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6 Best Free Screenwriting Software in 2024

February 15, 2024

Free screenwriting software

"To make a great film, you need three things - the script, the script, and the script." —Alfred Hitchcock

And while it’s the script that will eventually sell your film or play, getting your script noticed is a whole other thing. For that, you can either follow the standard screenwriting format or use a screenwriting software.

So, to begin, open any average word processor and start working with a 12-point Courier Font. Indent 1.5 inches on the left margin and 1 inch on the right margin. Add 1 inch from the top and bottom. Dialogue names must be exactly 3.7 inches from the left side of the page and 2.2 inches from the margin. Actor parentheticals are to be placed exactly 3.2 inches from the left side of the page and so on.

You get the point. Formatting screenplays can be a major challenge that hinders your creativity.

Luckily, there’s a helpful tool called screenwriting software that automatically formats scripts, provides character analysis, and ultimately maximizes your script’s potential. To help you get started, we've compiled the best free screenwriting software based on authentic user reviews. 

These free screenwriting tools either offer time-limited trials or a free forever plan. If you're researching and testing screenwriting software solutions before buying one, this is where you get started.

Top 6 best free screenwriting software in 2024

Screenwriting software offer a variety of tools for script outlining, formatting, character and plot organization, collaborating with other users, storyboarding, and scheduling to streamline the writing process and support the creation of professional-quality screenplays.

The list below contains real user reviews from the best screenwriting software page. It’s important to note that in the context of this list, vendors that offer a free trial are also considered here. To be included in this category, a solution must:

  • Provide auto-formatting for standard screenplay formats
  • Offer additional functionalities like character notes, scene ordering, and team collaboration
  • Have a paid subscription model or an option to download it directly onto a PC

*This data was pulled from G2 in February, 2024. Some reviews may have been edited for clarity.

1. Celtx

Celtx is a versatile screenwriting software that offers a range of products for writing, story development, pre-production, and production. It has an intuitive user interface with multiple helpful features like script formatting for different media, storyboarding, collaboration space, and other story development and production tools.

Celtx can be downloaded on a desktop or used as an online application. The basic scriptwriting plan is available at free of cost and allows you to work on one project. 

What users like best:

"I love the ability to access Celtx online. I used this program in my screenwriting courses during undergrad, and it was a downloadable program. Now that it is in an online cloud format, I can work on my scripts anywhere, regardless of which device I am accessing them. Additionally, I can now collaborate with my friends and colleagues on a script and receive feedback quickly."

- Celtx Review, Nuu G.

What users dislike:

"The price per month makes this a bit of an expensive solution. Though fairly reasonably priced for the solution overall if you are already running a business in this area. For someone just starting in film production, having extra monthly costs may prove a bit difficult."

- Celtx Review, Misha W.

2. Final Draft

Final Draft is a popular screenwriting software among film, television, and multimedia productions. With refined beat boards and story maps, Final Draft helps organize story ideas and keep writers on track with visual guidelines. It also has features like real-time collaboration, revision mode, and tags mode to simplify your scriptwriting and life. You can sign up for a 30-day free trial to see how the tool works. 

What users like best:

"Final Draft is the best application we've tried for screenwriting because of its shrewd devices for designing your work to proficient particulars. It additionally offers spaces to assist you with creating stories, similar to the Story Guide and Beat Board. It permits you to simply start composing when you open it without us agonizing over the configuration. Also, different elements like notes taking and working with various drafts of similar contents is incredibly simple. It is an extremely easy to understand programming."

- Final Draft Review, Khalid R.

What users dislike:

"Final Draft comes out with new versions every year, and instead of being able to just access those versions once you've bought the software, you have to buy it again. That's slightly irritating, because the software is $300. It's not that it isn't worth it, it's just that I wish I didn't have to pay for basically the same thing, albeit with a few new wrinkles, every single year even if it is at a discount."

- Final Draft Review, Eric F.

