I've been testing software products, and writing reviews of those
products, since 1984, evaluating virtually every writing-related IBM-compatible
program during that period. My articles have appeared in national publications
including Videography, Video Systems, In Motion, and many
others. Although they are posted here as a "public service" these articles
are not "public domain!"
After years of slow growth, this page has gone through several
transformations to make it even more useful. Among other things you'll find an
updated and greatly expanded list of Macros, Scripts,
Stylesheets and Templates for screenwriting with conventional word
processors and other software. Note that there are some high-end, commercial
template products covered in the review section.
Software: Crutch or Tool?
Basic Truths about Screenwriting Software is an essay born from the
concern I have about the way people perceive technology. While computer use
encroaches ever further into our lives, verbal and written communication skills
seem to be getting worse. So when I sat down to overhaul this page, the first
thing I found myself doing was writing this piece. It's for anybody who wants
to write, and who is considering what kind of role technology (in this case,
software) might play in their work.
Screenplay Formatting Software
Screenwriting Formatting Software from the Bottom Up started
out as one immensely long article. It covers a lot of detail about numerous
products, but it also describes ways you can analyze your needs and budget, to
maximize your bang for buck. I decided to break the article into sections, and
eventually I hope to have a better navigation system to make products even
easier to pinpoint.
Note: Reviews are planned or underway for Sophocles, Final Draft
A/V, and other commercial programs. I also plan reviews of any signficant
version changes in software previously reviewed. Keep an eye on this page for
updates as they become available. Meanwhile, the review archives (below) can
tell you a lot about the different products and companies that have entered
this field over the years.
Story Development and Analysis Software
Tests and reviews of new programs in this category are still underway,
including Storyview, Storybuilder, Anthemion Storylines, and others. I
am also always trying to look at updates of programs previously reviewed (see
below). I will post the results of any tests as soon as possible. Meanwhile, it
is worth finding out the pros and cons of software tools for this area, which
you can get by browsing the archives. That will at least give you a taste of
the many approaches that have been taken so far.
The Market Overview is what the name implies. Close-up
reviews examine products in greater depth, and are posted continuously, as
soon as they are available. The author is Rich Wilson, unless noted otherwise.
A reminder: once they are posted, reviews here are deliberately left online
indefinitely. Thus, you may find reviews of two or more different versions of
the same product.
Overview: defining terms for software genres; summary of software
products for scriptwriters; thumbnail descriptions of most products. (Jan. 96)
- Close-up review
#1: Scriptwright 6.1, ScriptThing for DOS 2.19b, Writer's Edge 1.0.
- Close-up review
#2: Dramatica Pro 1.6, Scriptware for Windows 2.08.
- Close-up review
#3: ScriptThing for Windows 1.0m, ScriptWizard Production Pak 7.0, and
another view on Scriptware for Windows (written by Robert Goodman).
- Close-up review
#4: Collaborator 3.38, and a second opinion on Dramatica Pro 2.0
(written by Robert Goodman).
- Close-up review
#5: Final Draft 4.1 for Windows.
- Close-up review
#6: MovieMaster 5.02 for Windows, a second opinion on Final Draft
4.1.3 for Windows, ScriptWerx 6.1, and an update on ScriptWright 7.0b (written
by Robert Goodman).
The reviews listed above include several commercial products that
enhance word processor software, using macros, templates, or
stylesheets for screenwriting use. Listed below are more scriptwriting
enhancements, including not only word processing templates, but also
programming scripts and adaptations of less familiar tools like SGML. The
purpose here is to cover a variety of computer platforms and software
environments, as an aid to low-budget writers and others. So, make note of the
situation each tool is meant for. For instance, a perl script won't be any help
if you just want to adapt your everyday word processor.
Unlike those listed above, I have not tested or reviewed any of these.
For questions or support, contact the author. (Also note, if the author changes
e-mail addresses after posting the file for download, do not expect me to have
any newer address. Whatever is in the file is what the author put there, not
me.) These links and files are provided as is.
In the following listings, "Freeware/shareware" means either that the
product's author requests, but does not require, a registration fee; or that
the product's commercial status is unknown. It remains your responsibility to
meet any legal or license requirements that may be involved.
