The Best 9 Screenwriting Software You Can Get In 2022
Updated: December 03,2022
We turned the web upside down, looking for the best screenwriting software.
Then we tested and reviewed each solution based on:
- Collaboration tools
- Ease of use
- And other relevant information
So, keep on reading to find the most suitable solution for you.
Best Screenwriting App for 2022
Arc Studio Pro - Best overall
Final Draft - Best for movies and TV shows
Scrivener - Best for long-form texts
StudioBinder - Best for large studios
Fade In Pro - Best for mobile users
Celtx - Best multi-purpose app
WriterDuet - Best for real-time collaboration
Highland 2 - Best for Mac users
Trelby - Best free software
1. Arc Studio Pro
Powerful free edition
Arc Studio mode
Arc Studio Pro is undoubtedly among the best screenwriting programs and is growing to become the next industry standard. It offers everything professional writers need while also being beginner-friendly.
It comes with an automatic formatting feature that does all the heavy lifting for you. It’s also fully customizable, allowing professionals to adjust it to their preferences.
Rather than just assisting you, the program holds your hand throughout the entire creation process. You can also create outlines before the writing process and edit them later.
What truly makes it stand out from the crowd is its namesake feature – Arc Mode. It’s a real mathematical graph that brings something new to the table. It provides a visual representation of the screenplay’s timeline, allowing you to play with the pace and dynamic of the story.
You’ll hardly find a feature like this with any other screenplay writing program. It can be a valuable tool when experimenting with the story’s structure.
Arc Studio Pro replaces messy writers’ rooms by allowing online collaboration. Everyone involved can write, comment, and suggest edits with extreme leniency. Additionally, the program’s online saving mode eliminates the risk of someone accidentally deleting the script.
The app has browser, desktop, iPhone, and iPad versions.
So, how much can a powerful program like this cost? Well, the Arc Studio Pro screenwriting software offers a functional free version. Sure, the free plan has some limitations, but it still provides much more than any other no-cost program. It only lets you work on two projects at a time, but when you delete one, it opens up space for a new script.
If you want a paid plan, you can choose between two packages:
- Essentials - $69/year
- Pro - $99/year
Arc Studio offers everything you need and has a favorable free edition. Plus, it’s suitable for both professionals and beginners. All this makes it the best screenwriting app you can pick up.
2. Final Draft
Final Draft has been in the screenwriting game since 1990 and is famously used by giants like Netflix and Disney. If it suits their needs, chances are it’ll work for any screenwriter out there.
It ensures you always get the formatting right. It does so through auto-suggestions that help you follow all industry standards. But that’s not all the software can do on its own. It also compiles lists of characters and scene locations automatically.
Its various advanced features make Final Draft the best script writing software for movies and TV shows. The story map function makes it easy to follow the plot and the alternate dialogue feature lets you develop different versions of the narrative.
The program also offers numerous tools for organizing your plot points, character arcs, and location ideas. It can also scan the entire text for missing dialogue, extra spaces, and other common formatting mistakes.
You can benefit from several tools for brainstorming and visualization when collaborating with writing partners.
Final Draft has several standard templates, but you can download more from a library with over 300. They’re tailored for movies, TV shows, stage plays, graphic novels, etc. You can also import PDF files and convert them to editable scripts.
The program is quite feature-rich, meaning it’s not necessarily the most beginner-friendly option on the market. However, it does work like a charm for advanced users. You can even build your own toolbar, minimizing the clicks required to perform repeated actions.
Final Draft has its own apps for Windows, Mac, and iOS. Unfortunately, it’s unavailable on Android at this point.
This is a professional script writing app, and it’s naturally on the more expensive side. The current version – Final Draft 12 – is available at $199.99 for lifetime use. Keep in mind, however, that existing users pay for an upgrade when new versions arrive (albeit less than new customers).
There’s also a 30-day free trial for anyone wishing to give the app a go. The money-back guarantee is also 30 days.
Great free trial deal
While Scrivener can perform as a script-writing app, it’s actually best for novelists and other long-form writers. Whether you’re writing a sci-fi novel or a non-fiction work, this program provides the perfect place to write, edit, and organize your work.
One of the key features for Scrivener users is its Compile function. It’s similar to exporting a project but does a little extra. Let’s say you want to send someone a copy of your script for a review, but they have specific font and line spacing requests. You can use this function to export a new file that suits their criteria without changing the original script.
