,The 7 Best Screenwriting Software Programs of 2021

Best Screenwriting Software Programs

Bring your tales to the big screen

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Screenwriting software program lets aspiring screenwriters translate their thoughts into entire scripts ready for agent assessment or production. The quality structures use templates, computerized text equipment, and clean exporting to quickly create formatted screenplays with out a number of tinkering. Some additionally provide actual-time collaboration, making it easier for a couple of writers to paintings on the identical undertaking at once.

We reviewed over a dozen software options and chose the satisfactory primarily based on fee, ease-of-use, organisation and formatting equipment, easy uploading and exporting, and greater. Here are our pinnacle seven selections. 

The 7 Best Screenwriting Software Programs of 2021

Best Screenwriting Software Programs
Best Screenwriting Software Programs

Best Overall : Final Draft

Final Draft

Final Draft turned into advanced in 1990 via screenwriter Marc Madnick and software engineer Ben Cahan. In 2016, it turned into bought by using production corporation Cast & Crew and has come to be the leisure enterprise standard for screenwriting. We selected Final Draft because the quality basic because it’s easy to use and consists of heaps of templates, automobile-formatting, and effective organizational equipment to assist screenwriters create well-crafted screenplays.

Final Draft is constructed around efficiency and employs a SmartType function that provides the names of characters and locations to a drop-down menu for smooth get entry to. It also gives over 300 templates for screenplays, teleplays, degree plays, and more; text-to-speech; trade communicate to create extraordinary variations of person strains; and a beat board and tale map to help outline and arrange thoughts for movie projects. Finally, Final Draft capabilities real-time collaboration, time-saving keyboard shortcuts, and automated file backups.    

Final Draft is available for Windows and Mac structures for a one-time rate of $249.99 and comes with a 60-day unfastened trial. Mobile variations for iPad and iPhone are also to be had for $nine.99.

Runner-Up, Best Overall : Movie Magic Screenwriter

Movie Magic Screenwriter

Movie Magic Screenwriter became created in 1983 by USC movie college friends Stephen Greenfield and Chris Huntley. Alongside Final Draft, Movie Magic is broadly used by expert screenwriters and officially encouraged via the Writers Guild of America, East. We selected it as our runner-up as it gives almost same functions to Final Draft, however is a little less pervasive across the enterprise and has a relatively much less-intuitive interface.

All the functions of Final Draft also can be observed in Movie Magic Screenwriter, with the exception of a beat board and story map. The software replaces these with a NaviDoc interface which could show an outline, scenes, notes, and bookmarks alongside the script as it’s being written.

While Movie Magic Screenwriter gives only one hundred+ templates as opposed to Final Draft’s more than 300, it is able to import and reformat Microsoft Word, PDF, or Rich Text files. Some customers also take into account the software program’s interface a bit outdated compared to Final Draft and are disappointed at the lack of an iPad and iPhone app.

Movie Magic Screenwriter is available for both Windows and Mac systems for a one-time price of $249.ninety five and springs with a 14-day unfastened trial.

Best for Beginners (Mac) : Highland


Highland turned into developed as an app for Macs in 2012 by using John August (author of Big Fish and Aladdin) to assist screenwriters cognizance on the real process of writing. We chose it as the high-quality for beginners for Mac customers as it gives the simple capabilities a screenwriter wishes in a consumer-friendly interface.

At its heart, Highland is an intuitive screenplay writing device that shall we users truly open up the software and start writing. When customers kind a character’s name in all caps, the subsequent line is routinely entered as speak. Highland also acknowledges scene headers like INT and EXT and transitions like CUT TO and automatically suggests character and region names.

Highland also keeps the consumer experience simple by means of the use of undeniable textual content formatting. It can read .markdown, .txt, and .fountain documents, a textual content-based file like minded with most screenwriting software, and Highland documents can also be opened and edited in any simple text editor like Google Docs and Notepad.

While it’s fantastically simple, Highland does offer some fun and useful more features. These encompass reordering scenes and notes by means of dragging and dropping them, alternate scene and phase notes, monitoring the gender breakdown of speaking elements in a script, and customizable automated backups.            

Highland is to be had as a free Mac desktop down load. Any PDFs created inside the free model are watermarked. A “seasoned” version is likewise to be had as a $forty nine.99 improve and consists of 14 templates, 10 integrated editor issues, precedence e mail aid, a revision mode, and get admission to to the Highland Slack channel. 

