Free Screenplay Formatting Software
Free screenplay formatting software makes writing easy.
The hardest part of screenwriting is what you don’t see. However, it’s whats on the page that we all wonder about. And certainly, if you expect somebody else to read your pages, you want to make sure they’re formatted properly. That’s where screenplay formatting software comes in.
Once upon a time we had to pay for formatting software, but now, free versions are available and work just as well as the ‘paid for’ versions.
The two free screenplay formatting software programs to check out are Celtx.com and WriterDuet.com.
Both have comparable attributes, however, one does have a more user-friendly application and I’ll explain why. It may be personal opinion, but having used the BIG programs, my opinion is based in real-life usage and need.
To begin, lets discuss pronunciation; 1) if you really need to debate, correct or argue with someone about it, you have other issues, 2) in the United States, I tend to follow general American-English pronunciation guidelines (not Irish/Scottish/Italian/British/etc…) 3) As long as the software serves a necessary function – who cares what you call it!
Okay, one of the most important parts of screenwriting is getting your finished script to your producer. The producers I’ve worked with always ask for a Final Draft file. I imagine that it will stay this way until Final Draft is dethroned, and I don’t see that happening any time soon. So, the simple fact that you can export your finished script into a final draft format using WriterDuet is an automatic win.
I’ve used WriterDuet with a producer, who fancied herself a writer too. We were able to sit at opposite sides of the table, or opposite sides of the country and collaborate. This special feature alone gives WriterDuet an advantage over Celtx, and pretty much every other screenwriting program, free or not!
WriterDuet has a very easy, intuitive interface. The scene cards on the left side make rearranging scenes easy, and even better makes viewing your future scenes easier. Screenwriting is a visual storytelling medium, except that it isn’t. Writing is a cerebral exercise. We use words to describe images. Short of using my visual screenplay structure cards, being able to ‘view’ your future scenes is very helpful. As you can see along the top of the page, everything you need is clearly displayed. This is the free version. The program does a lot more with the paid/upgraded version, and honestly, it’s a great price. Final Draft is expensive, but not more costly than WriterDuet.
Celtx on the other hand, may not be as easy to use, but it is prettier. And Celtx offers great organization. One option, if you need great organization is to use Celtx to get your initial working drafts done. Once you’re happy with your working draft, and you’re ready to share it, then export a file for use in WriterDuet. Now you can collaborate and export your Final Draft file. Viola!
Try them both to decide which one you prefer. They’re free after all.