If you want to learn how to write a screenplay, at some point you’ll need script writing software.
When it comes to script writing software/screenwriting software, I have three apps to recommend.
Here’s a quick guide to the best screenwriting software so you can choose what’s right for you.
My Philosophy on Screenwriting Software
In a nutshell: time is a writer’s most valuable resource.
Therefore, script writing software should save you time: it should be easy to learn and use, bug-free, and reliably updated.
NOTE: what follows is my opinion, and I am not compensated for these recommendations.
That said, here are my choices for the best screenwriting software.
Best Free Script Writing Software: Celtx
Celtx is free and over 3,000,000 people are using it (according to their website).
Celtx is fully-featured, cloud-based screenwriting software that can also be used for storyboarding and production. Celtx offers a few subscription choices, one of which is the option for a free subscription.
Celtx is not only my top choice for the best free screenwriting software, it’s also my choice when a filmmaking team needs to collaborate on the script as well as budgets, schedules, shot lists, and more. Celtx is only $9.99 per month for the additional storyboarding and production features. Celtx integrates with iOS apps such as Index Cards, Script, Shots, Scout, and Sides.
Best Inexpensive Script Writing Software: Highland
Highland is a minimalist, distraction-free software that utilizes plain text. This means that your script is readable in any text editor and can move easily on and off of any device.
Highland also exports to and imports from FDX and PDF, provides notes inline with text, and has markers and page-jumpers to navigate within a long document. Highland’s lead developer is top screenwriter John August (Big Fish, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory). Highland is $29.99.
Best Full-Featured Screenwriting Software: Fade In
Fade In renders text crisply, supports unicode (text in other languages) and dual dialogue, and allows you to find/replace and undo just about anything.
Fade In has fully functional syncing iOS and Android versions, and is updated for free by a capable developer who also writes and directs films. Fade In is also the choice of top screenwriter Craig Mazin (Hangover 2, Identity Thief). I should note here that John August’s podcast Scriptnotes (which Mazin co-hosts) has gone into great depth on software. Fade In costs $79.95 and offers a free trial.
Why Not Final Draft?
Final Draft is the industry standard and because of that, you should know what it is. However, it is not my top choice because it can be expensive to purchase and update, can be buggy, and I’ve had too many writers complain about the program crashing (though I haven’t experienced this myself).
Other Popular Options
There are lots of other screenwriting software programs such as:
Diversity in the world of script writing software is a great thing and I’m sure there will continue to be innovations, advancements, and more script writing software options.
What is Your Favorite Software?
My awesome readers are spending a lot more time working with script writing software and are more tech savvy than I am. I’d love to know your opinion. What screenwriting software do you like? What do you use? What doesn’t work for you?
Let me know in the comments.