Best Free Screenwriting Software in 2020 [Review]

Best Free Screenwriting Software in 2020 [Review]

It isn’t easy to be a screenwriter. The job of a screenwriter is challenging and hectic. You have to meet strict deadlines and stay on your toes most of the time. This is because writing a novel or an essay or fiction is totally different rather straightforward. As a screenwriter, you have to write a story visually describing the movement, expressions, actions, and other details of the characters.

This is indeed challenging.

Such a demanding job doesn’t just require expertise in writing, but you must be tech-savvy so you can make the best use of technology to help you with screenwriting. One of the most essential things that you need is screenwriting software – probably the best screenwriting software.

Screenwriting software help you with a lot of things such as following industry standards, improve formatting, write quickly, organize sections and characters, proofread and edit as you write, create and manage your own writing templates, take notes, collaborate, and others.

With the right tools and apps, you can finish your script quickly while maintaining the quality. You'll be able to focus on what you do best – writing. Everything else will be managed by the software.

If you aren’t sure what screenwriting software to choose and you have no idea where to start, I have prepared a list of the best screenwriting software with their features, pricing, and what they're best for. The following list will make your job a lot easier:

1. Squibler

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Squibler is an all-purpose best screenwriting software. It helps you with story development and dialogue writing with its feature-rich text editor. It has screenplay templates that make your job a lot easier. Select a template and start writing. You don’t have to create an outline, develop characters from scratch, and spend time in create sections and chapters. It is all there already in the template, just start writing right away.

Squibler Features

Here is a list of the major Squibler features:

  • A simple text editor and a word processor that is exceptionally easy-to-use
  • Drag-and-drop interface that makes arranging and organizing elements a whole lot easier
  • Distraction-free writing mode
  • More than 30 screenplay templates
  • Note-taking feature
  • Collaborate in real-time
  • On-screen sidebar makes it easier to access screenplay elements instantly
  • Storyboard that automatically maps notes to index cards
  • Built-in grammar checker
  • Integrates with leading cloud storage companies like Google Drive and Dropbox
  • Auto-save feature
  • It supports full-screen production
  • Works on Windows, Mac, and mobile

Squibler Pricing

You can try Squibler for free with full access to all the features. The premium plan costs $9.99 per month.

2. Final Draft

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Final Draft is a professional scriptwriting software that’s specifically used in the entertainment industry. It is a professional multi-purpose tool that works for screenwriters, producers, and filmmakers. It comes with 300+ templates for writers that make your writing job easier. It follows the industry standard and format for screenwriting and scripts and converts your text into the right format automatically.

Final Draft Features

Final Draft offers you a lot of exciting features:

  • An easy-to-use interface and text editor
  • A powerful drag-and-drop user interface
  • Converts your script in entertainment industry format
  • Comes with more than 300 templates to choose from
  • A beat board to manage notes, characters, and more
  • Visual story mapping
  • Write, collaborate, brainstorm, and organize your script easily
  • Speech to script converter
  • Format your script the way you like with tons of formatting features
  • Revision and tags mode to simplify the writing process
  • Works on Windows, Mac, iPhone, iOS, and mobile phones.

Final Draft Pricing

Being a top screenwriting software that’s used by professional screenwriters for Hollywood, First Draft is expensive and has a learning curve. You'll need the training to get used to the interface. The starting price is $169.99 one-time. You'll have to pay additional for the mobile version of the software.

3. Celtx

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Celtx offers professional production tools for screenwriters and video producers. It is a complete screenwriting and video production suite for professionals that let you write, plan, and shoot. The scriptwriting tool comes with powerful collaboration and index cards feature to make scriptwriting easier for you.

Celtx Features

Here is a list of the major Celtx features for screenwriters:

  • An easy-to-use feature-rich professional screenwriter tool
  • Intuitive scriptwriting editor
  • Supports video and game production
  • Collaborate with peers and editors easily
  • Storyboard lets you arrange and organize your script hassle-free
  • Take notes and organize with Index cards
  • You can use it in the offline mode too
  • Revision tracking
  • It is online screenwriting software that you can access from any internet-enabled device including mobile phones

Celtx Pricing

Celtx scriptwriting is priced at $10 per month. It comes with a 30 days free trial. You can upgrade to the video production plan that costs $15 per month that includes both the scriptwriting and video production tool.

4. WriterDuet

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WriterDuet is a simple yet professional screenwriting program that is focused on real-time collaboration. It is best for teams and projects where multiple screenwriters have to work on a single script simultaneously. It supports text messages and video chat to make collaboration a piece of cake. It is a cloud-based software that you can access on the go from any device including mobile phones.

WriterDuet Features

Here is an overview of the leading WriterDuet features:

  • Simple user-interface that you can use without any training
  • The text editor is extremely user-friendly making it easier to write, rewrite, and share content
  • A powerful collaboration feature that supports simultaneous writing and editing
  • Create templates and customize workflows to write scripts quickly
  • Create outlines with the help of tools like maps and scene cards
  • Take notes on cards and share them with the co-writers
  • Supports unlimited co-writers
  • Auto translate feature
  • It is a cloud-based scriptwriting software that comes with online and offline desktop apps.

WriterDuet Pricing

WriterDuet has a free plan that comes with limited features. The paid plans start from $7.99 per month that gives you full access to the basic features. However, to get access to all the advanced features, you'll have to upgrade your plan to the premium that costs $15.99 per month.