- (IBM) Data Highways offers
Toolkit, "a set of fourteen MS Word templates for writing Screenplays,
Stageplays and Radio Plays. It includes the six main formats used by the BBC."
I have not tested it, but a glance at the feature set is impressive. I also
like the pricing approach: "This is released as SUCCESS-WARE, you don't have to
pay until you have success in selling your first significant script, or make a
significant profit from your own production(s)." Versions available for MS Word
for Windows 2, 6, 7 and 8, as well as enhanced versions for Word 2000 and Word
- (IBM) ScreenWright
(R) is a shareware macro package for WordPerfect 6.1 for Windows. A version
for WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS is also available. The author's website also offers
information for users who would like to see screenwriting features built into
to future releases of WordPerfect.
- (IBM) Magic Ant Productions specializes in applications for MS
Word, including its
screenplay template, which supports both Word 97 and Word 2000.
- (IBM) Falstaff Productions offers
MS Word versions 95 and higher. Programmed in Visual Basic and claiming a
variety of impressive abilities, this free screenplay template comes without
technical support, although it is updated from time to time to fix bugs or
tweak existing features.
- (IBM, MAC) From
the BBC: "The Script
Smart tool, created by Matthew Carless from the BBC's writersroom, is a set
of Microsoft Word templates for writers to format their scripts using
industry-recognised layouts." It appears to come in many versions, aimed at
both the UK and US markets.
- (IBM, MAC) DiGiHill Film Script Formatting
Template for MS Word is a rather well-developed homebrew macro
package, with both free and shareware versions (full version price £10 or
$15, payable via Amazon). Full versions support Word 97, Word 2000/XP on IBM --
and now, Macintosh Word versions 98 or Vx. Note: some older browsers may
have trouble reading this site.
- (MAC) Jeff Young offers two templates for
Wordperfect 2.1 through 3.5. One is for conventional screenplays based on
the Cole and Haag guidelines; the other is for two-column video (A/V) scripts.
The templates are stored in Stuffit archives, and free for the price of a
- (MAC) Chris Adamson's
Package for Macintosh, for MS Word 5.0 or greater, Nisus 3.0 or greater,
and WriteNow 4.0. As Chris puts it, these are "Freeware (but not 'public
- (UNIX) The Writer's Forge is
touted as being "a fiction authoring suite, an IDE for writers. The tool suite
provides integrated support for writing screenplays and prose, and developing
plot and character." Like many homegrown Unix tools, this one seems to be a
work in progress.
- (UNIX, IBM) Matt Gushee's
v0.1 is "an SGML Document Type Definition for movie screenplays" that Matt
describes as being "in a very early stage of development, largely untested and
entirely undocumented." He provides versions for both Unix and
- (UNIX, IBM, MAC)
is described as "a cross-platform Open Source word processor, adapted to handle
the requirements of script writing for television or the movies." The file is
delivered in compressed gz format. It is based on
AbiWord, a free word processor that can
be downloaded for most major computer platforms in use today.
- (UNIX, IBM, MAC) Tom Kirchner describes his
screenplay project as
a "small perl program that formats screenplays using simple txt or tex formats;
it also produces reports on the content."
Files Onsite Here
- (ALL) If you want -- or need -- to make your own
macros, you're in luck. Jeff Miholer's
Maker, a handy set of instructions for do-it-yourself screenwriting macros,
has been revised and updated, and is now located here for your
Gallagher's AmiPro Screenplay Stylesheet (18K) is a shareware add-on
product for screenwriters using Ami Pro version 3.
Environment (SWE) (183K) is Don Morrison's freeware macro package specific
to WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS. It does not work with any other version
of WordPerfect, or any other word processor! It is a large file (containing
75 smaller files!), so please do not download it unless you think you might use
Breidbart's WordPerfect Macros (39K) are designed to work with 3 different
program versions: WordPerfect 5.1/DOS; WordPerfect 6.0/DOS; and WordPerfect 8.0
for Windows 95 and 98.
I have not tested these shareware packages personally.
So, please don't ask me to explain or support them!