The Best Screenwriting Software Tools For Writers in 2021




After decades of writing on paper, the screenwriter is now back to pen and paper. You can use a pen and paper to write novels, stories, screenplays, and so much more. If you want to get the most out of your writing life, you can’t go wrong with a pen and paper.

Screenwriting software has come a long way since the days of pom-pom pens and floppy disks. The most important advancements in the field over the last few decades have been the creation of new tools that enable writers to get their ideas out of their heads and onto paper. The first step in a screenwriter’s process is finding their voice, and today’s screenwriting software has become increasingly adept at helping writers achieve this.

The use of screenwriting software is on the rise, and it’s one of the things that you need to get into as a writer. Whether it’s for creating a story from scratch or outlining a movie, a lot of people who are familiar with screenwriting software will go through a lot of options to get the best one.

Writers have a highly particular process that requires the use of specialized tools, resources, and even situations in order to write successfully. So, if you’re looking for the finest screenplay software, have a look at our selection of the best screenwriting software choices below.

In 2021, the best screenwriting software will be

  1. Final Version
  2. Fade In
  3. Celtx
  4. Screenwriter for Film Magic
  5. WriterDuet
  6. 2nd Highland
  7. Trelby
  8. Scrivener
  9. StudioBinder
  10. Causality

Although you may write with any word processor, screenwriting and script writing are a distinct format that requires the finest script writing software to succeed in.

Our top choices for the finest screenwriting software are included here, along with an overview, pros and drawbacks, and any other information you may need.

1. Completed Draft

Final Draft was the first and finest screenplay program on the market, and it continues to be the best to this day. It’s very simple to use and comes with a plethora of helpful templates. It aids screenwriters in the organization of their work and features auto-formatting to keep your characters and scenes in order.

It also has a Beat Board function where you can use images, notes, and drawings to fill out a narrative. It’s modeled around the old-school corkboard method of screenwriting.

Final Draft is a must-have if you write scripts for a livelihood. However, at $200-$250 per license, it is not cheap. However, it comes with a slew of features that you’ll fall in love with right away.

✅ PROS:

  • Tools that are very effective.
  • It’s simple to use.
  • Screenwriters will love it.
  • Hundreds of templates to choose from.
  • Auto-formatting.
  • Tools for getting things done.
  • Resources for collaboration are provided.

⛔️  CONS:

  • At any one moment, you can only work with one individual.
  • There isn’t much in the way of revision history.
  • One of the priciest screenwriting applications available.
  • There aren’t many useful tutorials available.

2. Begin to fade in

Fade In, a screenplay program, is a great alternative to Final Draft. Kent Tessman, a screenwriter and filmmaker, created it in 2011 and it is extensively utilized in the film business.

fade-in screenshot

Fade In is quite cheap at $79.95, and it comes with free upgrades for the rest of your life. Automatic script formatting, a clean, easy-to-use interface, and real-time collaboration are just a few of the amazing capabilities hidden under the hood.

You may simply include pictures into the script as well. Many authors will like the distraction-free writing environment. Another useful feature is that you are not restricted by export file types, and everything is immediately saved to the cloud, ensuring that you never lose your masterpiece.

✅ PROS:

  • Excellent user interface.
  • Affordably priced.
  • Autocomplete and script formatting are also available.
  • Collaboration in real time.
  • Free upgrades and cloud storage are available.
  • There is a one-time charge.
  • Reports, index cards, and templates

⛔️  CONS:

  • The script has a watermark in the free version.

3. Celtx

Celtx (which stands for Crew, Equipment, Location, Talent, and XML) is yet another strong contender in our screenwriting software portfolio. The business claims a user base of 6 million people!

celtx screenshot

Call sheets, budgets, timelines, storyboards, and screenplay breakdown are all included in Celtx, making it ideal for a production setting. One of the greatest advantages is how simple it is to collaborate with other users and discuss all aspects of a possible narrative or problems with props, actors, or venues.

Celtx is a membership service that costs $20 per month for up to ten projects. It’s compatible with almost every platform and includes mobile applications. This software excels at keeping everyone on the same page and organizing information.