5. Fade In

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Fade In is a professional and feature-rich screenwriting program that offers a lot of features that you'll find in most of the other screenwriting apps. It supports screenwriting for movies, television, radio, stage, video games, and more. One of the major features of Fade In is that it is available in multiple languages. It is one of the few screenwriting software that has an app for Linux. If you use Linux, Fade In might be a decent option for you.

Fade In Features

The major Fade In features include:

  • A simple user-interface with a sidebar that gives you access to everything
  • Built-in screenplay styles that you can customize as per need
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Autocomplete feature helps you write repeated words e.g. character names
  • Organize scenes and characters with the help of index cards
  • Distraction-free writing mode
  • It supports multiple file formats
  • Dialogue tuner helps you see all the dialogues of a single character
  • Powerful revision feature, page lock, screen lock, omitted scene retrieval, and more
  • Production reports and script breakdown into industry standards with a single click
  • The software is available is for Windows, Mac, and Linux and has a mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android
  • Integrates with cloud storage solutions.

Fade In Pricing

You can download the free version and start using Fade In for free. If you want to purchase the software, it costs $79.95 per license. It doesn’t come with subscription-based pricing.

6. Highland

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Highland is a simple screenwriting software for Mac users. It doesn’t offer a lot of features like some of the other screenwriting software like Squibler, but it gets the job done. It has a simple text editor where you can start typing right away. The best thing about Highland is that it has no learning curving at all. You'll get to work right away as soon as the download is completed.

Highland Features

Here is an overview of the core Highland 2 (the upgraded version of Highland) features:

  • Clean and simple text editor
  • Over 10 templates to choose from
  • Revision mode that helps you track changes
  • Take notes with the scratchpad
  • Goal setting feature to keep you motivated
  • Distraction-free writing mode
  • Word and gender analysis
  • Auto-suggest helps you write scripts quickly
  • Supports PDF and FDX and other file formats.

Highland Pricing

You can try Highland 2 for free. Upgrading to the premium plan costs $49.99 once.

7. Trelby

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Trelby is open-source screenwriting software that’s free. It is developed by Osku Salerma and Anil Gulecha and is available as computer software for Windows and Linux. It is fully customizable which means you can add new features and develop it the way you want. Of course, it is something that a developer will do for you.

Trelby Features

Here is an overview of the leading Trelby features:

  • An open-source and fully customizable screenwriting software
  • Simple, intuitive interface and text editor that requires no learning or training
  • A huge collection of names from multiple countries (200K+ names)
  • Compare and check scripts for changes and revisions
  • It has built-in auto-complete and spell checker features
  • Fullscreen and distraction-free mode
  • Supports PDF, HTML, RTF, and several other file formats for exporting
  • Works on Windows and Linux hassle-free
  • You can contribute and upgrade the software by adding your own features via a developer.

Trelby Pricing

Trelby is open source and is free. You can download, use, and customize it at no cost whatsoever.

8. Movie Magic Screenwriter

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Movie Magic Screenwriter is award-winning screenwriting software that’s used by professional screenwriters, scriptwriters, and leading writers from Hollywood. One of the key benefits of using it is that it makes your scripts Hollywood ready so if you are writing for Hollywood or a movie or at a professional-level, Movie Magic Screenwriter will work best for you.

Movie Magic Screenwriter Features

The key Movie Magic Screenwriter features include:

  • Comes with tutorials and resources to help you fully understand the tool
  • It has more than 100 templates for screenwriters including instructional and TV templates
  • A powerful outlining feature that includes acts, scenes, characters, sequences, and more
  • Quickly navigate between sections, chapters, and scenes with the NaviDoc feature
  • Note-taking feature with categorization option to organize notes easily
  • Customize your writing view by choosing an appropriate view from the options e.g. distraction-free, full screen, etc.
  • Full support for the production script
  • Import your documents from other tools and software in any format you like
  • Integrates with other tools like Outline 4D
  • Works on Mac and Windows.

Movie Magic Screenwriter Pricing

It is a desktop software for Windows and Mac that’s priced at$169. You can download its demo version to see how it goes for you before buying a license.

9. Microsoft Word

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Last but not the least, you can have your screenwriting done in none other than Microsoft Word. It is a perfect screenwriting software for new screenwriters who have just started. Or, if you are a student and learning to write a script, you'll find Microsoft Word quite handy as it has zero learning curve.

Microsoft Word Features

Here is an overview of the core Microsoft Word features for screenwriters:

  • No learning curve at all
  • Download a screenwriting template or start from scratch
  • Distraction-free mode
  • You can add add-ons like Grammarly to supercharge your writing
  • Autocorrect and built-in grammar checker
  • Create macros to automate your writing process
  • Save your document in multiple file formats including PDF and HTML
  • Lots of formatting options
  • Referencing styles available to choose from
  • Comments, track changes, and full support for images and graphics
  • Works online and on your computer and smartphone.

Microsoft Word Pricing

The starting price is $69.99 per year for personal use. However, you can purchase Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for a one-time price of $149.99.

How to Select the Right Screenwriting Software

This list of the best screenwriting software in 2020 gives you a full overview of the leading tools available in the market. Of course, you can’t buy all of them. You need to pick one and stick with it.

How to do it?

Ask yourself: What features you expect to have in the screenwriting software you need and how much you can afford to pay for it?

This will give you a good idea of what software to choose. Still confused?

Let me simplify it for you: If you aren’t sure what screenwriting software is right for you, go for Squibler.

It is an all-in-one multi-purpose screenwriting software that offers you all the features that you'll find in the expensive Hollywood-level screenwriting software. It is a tool that’s specifically developed for screenwriters.

It won’t disappoint you. Give it a try by clicking here.