The writing statistics you get with Scrivener can also help you keep track of your daily word counts and various other numbers. For example, you can observe your average paragraph or sentence length and adjust accordingly.
This software for script-writing also lets you look at two different documents simultaneously. This allows you to compare your work without having to jump around tabs.
Scrivener doesn’t have collaboration features, but it’s aimed at individual writers anyway. However, several exporting options can help if you want to send the text to someone.
It offers a wide range of features, including notes and editing multiple texts at once. A good old drag-and-drop function makes the entire process a lot easier.
If you find all that overwhelming, there are plenty of educational videos and other guides that can help.
Scrivener is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS. However, each version is sold separately. The available deals are:
- Windows Standard License - $49
- Windows Education License - $41.65
- Mac Standard License - $49
- Mac Education License - $41.65
- iOS License - $19.99
- Windows and Mac bundle - $80
The app offers no free plan, but its trial is exactly like the full version, and it lasts for 30 days.
Scrivener is, undoubtedly, the best writing program for long-form writers. But if you want a true screenwriting tool and you want to use it with your teammates, it may not necessarily be the best available option.
Helps prepare for shooting
StudioBinder has gained a lot of popularity lately. It’s one of the best screenplay software for production companies and studios. Some of the biggest brands in the world, such as Spotify and Blizzard, use it.
Its main purpose is to create production-ready scripts. So, if you want to do something else with it, you’ll find way fewer features compared to other screenplay writer software. It sticks to the basics when it comes to fonts, scene headings, etc.
It does all the standard stuff without complicating things, which is why so many producers love it. One of the best things about it is that you can use it to import any finished script in its original form. The program then turns it into an editable screenplay.
Also, once the script has been finished and it’s time to start shooting, StudioBinder can help you create a schedule. Of course, you can later change or edit your plan depending on how production goes.
The program’s shot lists make shooting much easier. You can add details like shot type and size to ensure the video ends up looking just the way you imagined it. Similarly, the storyboard function lets you upload images to display the composition you’re aiming at.
There’s even a production calendar for easier scheduling that all collaborators can see.
Since this is a tool a large studio or production company would use, it’s obviously not the easiest screenplay editor software to use. On the other hand, if you’re a film production expert, you’ll love all the advanced features.
StudioBinder doesn’t have apps for either desktop or mobile. Instead, it operates as a web app anyone can access through their browser.
Another thing that suggests StudioBinder has larger teams in mind is its pricing. Individuals and smaller groups will probably want something less expensive. Yes, there’s a free plan, but its main purpose is to help you test the tool before buying.
Its individual plans are:
- Indie - $29/month
- Professional - $49/month
- Studio - $99/month
Company plans include:
- Agency - $249/month
- Production Company - $399/month
- Enterprise - $1499/month
StudioBinder is one of the top professional screenwriting software for studios and businesses. Its expensive plans may deter individual users, though.
5. Fade In Pro
Available across all platforms
Fade In Pro is a relatively new name in the industry, but it has already established itself as one of the industry-standard screenwriting software. Not only is it a great tool for mobile users, but it also offers all the integration options you may need.
Like many similar tools, Fade In Pro can automatically do all the formatting for you. And once it knows all your characters’ names, it’ll autocomplete them when you type the first letter. It can do the same for locations and other repeating elements.
The app also ensures your characters always speak in the same manner and style. It does so through the dialogue tuner function that pulls up all the lines for the given character.
Another thing that puts Fade In Pro among the top screenwriting software is its feature that offers different voices for reading the script aloud.
The program excels at integrating other file types into the app. You can import over ten different formats and still get a script that requires very little cleanup. It can also export in several different file types.
Fade In offers collaboration functionalities too. There’s a handy chatbox for discussions, and a revisions feature that can be extremely helpful once the script is in production.
We’d also recommend Fade In to anyone wishing to write scripts on various OSes. Apart from running on Windows, Mac, and Linux, it’s among the few movie script-writing apps for both Android and iOS devices.
There’s a free trial version available, but all scripts you write will have a watermark. If you want all the benefits, you can buy the premium plan for $79.95.
If you require access to your scripts from all of your devices, you can’t go wrong with Fade In.
Available on multiple platforms
Celtx offers more than just a platform for writing your scripts. Aimed at producers and those working in larger teams, it’s often used for crafting VR and video game narratives as well.
