Screenwriting software is a rapidly growing market that is expected to reach $ 235.8 million by 2026. As a screenwriter or screenwriter, you need a specialized tool to help you write spectacular scripts effectively.
If you are a screenwriter, having access to the right screenwriting software should be your top priority. Because?
Because now it has become a standard in the industry. When all the other screenwriters are using tools and software to write better screenplays, you need to use the best screenwriting software to be on top.
This article covers everything you need to know about screenwriting software, what features to look for when choosing one, and a list of the best screenwriting software to help you choose the right one.
What is scriptwriting software?
Screenwriting software is a writing tool (like word processors) specially designed for writing scripts and screenplays. Normal word processors (eg Microsoft Word) cannot handle the special needs of screenwriters.
For example, screenwriters deal with multiple characters and need quick shortcuts for entering character names. Likewise, screenwriters need to take notes, collaborate with other screenwriters, and need access to describe quickly.
Microsoft Word has macros that make it easier for screenwriters to use these functions, but it’s a tedious process. Dedicated script writing software gives you all the features and benefits you need to produce amazing scripts quickly but comfortably.
Most importantly, the screenwriting software comes with templates which is a huge plus. Templates make writing easier. Select a template based on your script type, make your changes and you’re good to go. Having the best scripting software will help you stay organized, save time, type quickly, and focus on the essentials rather than the technical aspects of the tool.
Features and Benefits of Screenwriting Software
Screenwriting software offers you various features and benefits that make it essential for writing screenplays and scripts. Here’s a rundown of the main benefits you should expect from the best screenwriting tool:
- Easy to use interface that requires little or no training
- Ready-to-use templates
- Help with diagrams and mind maps
- Story cards
- Drag and drop generator
- Real-time collaboration with other authors and stakeholders
- Write without distractions
- Onscreen sidebar for quick access to characters and scenes
- Note taking tool
- Automatic correction, spell checking and grammar recommendation.
- Quick import and export of drafts
- Synchronization and integration with third-party applications (for example, cloud services)
- Support for multiple devices
Here are the top three characteristics to consider before choosing screenwriting software:
Scenario templates help you draw your story quickly. Templates provide you with the basic elements of a scenario that you can modify to suit your needs. For example, you will find the title, action, character names, dialogue, transition, outline, and other elements of the model. It saves you a lot of time and makes your job easier.
2.Ease of use
If it takes training and you have to spend a lot of time learning how to use a storyboard tool, then it’s not worth it. The interface and design should be simple and easy to use. This is one of the basic characteristics that you should look for in a screenwriting program.
The user interface should be self-explanatory with clearly visible icons and buttons. A graphical interface is ideal with a drag and drop tool.
Real-time collaboration is a must-have feature. You need to collaborate with other writers, editors, and various other stakeholders during the writing process. The collaboration feature helps you to collaborate with your colleagues within the storyboard software, you don’t need to use any other tools. This helps keep everything streamlined and organized within a single platform.
You should also take notes (private and shared) related to the characters, story, outline, and writing projects. The easier it is to take notes while writing, the better.
Best Screenwriting Software 2022
Here is an overview and review of the best screenwriting software available in the market to choose from in 2022.
It is both free scripting software and paid software. Let’s dive into it.
1. Final Draft
Used by 95% of Film and Television Productions.
Final Draft is multi-award winning screenwriting software, originally released in 1990. In 2013, it received a Primetime Emmy Engineering Award and is famous for being used by Netflix, NBCUniversal, Paramount, ABC, Pixar, and more.
With its wide range of features, Final Draft 11 is best suited for those looking to use the same standard scripting software used by major TV shows and movies.
- Advanced visualization and brainstorming tools to collaborate with writing teams.
- Automatically layout and format scripts according to industry standards.
- It lets you organize and customize “beats” including character arcs, plot points, location ideas, research, and more.
- Story Maps connects your visualizations and rhythm charts to your script.
- You can visually plan key milestones and track points.
- The alternate dialog allows you to store as many row versions as you want.
- Keyboard shortcuts such as Tab and Enter allow you to quickly switch between dialog and action.
- Provides automatic file backups so you never lose your data.
- Review mode provides a history of all changes when a script goes into production.
- Its fonts support more than 97 languages.
- Support for text-to-speech conversion.
- Over 100 different models to choose from.
- Available and compatible with Windows, OSX and iOS.
Final Draft is currently on sale for $ 199.99 as a digital download and allows two activations per purchase. They also offer a 30 day free trial to try it out. If you are an educator, you can purchase an educational license for only $ 99.99.
All in all, it’s a good price to learn the best screenwriting software on the market.
Celtx is cloud-based cross-platform multimedia preproduction and scripting software. With 6 million users worldwide, this is one of the best storyboard apps out there.
