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March 10, 2023

The Best Screenwriting Software - Fully Updated For 2024

If you have an idea for your dream script but don’t know where to start one of your biggest worries might be how to format your script correctly. Maybe you started off 2024 with a goal in mind to write your first script but you've fallen by the way side.

Many writers worry that if they just start writing in Word or Docs they won’t use the correct scene headings or transitions. You can check out our blog post of the basics to allay your fears.

But even when you know what to do this can feel overwhelming. What if there were some free software that formatted your scripts correctly automatically that was designed for budding screenwriters?

This might be why your goals for 2024 have fallen by the wayside.

Thankfully there are many free options that can solve this problem for you so that you can embark on your screenwriting journey today.

In this blog, we’ll be breaking down the best screenwriting software that you can start using today, including our very own Arc Studio.

Arc Studio Pro

Arc Studio offers a fresh approach to scriptwriting, with a focus on collaboration and creativity. It features a modern interface, real-time collaboration, and a wealth of storytelling tools and resources.

A screenshot of Arc Studio screenwriting software
Arc Studio screenwriting software is a great option and the web browser version is free.

Best of all the standard version is completely free and we think worth checking out. You can download it here and check out our blogs on how to get to grips with some of its most advanced features.

Arc Studio works on Mac and Windows and it also has an app that works on iPad and iPhone meaning you can take it anywhere.

Final Draft

Until recently, this was the industry standard for screenwriting software and was used by most professional writers. It features advanced formatting options, collaboration tools, and a story development tool.

However many production houses have started to move away from it now and diversify. These days it can seem a bit dated and is more technical to use.

New features in version 12 have enhanced its functionality, like the Story Map (now the Outline Editor), an improved Beat Board, ScriptNotes that appear directly on the script pages, and expanded collaboration features. It's a paid software, generally priced at $250, though it's sometimes discounted to $199.

The cost is for a license for the most recent version, with upgrades available at an additional cost. Despite its price, its unparalleled formatting precision and advanced features like the SmartType for easy scene heading creation, make it a standout choice for serious screenwriters​

Arc Studio is a better choice for those on a budget or who are just starting out on their screenwriting journey.


This free, open-source software is perfect for independent filmmakers and those on a budget.

It offers basic formatting options, but also includes pre-production tools for scheduling and budgeting.

One of the standout features of Celtx is its collaboration capabilities, which allow multiple users to work on a project together in real time. This is a great option for filmmakers who want to work with their team on a project, regardless of where they are located.

Another of the standout qualities of Celtx is its formatting capability, which adheres to industry standards and simplifies the scriptwriting process. As you type, Celtx auto-formats your script, aligning it with the proper structure for scene headings, action lines, character names, dialogue, and transitions.

This feature is particularly beneficial for those who might be new to screenwriting, as it helps maintain professional formatting without the need to learn all the nuances manually.

Celtx also offers a variety of templates for different types of projects, including film scripts, stageplays, audio plays, and more. This makes it easy for users to get started with the software, as they can simply choose the template that best fits their needs.

While Celtx does offer a free version, it's worth noting that some of the more advanced features require a subscription, starting at around ten dollars a month. Arc Studio on the otherhand is free for the web version.

This may be a worthwhile investment for those looking to utilize its comprehensive pre-production capabilities.

Despite some minor imperfections, such as formatting quirks with parentheticals and title pages, Celtx remains a robust and cost-effective option for those in the screenwriting and filmmaking industry, especially students and independent filmmakers who can benefit from its collaborative environment


StudioBinder is a cloud-based project management and production software. This means it doesn’t just offer screenwriting capabilities.

It is designed specifically for filmmakers and all creative professionals. This innovative software provides a comprehensive solution that streamlines the entire pre-production process, from scriptwriting to scheduling and budgeting.

One of the standout features of StudioBinder that interests us as writers is its scriptwriting capabilities. The software allows writers to format their scripts, create character bios, and track revisions all in one place. This makes the writing process more efficient and organized, as writers can easily see all the information they need in one place.

These days it’s possible to start making your own films, putting them on YouTube, and starting a career as an independent filmmaker. If you’re hiring a team to help bring your vision to life then this software is perfect for helping you manage the entire process.

Besides screenwriting, StudioBinder provides functionalities for creating and managing call sheets, shooting schedules, storyboards, and shot lists. It's built to scale for projects of any size, from student films to large-scale productions. While the core screenwriting feature is free, more advanced production management tools are available at different subscription levels, with prices starting at $29 per month as of 2024 for managing multiple projects and increasing storage and collaboration capabilities​.

Using Google Docs instead

Google Docs is a free, cloud-based word-processing software that can be used for writing screenplays. Although it was not designed specifically for screenwriting, its basic formatting options and collaboration tools make it a popular choice for many writers.

A screenshot of a Google Doc formated in the style of a screenplay
Google Docs is another great free option that you can format to suit your needs.

Docs is especially useful for writers who need to work on their scripts while they are away from their desks, as they can easily access their scripts from any device.

Docs also include a number of basic formatting options that are essential for screenwriting, including margins, font options, and the ability to create and use templates.

This makes it easy for writers to format their scripts to meet industry standards.

One of the standout features of Google Docs is its collaboration tools, which allow multiple users to work on a script together in real time. This is a great option for writers who want to work with their co-writers, producers, or directors on a project, regardless of where they are located.

Another benefit of using Google Docs for screenwriting is that it is free to use. This makes it a great option for writers who are just starting out, or who are working on a budget. You can use our free template for Docs and Word by following this link.

However, it is important to note that Google Docs does not have all the advanced formatting options and pre-production tools that are available in dedicated screenwriting software. And since the basic version of Arc Studio is available for free and does include these features it’s a no-brainer to use this instead.

Google Docs Limitations

When considering Google Docs for screenwriting, it's important to recognize its limitations in comparison to specialized screenwriting software. While Google Docs offers flexibility and excellent collaboration features, it falls short in terms of screenplay formatting.

It does not automatically format text to industry standards, which can be a significant downside for writers looking to present their work professionally. Additionally, the lack of specialized tools for elements like scene numbering, character tracking, and revisions can make the screenwriting process more cumbersome.

For writers who prioritize ease of use and collaboration over intricate formatting, Google Docs can be a useful tool, but for those aiming for professional screenplay submission, it may not be the best choice.

Choose the best screenwriting software for you

Every writer is different and every writer is at a different stage of their career. Some writers may prefer to stick with Google Docs because it’s familiar and easy to use. Others trying to put together an entire independent film may be better off using Studiobinder because of its advanced options.

However, Arc Studio is a great option for most because it includes all of the industry standard tools you need to get your script from the first draft to getting noticed by leading agents and executives.

Start writing with Arc Studio today!


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With Arc Studio, you stay focused while writing your screenplay, craft better stories, and collaborate with ease.

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The Best Screenwriting Software - Fully Updated For 2024
Harry Verity

Harry is a professional writer. His first novel The Talk Show was published in the U.S and the U.K by Bloodhound Books in 2021 and he is currently working on adapting it for screen using Arc Studio. He's also written for Media Magazine - a UK magazine for students of A-level Film, Media and Television Studies. His journalism has appeared in The Guardian, Readers' Digest and Newsweek, amongst many other publications. He has just finished his second novel for young adults, set in a boarding school. He holds a BA in English from Loughborough University.

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Arc Studio is the new standard in screenwriting software: stay focused, craft better stories, and collaborate with ease.

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With Arc Studio pro, you stay focused while writing your screenplay, craft better stories, and collaborate with ease.

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