It’s a multi-purpose tool that operates both as screenwriting and pre-production software.
Its cloud-based software allows seamless collaboration. Anyone with access to the file can make changes to it, leave notes for other team members, and more, all in real-time. Just bear in mind that if you want to download the file in a PDF and send it to someone, you’ll need OCR software.
Like most script writing programs, Celtx makes formatting fast and easy. All commands are industry standard. You only need to hit Enter and Tab, and the software will automatically create the format for you.
When working on the early stages of your story, you can rely on Celtx to provide all the help you need. There are index cards you can drag and drop for simple rearranging. They’re split into general outline and scene sections.
There are also drag-and-drop visual storyboards for adding descriptions to each shot. It has its own library of images, helping you visualize the scene.
Another perk you get with Celtx is uploading media from various platforms without leaving the software.
Lastly, the program offers a catalog for organizing the script’s production. You can use it to create items for anything from cast and crew to makeup.
Celtx is available for all Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS users.
You can use this cloud-based screenwriting software for free, but as usual, this version is somewhat limited. Most in-depth features come with the paid plans, available in two packages:
- Scriptwriting - $20/month
- Video production - $30/month
- Enterprise - Quote-based
If you choose to pay yearly, the prices above drop to $15/mo and $27/mo, respectively.
Overall, Celtx is a great tool for anyone who wants to do more than just write scripts. Its video production plan includes everything you need to translate the script to the screen.
Stores files online
Text and video chat
Powerful premium tools
Writer Duet is a screenplay writing software that shines in its ability to support working in pairs or larger groups. Since the program is entirely cloud-based, no one has to upload and download anything.
Think of this tool is similar to Google Docs but aimed at screenwriters. Much like the popular word processor, WriterDuet lets you and your collaborators leave comments for each other and track who and when made changes to the file. You can even text and video chat with your team members within the app.
Also, with multiple people being able to access the file, WriterDuet saves everything to the last keystroke. That way, a mistake from one user isn’t enough to jeopardize everything you’ve worked on.
While crafted as a tool for multiple simultaneous users, this online screenwriting software is a great program for individual writers too.
WriterDuet’s paid plans bring 12 templates for different types of works, including screenplays, stage plays, books, and multi-cam and single-cam sitcoms. You can also upload your own templates.
Pro and Premium users have access to stats that provide more insight about the file. You can use them to generate detailed reports when preparing for production.
In the Premium plan, the software also brings some powerful tools like script narration with distinct voices and translations to dozens of languages.
WriterDuet has its own desktop app, which is only available to paid users. There are Android and iOS versions for writing on the go.
If you want free online screenwriting software, you can rely on WriterDuet, but with some restrictions. Free users can only work on up to three projects and don’t have access to the real-time collaboration functionality.
Paid users choose between three plans:
- Plus - $9.99/month
- Pro - $11.99/month
- Premium - $13.99/month
Overall, this software handles collaboration better than most similar apps, making it a great pick-up for larger teams. It’s also slightly more expensive than other software in the same category.
8. Highland 2
Sprint mode for efficiency
Highland 2 is among the best screenwriting software for Mac. Since it’s not available on other platforms, it has a slightly smaller user base. It also has somewhat fewer features than other options on the market, but it definitely gets the job done.
It’s a mix of a true screenwriting program and a text editor you can run and write in immediately. All you have to do is get your idea onto the page, and Highland 2 will take care of the rest, as it formats the entire text for you.
It can also encourage you to write more efficiently. You can start a sprint session at any time, and the program will keep track of how many words and pages you can crank out in that time frame.
It’s also one of the first apps to introduce a gender analysis feature. It tells you how many lines and words each gender speaks, allowing you to evaluate your scenes based on what you’re aiming at.
We also really liked Highland 2’s speech recognition feature, which gives you a chance to write using your voice.
Highland 2 is indeed one of the best software for screenwriting aimed at beginners. It has a highly intuitive interface and isn’t overloaded with advanced features. You also get plenty of handy shortcuts.
Another thing you’ll like about Highland 2 is its continued growth. It’s a successor to the original Highland, and it constantly gets upgrades.
It has a free version, but it comes with some limitations. As a non-paying user, you only have access to 5 PDF templates, and all scripts you write have a watermark.
The Pro deal is available for $69.99 through the app. It adds more templates, removes the watermark, and provides access to the word analysis function and revision mode for editing.