From script to filming, this software provides you with tools to help you create better content quickly. The fact that it is cloud-based software allows you to easily access your accounts from anywhere. In addition, you can take advantage of Celtx’s powerful reports to gain useful production information.
Celtx is the best for screenwriters. Facilitates the transformation of simple, scattered ideas into complete plans. It is also very useful for playwrights and novelists.
- It has a simple, easy to learn and intuitive user interface
- You can work online or offline with mobile apps for iPhone, iPad and Android
- A single master file (for better organization, you can work from a single master file)
- Use a rich text editor module to write novels
- It can support the creation of production schedules and slatted tables.
- It allows directors and screenwriters to mark items in each script.
- Fully cloud-based solutions
- Designed for real-time collaboration
- All-in-one pre-production management
- Tailored teamwork flow
- No longer available for free
- Focus more on the entire pre-production process (in-depth scripting features discontinued)
- The copy and paste option needs to be improved
- Scanned PDF scripts are not exported without OCR software
Celtx comes with three pricing plans.
- The “scriptwriting” package costs $ 20 per month, payable annually.
- The “video production” plan costs $ 30 per month, payable annually.
- The “game production” package is $ 30 per month, billed annually.
By paying monthly, you can save up to 33%. You can also get educational discounts by contacting customer service for a quote.
Squibler is the number one and top rated screenwriting software with a powerful yet easy to use text editor for screenwriters. It comes with over 30 scenario templates to help you get started smoothly. The drag-and-drop user interface makes it easy to add titles, rhythm charts, and other elements. Thanks to its collaboration function, several authors can work simultaneously on a single story. This saves you from having to send a story to multiple colleagues and then wait for them to add your section.
- Easy to use scripting software
- Drag and drop interface
- Distraction Free Mode
- More than 30 models to choose from
- Powerful built-in collaboration functionality
- It comes with several useful tools for writers, such as the raster generator.
- Works on Web, PC, Ipad, iPhone and Android
- Integrates seamlessly with Google Drive and Dropbox
- 30 day free trial
Squibler screenwriting software is a versatile platform that is suitable for all types of fiction and non-fiction screenwriters, writers, and writers. It’s perfect for screenwriters who need easy-to-use, reliable software to produce quality content with peace of mind.
Key points to remember
Squibler is a feature-rich and versatile screenwriting software that is a perfect choice for any writer. It has all the features you need in the best screenwriting tool. It comes with templates, is easy to use, and has amazing collaboration and note-taking features.
Most of all, you can try it for free.
Squibler offers the following packages:
- Free Trial – Take advantage of the 14-day trial period which offers basic features (writing, template customization, sharing options, etc.) for free.
- Squibler Pro (Monthly Plan): Use its advanced features by upgrading to Squibler Pro for $ 9.99 per month (billed monthly).
4. Fade In
Fade In Screenwriting software specially designed for motion picture film scripts and perfect for writers associated with the film, television and games industries. It comes with many useful features that make it suitable for screenwriters of all genres. It is multi-device software that works on Mac, Windows, mobile devices, and Linux.
- Simple user interface
- Supports multiple languages
- Real-time collaboration
- Auto-complete tool
- Typing without distractions
- Supports multiple file formats including images and PDFs
- Works on Mac, Windows, Linux and mobile devices
- Support for cloud services
- Comes with a free demo
Fade In is suitable for screenwriters who work with the film, television or gaming industry. Tools and functions support film sets.
Key points to remember
Fade In screenwriting software is the best choice for people working in the film industry. Real-time collaboration and its rewrite and review tools allow multiple people to work on the same story simultaneously.
You can get your free demo and check it out, but you won’t be able to download or use the content developed with the demo version.
Fade in Price
Fade In offers the following plans:
- Free Demo Version: Download the fully functional demo version of Fade In (3.0.636) for free and experience all the features it has to offer.
- Full Version: If you like the software, register as a permanent user by purchasing the full version. You can buy the full version for $ 75.
Registered users can download Fade In by using the personalized download link sent by email or by checking for updates to the app.
WriterDuet is excellent scriptwriting software for writing and editing screenplays and other forms of media. It meets a wide range of requirements, and besides scripting, it can also be used for video and game editing.
The USP of the software is that it enables real-time collaboration of writers from remote locations and writing from different devices. Although it is not a free software tool, it does allow three free scripts when registering.
WriterDuet is ideal for professional screenwriters and writers who need real-time collaboration to write their ideas. It is also useful for educational tutorials.
- Allows you to install various plugins for better customization (e.g. offline, traditional and file-based desktop software experience)
- Supports mobile devices and multiple browsers
- Registration is free
- Supports a wide range of formats (offers great customization here too by allowing modifications to the script template)
- Fully integrated with SSL certification (scripts are not shared except through user request and guest codes allowed)
- It allows you to make backup copies in cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud and your system.