✅ PROS:

  • Collaboration between many users.
  • Tracking of revisions.
  • Offline mode is when you are not connected to the internet.
  • Templates.
  • For the film crew, there are shot lists.
  • Tagging.
  • Budgets, timelines, and a project catalog are all on the table.
  • Affordable.
  • It’s cloud-based, so it’s simple to share and back up.
  • The UI is simple to use.

⛔️  CONS:

  • To utilize it, you must subscribe to a monthly subscription.
  • There isn’t a free version.
  • Pre-production and shooting take precedence over scripting.

4. Screenwriter for Film Magic

Movie Magic Screenwriting comes in second place on our list of best screenwriter software (MMS). It doesn’t have all of the functionality of Final Draft, but it gets close. It’s less expensive, plus it’s great software. Using outlines and the distraction-free UI, MMS makes it simple to write scripts. Scenes, characters, and other objects may be color-coded for future reference.

movie-magic-screenwriter screenshot

The professional templates make it easier to use. However, some users report difficulties with navigating and claim that learning all of the techniques is difficult. Another issue is that it is very expensive, albeit less so than First Draft. So, if you’re searching for a less costly alternative that has many of the same features, this one may be a good fit.

✅ PROS:

  • Distraction-free writing and an outline view
  • Scenes, activities, and characters are all color coded.
  • Tagging.
  • There are many of templates to choose from.
  • Option for text-to-speech.
  • Collaboration software.
  • There is a cheaper academic edition available.
  • Customizable.
  • Formatting is done automatically.

⛔️  CONS:

  • Learning may be tough.
  • Other screenwriting software isn’t as compatible.
  • It’s very pricey, although it’s less so than Final Draft.
  • Users have expressed dissatisfaction with the navigation and its use with big scripts.

WriterDuet is number five on the list.

The capacity to communicate and work as a team is an important aspect of screenwriting software. WriterDuet excels at this, allowing several users to edit the same file without fear of overwriting. The cloud-based system has a free subscription, but it only allows you to work on three projects at a time.

writerduet screenshot

There are three additional membership plans: the Plus Plan ($7.99/month), the full-featured Pro Plan ($11.99/month), and a Premium Plan ($14.99/month) that includes all of the Pro Plan features plus 10GB of storage and add-on plugins for further usefulness. WriterDuet features a user-friendly design and keeps track of all of your changes so you can go back in time if necessary.

✅ PROS:

  • Outlining.
  • There are many price choices available.
  • This is a no-cost plan.
  • Backing up to the cloud.
  • Tracking of revisions.
  • Export and import files in a variety of formats.
  • Add-ons provide additional functionality.
  • Offline mode is when you are not connected to the internet.

⛔️  CONS:

  • To access all of the features, you must join up for the most expensive plan.
  • Collaboration is only possible while you’re online.

Highland 2 (#6)

Highland 2 is a Mac program developed by John August in 2012 with the goal of teaching novice screenwriters how to produce scripts using a basic, user-friendly interface. Highland is a Mac program that automates scriptwriting by formatting and adding headers and dialogue sections as you type.

highland2 screenshot

In addition, the program offers helpful recommendations to aid your learning. Highland 2 is designed to be simple, and it generates a simple text file that can be read by most other screenplay editors. The software costs $49.99 and is available for download from the Mac App Store. There is a restricted free version available. Support through Slack, templates, and themes are all included in the Pro edition.

✅ PROS:

  • The drag-and-drop functionality is used to reorder scenes and notes.
  • Tracking of spoken portions
  • Backups are made automatically.
  • Version that is available for free.
  • Fourteen templates & 10 themes with the Pro version.
  • Encourage the use of a Slack channel.

⛔️  CONS:

  • On produced PDFs, the free version adds a watermark.
  • Only the Pro edition includes revisions, themes, and templates.
  • There is no Windows version.

7. Trelby

Trelby is a completely free open-source screenwriting alternative. Always remember that you get what you pay for. Collaboration is highly encouraged by the community in order to enhance the program. This is a fantastic choice for aspiring screenwriters who don’t want to spend a lot of money on writing software. It’s ideal for college students and anyone who need scriptwriting software but don’t need all of the bells and whistles that come with a premium application.

trelby screenshot

Trelby’s source code is available on Github, and the program is customizable because to its open source nature. You are free to alter it in any manner you see appropriate. You may export to a variety of formats for use with other editors including Final Draft, Celtx, Fountain, Adobe Story, and Fade In, plus there is a reporting function.