Best for Beginners (Windows) : Trelby


Originally advanced and sold as Blyte in 2003 with the aid of software engineer Osku Salerma, Trelby became renamed and released as an open-supply screenplay writing software in 2011. We selected it because the pleasant for beginners for Windows users because of its simplicity, person-friendly and customizable interface, computerized formatting, and free pricing.    

At first look, Trelby seems like a naked-bones screenplay creator. Users get a simple geared up-to-kind interface with a line of buttons alongside the left side of the screen that can be customized to any author’s choice. Once a user begins typing, but, Trelby’s splendor and simplicity are discovered. A screenplay editor automatically codecs all typed textual content into the right script layout and offers car-whole and spell-check features. Users can also choose from more than one perspectives, along with draft and fullscreen.

While Trelby gives little within the way of bells and whistles, there are a few greater features writers will like. These encompass an global man or woman call generator, reviews (scene, area, man or woman, speak, and so forth.), versions monitoring, and screenplay importing options from Final Draft, Celtx, Fountain, Adobe Story, and Fade In. Finally, Trelby files can be exported in PDF, HTML, RTF, Final Draft, and Fountain codecs.

Trelby is absolutely unfastened and gives downloads for both Windows and Linux structures.

Best Price : Fade In

Fade In

Fade In is a screenwriting software program developed with the aid of film director and screenwriter Kent Tessman in 2011 as a more lower priced alternative to the “big two” on the market. We selected it because the satisfactory price considering that it is a powerful platform used by expert screenwriters and costs one-third less than Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter.   

Fade In is a rising superstar in screenwriting software boasting some big users like Rian Johnson (The Last Jedi, Knives Out) and Kelly Marcel (Venom). It gives among the identical features as Final Draft and Movie Magic, such as automated script formatting, auto-whole typing, actual-time collaboration, and cloud garage, all in an clean-to-use interface.

Fade In gives some other necessities like a script breakdown tool, index cards, templates, revision tracking, and reports. Users get a few greater bonuses, along with a Dialogue Tuner that allows preserve a constant person voice, an overused word checker, and an motion-to-dialogue calculator to help writers display in place of inform their memories.

Fade In also can import numerous popular screenwriting software codecs, such as Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter, Scrivener, Adobe Story, and Celtx documents, in addition to Rich Text Format and Open Screenplay Format XML. It can export at once to PDF and Open Screenplay Format XML for optimum compatibility.

Fade In is to be had for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems for a one-time rate of $79.95 which includes version improvements. A unfastened version is also available with watermarked PDFs and all the features of the paid software. iPhone/iPad and Android apps are to be had for $4.99.

Best for Collaboration : WriterDuet


WriterDuet was evolved in 2013 through screenwriter Guy Goldstein as screenwriting software that offers seamless real-time collaboration. Since then, it has grown right into a complete-featured writing platform with robust outlining and production capabilities. We selected it as the exceptional for collaboration because it allows more than one users to work on a script at the identical time with no hazard of overwrites.

WriterDuet is a cloud-primarily based software that makes it smooth to put in writing from anywhere on any tool with automobile-sync, cellular apps, and an online-offline computing device app. The software become built from the floor as much as completely help actual-time collaboration. Users can see each other’s adjustments without delay, even though they’re operating on the equal line at the equal time. It additionally offers intuitive commenting functions and in-app textual content and video chat to streamline remarks and co-writing.

WriterDuet includes many general screenwriting software capabilities, such as templates, outlining gear, reporting exchange speak storage, cloud backup (Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud), and revision tracking. Finally, WriterDuet can import and export to maximum common formats, inclusive of Final Draft, Fountain, and PDF.

