Everyone from a budding writer to a seasoned filmmaker would benefit from a high quality piece of screenwriting software. It is a common misconception that a screenplay can be easily written without the assistance of a program but this usually ends in complications.
To avoid any mistakes or if you are looking for the very best screenwriting software then you should take full advantage of our list of the top ten products available on the market.
While screenplays generally end up looking very similar in the end, the processes, and therefore the software, are all very different. To help you decide between the programs we have provided some useful tips and points to remember.
Things to Consider
- Writing Tools. Every piece of software will have the basic formatting tools that will put everything in place and arrange the text into the standard screenplay format.
To get the most out of your software you should focus on additional features that it might have. Many of the best screenwriting software options will provide tools that can track character development, provide an overview of the story and also clearly outline scenes.
- Don’t Forget Editing. Writing a screenplay is a lengthy process and there will be many changes made in the time between putting down the first line to the final product. Due to this you should keep an eye on the editing features of the product. Good screenwriting software will enable you to make easy edits, track your changes and will also allow you to lock finalized content in place.
- Compatibility. Most writers focus on the features of the program so much that they forget whether the software is compatible with their computer system. Such a small detail can make buying screenwriting software a complete waste of money. Avoid this mistake by viewing the column in our table that provides this information.
Top 10 Screenwriting Software Table
|Picture||Name||Platform Options||Price||Rating (1-5)|
|Picture||Name||Platform Options||Price||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Movie Outline 3||Windows Vista, Windows 8||$$$||4.4|
|2. Mariner Contour PC ||Windows XP||$||4.2|
|3. Final Draft Version 7 Academic Win/Mac ||Mac, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Mac OS X, Mac OS 9 and below||$$||4.2|
|4. Scrivener [Download] ||Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, Mac OS X||$$||4.0|
|5. Final Draft Version 8 ||Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS X||$$||4.0|
|6. Write Brothers Movie Magic Screenwriter ||Windows NT, Mac, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Mac OS X, Windows||$||4.0|
|7. Final Draft 9 ||Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Windows 8, Windows 7, Mac OS X||$$$||3.9|
|8. Movie Magic Screenwriter Version 6 ||Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks||$$$$||3.8|
|9. Script It! ||Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS X||$$||3.7|
|10. WriteWay Professional Edition ||Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Vista||$||3.7|
Deciding Between the Best Screenwriting Software
Choosing the best script writing software isn’t as easy as looking at the features. Really what sets the products on our list apart is their support systems that have been put in place, either by the developers or the users.
The ideal software will have:
- A comprehensive user manual that will cover all of your initial questions,
- A frequently asked question section that will generally provide assistance with troubleshooting,
- Several connected user forums, that will be able to deal with issues that are more current,
- Reviews that mention that the company is easy to contact and that they are ready to assist the users of the software.
If you find that a piece of software checks all of these boxes then you can be sure you will have a smooth experience and this is exactly what you need when you are writing your screenplay.
Top 3 Screenwriting Software Reviews
Movie Outline is a piece of software that has been specifically designed for writing scripts and screenplays in the most organized way possible. This kind of focus means that it has everything from outlining the steps you should follow to giving you a story task manager to help you stay on track.
After the pre-writing planning is done, you will be able to write freely and flow easily as the program will format the entire thing perfectly. When you are done with the writing and the production then you can go back and use different features to review the work.
You can follow a specific character through the story or you can spell check and revise. This is something that will give you the most refined and polished piece of work in the end.
You can use the Mariner Contour PC whether you are learning screenwriting or are looking to use software that will help enhance your writing experience overall. This system uses an interesting fill-in the-blank approach so you have the entire screenplay laid out and you need to simply add the script.
There is also a story development feature that will help you get deeper into the reasons that characters are doing something or understand how to navigate the story to their next move.
What makes this the best screenwriting software is that it is not just about the writing of the work, it is focused on plotting out the story and planning what you are going to write to make it a solid piece of work.
Final Draft 7 gives you the combination of features that you need to write as well as edit and plan a screenwriting project with ease. It will set up the piece that follows the appropriate screenwriting rules while providing you with templates and tools for straightforward story development.
This is a great option for those that have both a PC and a Mac and would like to use the program on both. The set up and all the features are identical across both platforms and as such can be used and exchanged between each.
Aside from the easy formatting, this software is great for adding notes for the writer as well as for the story without being too cluttered. Everything is straightforward and makes it easy to turn out a polished script in the end.