3. Tinkerlist

Tinkerlist is a cloud-based software that offers a collaborative space for professional screenwriters and production teams. It allows for real-time live script updation, easy integration with other platforms, and hosts tools for crew planning, budgeting, and scheduling. Tinkerlist also provides a training session to get you started. You can get started with a free trial.

What users like best:

“Tinkerlist has complete control for the business communications streams, allowing firms to interrelate with clients and employees fully. Besides, Tinkerlist emphasizes on innovation, which is the primary driver for extensive firm development. Finally, Tinkerlist is the guide in matters of content publication..”

- Tinkerlist Review, Jordin M.

What users dislike:

“Tinkerlist is extensively decided and comprehensive in matters communications. The application engages different stakeholders and media houses to enhance classified communications.”

- Tinkerlist Review, Jordin M.

4. Arc Studio Pro

Arc Studio Pro is a professional screenwriting software option for professionals and beginners. It offers a real-time collaborative space like Google Docs making it easy for multiple users to work on a project together. Arc Studio Pro provides other features like a digital whiteboard, an industry-standard formatting tool, cloud sync, PDF export, and revision management. The free forever plan lets you try the tool for writing two scripts. 

What users like best:

“Easy to use and share your ideas for creative collaboration with people. Editing your stories was never this easy.”

- Arc Studio Pro Review,  Danish A.

What users dislike:

“The free version of the service is browser only and has a limited number of scripts allowed.”

- Arc Studio Pro Review,  Verified User in Semiconductors

5. Plottr

Plottr is a popular visual book planning software that allows screenwriters to visualize plot points and create visual story cards for better storytelling. Screenwriters can also use this platform to color-coordinate and organize storylines. The platform also offers proven templates for you to get started and story bible for visually organizing characters and linking them to scenes. 

What users like best:

“Plottr has been super helpful in plotting out my novels. I love that there is a way to organize every kind of idea I have, from character development to plot points. The templates they provide are also super helpful.”

- Plottr Review,  Kristin M.

What users dislike:

“The inability to update existing files when importing from Scrivener.”

- Plottr Review,  Travis C.

6. MakeStoryBoard

MakeStoryBoard is an online storyboard software solution that helps screenwriters create video storyboards with images and illustrations. The platform also features drawing and animatic storyboard software to help screenwriters convert ideas into reality frame by frame. You can also use the platform to share feedback, receive approvals, and collaborate with other project members. The platform offers a free trial to help you get started. 

What users like best:

“Clear dashboard. Functionality. Collaborations features.”

- MakeStoryBoard Review,  Verified User in Computer Software

What users dislike:

“ I would like to see white label features in the dashboard.”

- MakeStoryBoard Review,  Verified User in Computer Software

Click to chat with G2's Monty-AI

And now for the end credits

Whether you’re an aspiring writer or a seasoned professional, screenwriting software is vital for outlining your script and analyzing characters and plot development.

All of the free screenwriting tools mentioned above are great budget-friendly options for getting started with that award-winning idea.

Are you ready to bring the drama to the stage? Check out the best video editing software to transform your script into a cinematic blockbuster.

screenwriting software A happy ending

Focus on writing your masterpiece and let screenwriting software take care of everything else.

screenwriting software A happy ending

Focus on writing your masterpiece and let screenwriting software take care of everything else.

6 Best Free Screenwriting Software in 2024 Screenwriting software brings your scripts to life. Check out this list of the six best free screenwriting software in 2024, based on real user reviews.
Michael Gigante Mike is a former market research analyst focusing on CAD, PLM, and supply chain software. Since joining G2 in October 2018, Mike has grounded his work in the industrial and architectural design space by gaining market knowledge in building information modeling, computer-aided engineering and manufacturing, and product and machine design. Mike leverages his knowledge of the CAD market to accurately represent the space for buyers, build out new software categories on G2, and provide consumers with data-driven content and research. Mike is a Chicago native. In his spare time he enjoys going to improv shows, watching sports, and reading Wikipedia pages on virtually any subject.

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