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What is the best screenwriting software?

Internet Filmmakers' FAQ

area of screenwriting software this is even more relevant, as most screenwriting applications are simply glorified text editors, designed to save you time by providing short-cuts for text formatting.

In the area of commercial applications, the two market-leading products are Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter. Both applications are available on the Windows and Mac platforms, and retail for around USD $200 - $250. A downloadable, time-limited demo of Final Draft is available from the Final Draft web site. Unfortunately there isn't a demo of Movie Magic Screenwriter, although it is the official screenwriting software of the Writers' Guild of America and Project Greenlight.

If $200+ is a bit beyond your budget, you may also wish to consider one of the many shareware screenplay formatting tools which are floating around. One of the best is Screenpro, which is a screenplay formatting template for Microsoft Word (compatible with all versions from Word 97 on). Screenpro provides a range of macro functions to take the drudgery out of formatting screenplays, and for USD $10 registration it isn't going to break the bank. Another good shareware option is ScreenForge, which has been developed to conform to the Hollywood screenplay formatting guidelines laid down in "The Complete Guide To Standard Script Formats Part I: The Screenplay," by Hillis R. Cole, Jr. and Judith H. Haag.

You should also check out the Toolshed for more screenwriting shareware and freeware options.

Answer by Benjamin Craig  |  Last updated 11-Apr-2005


Older Comments

Joe  |  25-Jun-2010
Logline is awesome. Still in Beta though and it's tough to get an invite. A fresh take on the screenwriting process: focus on structure.
Van  |  23-Jun-2010 Free and amazing.
Terry  |  15-Jul-2009
Hands down, I'd recommend Movie Outline. Great or story and character development as well as script formatting.
Antonio Reynold  |  22-Oct-2008
My favorite is Zhura - It's like Google Docs but for screenplays. Free, easy to use, has a ton of formats (screenplay, stage play, sitcom, etc.), autocomplete, and you can create PDFs directly on their site. It's the bomb - even better than Final Draft or Movie Magic imho.
Nick Taylor  |  01-Apr-2007
Another good program is Celtx, which is a free pre-production, screenwriting program. It's located at
Shawn Ebeyer  |  11-Apr-2005
Alot of new, experienced and professional screenwriters use some sort of screenwriting software. One of the best is Movie Magic Screenwriter. It has many features which help out in writing a screenplay. I definatly recommend it. Other good ones are Final Draft and Sophocles. All of these products are available free for download on varoius sites, however these are only trial versions. The full versions of all of these software packages are available to purchase as well. Benifits of having the full versions are numerous.