✅ PROS:

  • The software is completely free and open source.
  • The interface is really user-friendly.
  • Editor of screenplays (automatic formatting).
  • Views that are unique.
  • To compare scripts side by side, use the Compare mode.
  • The system’s needs are very low.

⛔️  CONS:

  • There is no Mac version; it only works on Windows and Linux.
  • In comparison to other rivals, it is less durable.
  • Editing options are limited (no bold, italics, or underline available).
  • There is no assistance.
  • There will be no cooperation.
  • Only English is allowed.

Scrivener (version 8)

Scrivener is a well-known writing program that is often used to create novels and books. As a result, it’s particularly useful for people who wish to turn a book into a screenplay. Many users like that it has a familiar look and feel (similar to MS Word), making the working environment simple to navigate. Scrivener makes importing text, even whole books, a breeze.

scrivener screenshot

The program is well-organized, allowing you to quickly create characters, storylines, scenes, and conversation. The software handles editing quite well, but it is much less comprehensive and lacks many of the capabilities included in more well-known programs like as Final Draft and Celtx. You pay a one-time price of $45 for Scrivener, but you may have to pay again for future upgrades.

✅ PROS:

  • It is reasonably priced.
  • It’s simple to use.
  • It is compatible with Microsoft Word.
  • Notes and writing may be seen side by side.
  • Drag-and-drop functionality.
  • Windows, Linux, and Mac/iOS are all supported.
  • Support for footnotes.

⛔️  CONS:

  • There are fewer features in this application than in others.
  • Not suitable for use in a production setting.
  • It takes a long time to learn anything new.
  • To use on different platforms, you must buy separate licenses.
  • Updates must be paid for.

StudioBinder (nine)

StudioBinder is trusted by big names in video production like Spotify and BuzzFeed. They call themselves the “world’s leading video, photo, TV & film production management software.”

Users will like the clean, contemporary UI. The software contains call sheets, shot lists, storyboards, and contact lists to keep everyone in the loop, as well as screenplay breakdowns, shooting dates, and more. It functions similarly to Slack and Asana for business, providing a collaborative workflow that keeps everyone on the same page.

studiobinder screenshot

StudioBinder isn’t messing around with its features, which include a variety of export/import formats, customized emails, 24/7 internet access, and SMS assistance. They do have a limited free plan that lasts forever, but you can only work on one project at a time. They also offer three different options, ranging from $29 to $99 a month, depending on the number of projects and file storage you need.

✅ PROS:

  • Drag-and-drop capability is available.
  • Support for images.
  • Calendars and to-do lists are useful tools.
  • Props, clothing, and locales, among other things, are tagged.
  • There are many price options available, each with its own set of features.
  • The plan is completely free.

⛔️  CONS:

  • The free plan only allows you to work on one project.
  • For tiny production businesses, it’s too expensive.
  • The features are many, yet they may be perplexing to newcomers.

Causality is number ten.

Causality, often known as “story sequencing software,” is a gold mine for serious screenwriters who want to cut through the glitz and get to the heart of the matter. It’s well-known for its capacity to plan and write at the same time. The capacity to do two tasks simultaneously in the same area is very useful. You may also create a mind map that depicts the relationships between people, activities, and story lines.

causality screenshot

The software is highly graphic, and it appeals to a particular kind of writer that enjoys visually connecting things as they go. It’s not for the general public, and it’s not ideal for manufacturing. Although they provide a restricted free version, the Pro version costs $5.99 per month or $279 for a permanent lifetime subscription. Additional add-ons do come at a cost.

✅ PROS:

  • Views of both writing and planning are available.
  • It aids in the formation of relationships.
  • All platforms are supported.
  • Support is plentiful and comprehensive.
  • Collaboration is already built-in.
  • Tracking.
  • Multimedia integration is possible.
  • There is a free version available (limited to 10 pages).

⛔️  CONS:

  • For some users, it’s too complicated.
  • Not suitable for use in a production setting.