WriterDuet gives a unfastened version as well as 4 paid subscription plans:

Free Plan 

  • $0
  • Write on-line from any web browser
  • Three-undertaking limit
  • Industry-preferred formatting
  • Mobile app
  • Revision tracking
  • Outliner & Scratchpad

Plus Plan  

  • $7.ninety nine in line with month
  • All Free Plan capabilities
  • Unlimited projects
  • Real-time collaboration (Free or Paid customers can be part of tasks)

Pro Plan  

  • $11.ninety nine according to month
  • All Plus Plan features
  • Desktop app with unfastened updates
  • Dropbox & Google backups
  • Chat and notifications
  • Auto-save to tough drive
  • Script records & reports
  • Gender analysis tools
  • Production equipment (locked pages, scene numbers, miss scene, and so forth.)
  • Reports & analytics
  • Script shortening and formatting checker tools
  • More record templates and custom templates

Premium Plan  

  • $15.ninety nine in keeping with month
  • All Pro Plan functions
  • 10GB storage
  • Free MultiColumn, ReadThrough, and AutoTranslate plugins

Best for Production : Celtx


An abbreviation for Crew, Equipment, Location, Talent, and XML, Celtx is a cloud-primarily based screenwriting platform centered on film pre-production and manufacturing. We chose it as the fine for manufacturing because it organizes all the project factors of a film in a single centralized, collaborative device.

At its heart, Celtx is screenwriting software program with many enterprise-preferred features, such as uploading from PDF, Final Draft, and Microsoft Word files; templates; revision monitoring; and multi-consumer collaboration. Celtx is quality used, but, as a production device that could take a movie from script to shoot.

This all-in-one solution for writing, making plans, and participating on film, TV, play, or even video game initiatives makes it smooth to create tale and script forums, budgets, schedules, name sheets, and greater. Users can destroy down scripts to create lists of props, locations, and actors; block pictures to mark digicam, lighting and solid positions; and create reports to hold tune of charges.        

Celtx offers a scriptwriting subscription plan with each month-to-month and annual pricing as well as separate plans for video and recreation manufacturing:  

Scriptwriting Plan

  • $15 consistent with month
  • Up to 10 projects
  • Script editor
  • Screenplay, Stageplay, and Multi-Column AV templates
  • Index cards
  • Storyboard
  • Offline mode
  • Script insights
  • Revision tracking
  • Mobile apps


What Is Screenwriting Software?

Screenwriting software makes it smooth for writers to place their ideas immediately onto the page and create a complete, properly formatted script without tinkering with layouts so they can get to production faster. 

The great systems include pre-made templates, automated formatting, car textual content of completion, revision histories, and uploading and exporting to standard codecs so writers can awareness on their ideas instead of their software program. Many additionally provide collaboration tools to allow multiple writers proportion and paintings at the identical script concurrently. 

How Does Screenwriting Software Work?

Screenwriting software program helps writers create tight, enterprise-formatted scripts that can be without difficulty study and utilized by administrators and producers. Many also characteristic storyboards and notes to assist writers prepare their ideas, and a few have additional tools to research character talk for a steady tone or to decide the balance of action and talk.        

Because screenplays are almost constantly submitted as PDFs, screenwriting software program continually gives the option to export to (and preferably from) a PDF. Others allow famous screenplay formats to be imported and exported across platforms for easy sharing and modifying.

How Much Does Screenwriting Software Cost?

Screenwriting software can value up to $250 (one-time) for the most extensively used structures in the industry. While most are to be had for a one-time purchase, some provide monthly subscription-based totally pricing among $12 and $20 according to month.

While subscription-based plans can also seem extra luxurious, most offer loose software program upgrades, which can be high priced and could need to be purchased one at a time if the user chooses one-time purchase software program.

Is Screenwriting Software Worth the Cost?

Anyone extreme approximately creating a career of screenwriting or producing an indie or feature film should spend money on screenwriting software program. A suitable platform eliminates plenty of the legwork of formatting, evaluation, and trade-monitoring to help writers get right down to the enterprise of writing.

More informal writers (like a person doing school productions, low-price range performs, or writing for a hobby) can get by using with one of the unfastened options we reviewed, which might be appropriate at coping with basic formatting and provide some reporting tools to help maintain scripts tight and balanced.  

How We Chose the Best Screenwriting Software

Two screenwriting software options, Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter, dominate the market by way of miles, so it become important that we protected every thoroughly. Additionally, we checked out extra than 10 others, focusing often on price, how easy they have been to use, templates and automatic formatting options, collaboration equipment, and import and export features.

Since the last goal of any screenwriter is to produce a PDF for submission and sharing, we have been cautious to select software program that targeted on slightly one of a kind organization and analysis to meet the numerous needs of various writers and deliver the identical stop result.