Powerful script writing features
Previously known as Blyte, Trelby is arguably the best free script writing software out there. It’s one of the very few programs in this category that doesn’t have premium plans and is entirely free of charge.
The Trelby processor can format scripts and generate reports that break down your text into numbers to help you get a better feel of where the story is going.
Trelby also has a database of over 200,000 character names from different origins you can use in your script.
Given that it’s free script-writing software, it’s hard to criticize Trelby for lacking any real collaboration features. However, it allows you to export to FDX when sending your work to another writer or production company.
Trelby is also quite easy to use. The interface is non-distracting, with a slight Final Draft feel to it. There are a few different view modes you can choose between, such as draft, layout, and side-by-side.
The only thing missing is a zoom button to make pages slightly bigger.
Trelby isn’t available on mobile and only works on Windows and Linux. Unfortunately, there’s no Mac version available at the moment.
Also, it only supports the English language, whereas most paid software works with at least a few other languages as well.
How To Pick the Right App
Most writers create stories either professionally or for fun. That’s why picking the right app mainly depends on your specific needs.
So, how do you choose the best screenwriting software for you?
Let’s look at some of the most important things to consider:
Many screenwriters work with a partner or an entire team. With cloud-based technology at our hands, it’s much easier to collaborate when everyone can see and edit the same file.
The best programs for script-writing are usually web-based, allowing teams to work together in real-time.
Some top options like WriterDuet even have text and video chat options for easier communication.
Script writing tools also serve to ensure you always use industry formatting. Depending on the type of script you’re working on, you’ll want your file to look in a certain way.
Most tools come with templates for popular formats such as movies, TV shows, plays, video games, etc.
Some programs offer only the most basic formatting options, while others have hundreds of pre-designed templates. For example, the Final Draft software comes with over 300 of them.
As a screenwriter, you know how much work goes into creating a complex story.
Most apps come with additional features that can help you take both your plot and characterization to the next level.
They usually do this by allowing you to take notes and produce visual representations of what you’ve written.
Programs such as Fade In Pro also come with a voice dialogue function. It lets you close your eyes and hear how the story sounds when told by your characters.
Opening cloud-based files is the easiest way to access your or someone else’s scripts. However, when working in teams or submitting your work, you’ll often have to send it in a specific file format.
That’s why you’d want the screenplay writing software with the most importing and exporting options.
Ease of use
Another thing to take into consideration is how much experience you have. If you’re a beginner screenwriter or you do it as a hobby, it makes sense to compromise on advanced features and go for the most user-friendly software.
Programs aimed at producers and large studios often assume you know everything about screenwriting and have a steep learning curve.
On the other hand, those made for novices often include plenty of educational material.
Pricing is something you have to pay special attention to.
Most script editing software is available through monthly or yearly plans. Usually, the rates are lower if you’re ready to commit to a twelve-month deal.
Another important thing to consider is that many top programs also offer a free plan. These are mostly aimed at screenwriters who’ve never used such software before. It’s a great opportunity for beginners to check out if relying on dedicated software really helps them during the writing process.
However, scripts you write as a free user often have watermarks and, as such, are not suitable for submission.
The screenwriting software market is quite crowded. But if you base your decision on your experience, team size, and budget, finding the right solution shouldn’t be difficult.
If you’ve found our reviews helpful, then it’s time to stop reading and start writing. Which of our top picks caught your eye?
Why is screenwriting important?
Screenwriting provides a blueprint for every movie, TV show, play, or video game you’ve ever seen. It’s usually the first creative input, defining the plot, characters, dialogue, etc. It allows production to progress and the final product to emerge.
What program do most screenwriters use?
Arc Studio Pro has recently emerged as the screenwriting industry standard. It offers a myriad of advanced features for a relatively low price.
Is Final Draft better than Celtx?
Many screenwriters prefer Final Draft over Celtx, although both have their perks. Final Draft is the best screenwriting software for movies and TV shows. Celtx excels as a multi-purpose tool for studios and larger teams.
Dejan is a techie at heart who always dreamed of turning his fascination with gaming into a career. He finds working for TechJury a perfect opportunity to express his views of all kinds of different software. Being an avid reader, particularly of fantasy and sci-fi, Dejan pursued a degree in English Language and Literature. When not at his computer, he’s watching sports or playing tabletop games.
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