What is Screenwriting Software and How Does It Work?

Writers may utilize screenwriting software to create scripts, scenes, and screenplays for TV, movies, video games, and even advertising. They usually have capabilities that allow them to compose, edit, format, and print their final works.

The Most Important Features to Look for in a Screenwriting Program

To obtain the greatest results while looking for the finest free screenwriting software or even a premium program, you need to know what features are most desired. The following are characteristics to look for:

  • Outlines.
  • The ease with which it may be used.
  • Affordability.
  • Tagging.
  • Breakdown of the script.
  • Formatting is done automatically.
  • Dialogue tools that aren’t the same as the ones you’re used to.
  • Automatic (cloud-based) backups ensure that you never lose your data.
  • Dictation allows you to talk rather than type.
  • Tools for importing and exporting (must export to PDF).
  • Resources for cooperation are already built-in.
  • Instruments of production (if you need them).
  • To ask questions and get assistance, reach out to the community.
  • Analyzing tools for conversation and tightening recommendations.

Another thing to consider is how effectively the program organizes your work by scene, character, narrative, and other factors.

How Do You Pick the Best Screenwriting Program?

Most individuals will choose the finest screenwriting software for them by weighing price vs functionality. You may need a particular tool if your work needs you to write scripts, create scenes, or compose dialogue. You may not need as much firepower if you’re casually penning your own soon-to-be movie craze.


Frequently Asked Questions about Screenwriting Software

To assist you with making your choice, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions about screenwriting software.

Professional screenwriters utilize what kind of software?

Final Draft is used by about 95% of the industry, including major production firms, filmmakers, and television programs. The program generates scripts and screenplays that are properly formatted and ready to use. Professional screenwriters, on the other hand, often utilize a mix of tools, depending on the task.

What is the most widely used screenwriting program?

Final Draft is the industry standard, but it is expensive for some individuals, thus Movie Magic Screenwriter is a close second. Celtx and Fade In are other good options.

What is the finest screenwriting software?

Choosing the finest screenwriting software is a very personal decision. It is greatly dependent on the kind of project and the style of writing you are doing. Celtx may be the finest choice if you’re part of a production team. Final Draft may be your best option if you want a full-featured software with all the bells and whistles that other industry heavyweights use.

What is the cost of screenwriting software?

Screenwriting software may range in price from $7.99 per month to $250 for Final Draft. It all depends on whether you want to pay a large sum up front or pay as you go with a subscription plan.

Is there any screenwriting software that is available for free?

Highland 2 may be worth a look if you’re looking for the finest free script writing software. Trelby is another alternative, but it’s a little bare-bones and open-source, which may be advantageous and disadvantageous. Highland 2 is a good choice if you want a well-supported software with simple features that educate you as you go. Keep in mind, however, that the free version has limitations. The full-featured edition will set you back $49.99.

Which free screenwriting program is the best?

Trelby is totally free forever, but it isn’t the finest software available, and it comes with no support or instructions on how to use it. If you have a Mac, Highland 2 should be your first choice for a free download. WriterDuet also has a no-cost option.

Is the expense of screenwriting software justified?

Yes, if you make a career writing scripts and screenplays. Keeping track of stories, characters, narrative, scenes, and dialogue using inferior software like a word processor is difficult enough, but utilizing a tool designed for screenwriters makes it simple to remain organized, stay on target, and concentrate on the work at hand.

The best screenwriting software tools for writers in 2021 is still hard to predict. It’s easy to assume that everything will stay the same—but what if the tools we use today are completely outdated in five years? Screenwriting software has evolved a lot over the last decade, and it’s only getting better.. Read more about fade in screenwriting software and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What software do TV writers use?

TV writers use a variety of software, including Final Draft, Scrivener, and Microsoft Word.

What program should I use to write a script?

The best program to use is Microsoft Word.

Is Scrivener good for screenwriting?

Scrivener is a great tool for screenwriting, but it has its limitations. Its not the best tool for everything, and you might need to use other tools as well.

Related Tags

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • trelby
  • screenwriting software
  • free screenwriting software
  • free screenwriting software mac
  • best screenwriting software 2018

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