Did you know that you can start writing a screenplay with Microsoft Word or Google Docs? No need to purchase expensive software like Final Draft.
We have a convenient screenplay template for you to download here so you don’t even have to changing the font, spacing, margins, or style rules — you can just download our perfectly formatted screenplay template and then open it in Microsoft Word or upload it to your Google Docs account and start writing your screenplay.
There’s no need to go through the hassle of adjusting margins, spacing and font when you’re using Arc Studio professional screenwriting software (there’s a free version too). But if you want to stick with Word or Google Docs, we’ve listed step-by-step instructions here:
You can write a script using the style set forth in the instructions below.
You’ll want to make sure your margins are set up correctly. You can do this in Microsoft Word by going to Layout > Size to choose the paper size. Then go to Margins > Custom Margins. Use the settings below for US Letter paper size:
Top: 1 inch
Bottom: 1 inch
Left: 1.5 inches
Right: 0.5 inches
For A4 Paper (Europe), set the margins to:
Top: 1.35 inches
Bottom: 1.35 inches
Left: 1.5 inches
Right: 0.3 inches
The Hollywood-standard font that all professional screenwriters use is Courier. You can also use Courier New in Google Docs.
That familiar look of a screenplay comes from the all-important white space which is created by the industry-standard formatting due to line spacing, indentation and centering dialogue on the page.
The line spacing will establish the white space before or after a line. Press Ctrl + A (or Cmd + A on a Mac) to select all, then set the line spacing Exactly 12 points (or Exactly 1 in Google Docs). In Microsoft Word go to Home > Line Spacing Options from the Line Spacing menu. In Google Docs: Go to Format > Line spacing > Custom spacing.
Most text in a screenplay is aligned to the left, which is the default for Word and Google Docs. The important exception to this is transition lines, which align to the right.
Page numbers are important so that collaborating writers or filmmakers can reference certain pages in development or production. Page numbers should be in in Courier font. In Microsoft Word: Open Insert tab > Page Number. Change position of the page number to Top of page and turn off the Show number on first page option, because you don’t want it on the title page. After clicking OK, double-click your page number to change font and size to 12 point Courier.
To do this in Google Docs, click Insert > Page Numbers and select the second option to show numbers after the first page.
You’re done! You can save it as a template in Microsoft Word. Simply go to File > Save as Template.
While you can’t save it as a template in Google Docs, instead you can create a copy of the document for each screenplay you want to write.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial. If you want to skip all these steps and automate professional screenplay formatting, sign up for Arc Studio for free here!