- Provide transparent services both online and offline
- Allows you to keep track of all your changes
- Intuitive and easy to use software
- Provides free built-in tutorial upon registration
- Only three free scripts (other scripts require subscription)
- While it is possible to work offline, collaboration is not (you must be online to collaborate in real time)
- Emphasis is placed on “Pro” accounts
With WriterDuet, you get three free scripts. After that, you need to switch to a paid plan. The first plan is “Pro,” which is available for $ 11.99 per month, payable annually.
You get a reduced price of just $ 79 if you purchase an annual subscription. For the second plan, you need to make a one-time payment of $ 199 to purchase the software.
With this plan, you get all updates for free for life.
Are you looking for free screenwriting software? Trelby is one of the best free open source programs for screenwriters. As a developer of open source scripting software, developers update and improve Trelby quite frequently. Based on the contributions of the authors, the software receives regular updates. It is a multiplatform platform that works on Windows and Linux.
- Easy to use interface that looks like any text editor
- The interface is configurable and can be customized as needed
- Various display options
- A comprehensive database of character names
- Supports multiple file formats including PDF
- Import and export files in a wide range of formats.
- Free for life
Trelby script writing software is flexible, customizable, and free, making it a perfect choice for writers on a budget. It is suitable for new screenwriters who are just starting out and don’t want to spend money on screenwriting software.
Key points to remember
Trelby is free, open source software that is exceptionally easy to use. It doesn’t have a learning curve. You can find scripts and code for free on Github. However, it doesn’t give you the features you’ll find with some of the other screenwriting programs on this list.
If you are a newbie screenwriter, you should prefer to use Trelby as it will give you a good idea of your needs and help you find better paying screenwriting software in the future.
Trelby is a feature-rich storyboard tool that you can download for free. You can download the current version (2.2) on your Windows and Linux systems.
StudioBinder is a comprehensive cloud-based production management software that offers professional scripting as one of its many on-demand solutions (such as script breaks, filming schedules, script sides, etc.).
It allows production companies and other creatives to stay organized, connected and informed throughout the process, from pre-production to post-production, on one platform.
- Simple drop-down interface
- Clean design
- Import scripts (fdx, pdf, doc, etc.)
- Auto-formatting and industry-standard predictive features
- Real-time online collaboration with instant updates, comments and reviews
- Easy to create, duplicate and browse script versions
- Sync and resynchronize to simplify pre-production tasks
- Better for
- The best part about StudioBinder is its holistic approach to photo and video production, while keeping it simple. Not all software is complex, and anyone from filmmakers and photographers to independent creatives and large production companies can benefit from its thoughtful features.
Key points to remember
You will never need training to understand how to use StudioBinder. It lets you focus on creating without distractions by taking the hassle out of planning and organizing.
Importantly, their free plan lets you work on a project for free with a variety of features.
StudioBinder offers the following plans for entire businesses:
- Free plan (forever): access to 1 project per company account with features such as contact management, adding tasks and call sheets.
- Indie (monthly plan): At $ 29 per month, you can access 50 GB of file storage for 10 projects and advanced features like call sheets, filming schedules, shot lists, and storyboards .
- Professional (monthly plan): 75 GB of file storage for 25 projects, including all the features mentioned above, script issues and production schedule for $ 49.00.
- Studio (monthly plan): Unlimited projects and 100 GB file storage, for $ 99.00, including advanced features like inviting collaborators and personalized branding.
You can also switch between plans depending on your business needs.
The above list is by no means exhaustive. There are several other best screenwriting programs like Scrivener, Movie Magic Screenwriter, Highland, Fountain, KIT Scenarist, and others.
It is not impossible to write scripts and scripts without tools, but it will be a daunting task if you try to do it without the help of proper screenwriting software. This is how the industry works.
Selecting the right screenwriting software will be easier if you know your project requirements and personal interests.
My final recommendation is to use the tool that 95% of film and television studios use and opt for Final Draft.
What is the best screenwriting software to use?
The best screenwriting software to use is the one that suits your needs and helps you improve productivity. Keep in mind screenwriting software can be a bit expensive, but the investment will pay off as it’ll save you time and effort writing scripts or screenplays for movies, television shows, video games, and more. With that said, some of the best screenwriting software includes Squibler, Final Draft, and WriterDuet.
What software do script writers use?
The software that script writers use includes programs like Final Draft and Squibler and the many more listed above.
Can you write a script on Microsoft Word?
You can write a script on Microsoft Word, but it’s not recommended as screenwriting software like Squibler is more suitable for writing scripts.
Do I need screenwriting software to write a screenplay?
No. You can just use word processing if you want to write a screenplay without any type of special program needed – though make sure to format properly so everything looks professional and neat.