process from start to finish.
- Frame scenes with the storyboard plan story beat with index cards
- Celtx’s story development tools helps to conceptualize, write, and enrich your script
- Celtx’s powerful pre-production tools allow you to get a complete picture of your production before the camera starts rolling.
- It simplify script changes with revision tracking, create a budget and keep expenses in check with cost reporting.
- Celtx anchors your cast and crew’s expectations with scheduling and keeps your production from going off-script.
- It is not available for Mac users
- Celtx can also be a bit overwhelming for new users because of all the features it has to offer
Celtx offers a free trial and three paid plans. Each plan has its different customizable features.
- Writer plan-$13.49/mo
- Writer Pro plan-$22.49/mo
- Team plan-$53.99/mo
Best for Collaborative writer
WriterDuet is the best collaborative screenwriting software because it has a collaborative tool that helps writers write together in real-time or separately. Additionally, the software has a built-in text/video chat and comment system that allows for feedback and collaboration.
- In addition to custom formatting and templates, you can lock pages and color them differently to help with drafting and editing.
- It allows the import and export of .fdx files so you can efficiently work with collaborators or use your scripts on different devices.
- It helps to co-write in real time or separately, with text or video chat, comments/replies, and the ability to share or publish for feedback.
- WriterDuet saves every production revision and writer change in your script, along with an edit-by-edit timeline of your screenplay.
- You can write in real-time with a partner, which is great for getting feedback and bouncing ideas off of each other.
- The software updates features and improves constantly.
- It has a very user-friendly interface that makes it easy to start the program.
- No mobile app yet
- No macOS Catalina support yet
WriterDuet has a free trial and three paid plans. Each plan has its different customizable features.
- Plus Plan at about $9.99/mo
- Pro Plan at about $11.99/mo
- Premium Plan at about $13.99/mo
Best Free Screenwriting Software
If you’re looking for the best free screenwriting software, Trelby is the answer. It’s easy to use and helps enforce correct script format and pagination, auto-completion, and spell-checking. It also has multiple views, including draft view, WYSIWYG mode, and fullscreen to suit your writing style.
Plus, it has a character name database containing over 200,000 names from various countries and scene/location/character/dialogue reports. You can also compare scripts to see what changed between versions. As if that’s not enough, it also imports Screenplay formatted text,
Finally, it exports PDFs, and other markup language files.
- Trelby has a simple, uncluttered interface that gets out of your way and lets you focus on writing.
- Trelby generates the same output on all platforms.
- Trelby automatically indicates the sequence of pages in your screenplay for you.
- Trelby is a free and open-source software
- Trelby is easy to use
- Trelby does not allow you work on different parts of your manuscript simultaneously
- Trelby does not have a built-in script editor
Best for Historical, Fictional and Non-fictional Writing
Scrivener is the best software for both historical, fictional and non-fictional writing. The program has all the features you need to get your ideas down on paper and into a finished product, from a built-in script editor to helpful templates for different types of writing.
This program is tailor-made for long writing projects, allowing you to compose your text in any order, in sections as large or small as you like. Whether you plan or plunge, scrivener works your way: hammer out every last detail before typing a word, or carve out a draft and restructure later.
- Lets you gather all of your material into one powerful app
- Lets you break your text into manageable sections of any size
- You can work on different parts of your manuscript simultaneously
- Restructure your work later if needed
- Has integrated outlining tools to help you plan everything out first
- It has an in-built ‘Corkboard’ that allows you to rearrange files using a simple drag-and-drop option.
- Makes writing easier and more enjoyable
- Gives you complete control over your project.
- Scrivener doesn’t back up easily and automatically stop when being used too much
- It takes time to learn the software.
- Free Trial Available
It also has two paid plans with one time payment which works on macOS, Windows and iOS devices.
- Standard Licence
For macOS & Windows: $49
For iOS: $19.99
- Educational Licence
For macOS & Windows: $41.65
For iOS: $19.99
Best for Seamless Integration
This program offers a wide range of features that make it an excellent choice for any writer, including a built-in outlining tool, scene/chapter breakdowns, and index cards. You can also import your files from numerous Word processors and extensions, including Microsoft Word docs, text files, PDFs, and more.
Fade In also offers a host of features specifically designed for screenwriters, including beat sheets, scene management tools, and production reports.
- The state-of-the-art application interface makes it easy to format your scripts in a variety of ways
- The autocomplete typing feature speeds up the writing process
- The real-time collaboration feature makes it easy to work with others on projects, regardless of location
- Cloud storage ensures that you have access to your projects from any location
- Provides complete image support.
- It support seamless Integration to improve efficiency
- It allows extensive formatting capabilities
- Support breakdowns, reports, and tagging
- It has features that allows multiple file formats
- Excellent organization and navigation
- It doesn’t always import all the information from the PDF, which can cause formatting problems
- Free Trial Available
- $79.95 one time payment
Frequently Asked Questions on Best Screenwriting Software
First, open the software and select the project you want to work on. Next, begin writing your script by typing in your text. You can format your text by selecting from a variety of options under the “Format” tab. When you’re finished, save your work by clicking on the “File” tab and selecting “Save.” To export your file for submission or further editing, click on the “File” tab and select “Export.
When choosing a screenwriting tool, you should consider the features that are important to you. For example, do you need a program that offers extensive formatting options? Or do you need help with outlining your story or tracking your character development? Make sure the program you choose has the features you need to create a successful screenplay. You should also check out for the price of the program and the compatibility with your PC.
Final Draft is the prominent screenwriting software among professional screenwriters. And it is chosen to be the best industry standard screenwriting software.
Screenwriting software can be a great help to aspiring screenwriters and veterans alike. Some programs also come with extensive libraries of sounds and visual effects to help you create an authentic movie-making experience.
As there are different screenwriting software available on the market, we believe that the best overall program is Final Draft screenwriter, and if you want something free, you can check out Trelby. If you’re looking for a full-scale solution that will take you from idea to finished product, other software like Fade In, WriterDuet and Arc Studio Pro are the software for you.