Last Updated on September 17th, 2022 by Chris Von Wilpert

7 Best Screenwriting Software of 2022 (30 Tools Reviewed)

Last Updated on September 17th, 2022 by Chris Von Wilpert

Today there are 34 different screenwriting software to write your screenplay with. We spent 42 hours comparing the top 30 to find the seven best you can use to write amazing screenplays.  

What is the Best Screenwriting Software?

  1. Final Draft — best of the best
  2. Scrivener  — best for turning an existing story into a script
  3. Trelby — best free alternative
  4. WriterDuet — best for collaborative screenwriters
  5. Arc Studio Pro — best visual writing experience
  6. Fade In — best bang for the buck
  7. Squibler — best for simplest writing experience

Our Verdict — Best Of The Best

Price: $199.99

You can’t not mention Final Draft when discussing “screenwriting software”. 

They claim 95% of the entire film, television and multimedia productions run on Final Draft. It’s used by Pixar, BBC, ABC, Universal, Netflix, and many more.

Get it if you want to deliver scripts in Hollywood’s standard.

If you’re a greenhorn in the screenwriting world and on a budget, I suggest you start with a free option like Trelby.

I recommend you get started with their 30-day free trial, then purchase the software for $199.99 (there’s a 20% discount at the time of writing)

(30-day free trial)

Best For

Final Draft is best for people who are serious about writing screenplays for film, TV, or any type of screenplay styles. It's the #1 option for most professional screenwriters.

What We Like

  • Hear your story come to life with their text-to-speech technology, which will read your story back to you with different voices for each character.
  • Goodbye blank page — their 300+ templates will push you to kickstart your screenplays, teleplays, comics, graphic novels, and stage plays.
  • Considerably cut down on your typing time with their SmartType feature, by auto-filling commonly used character names, locations, and more.

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s fairly expensive. It’s the pricier option on this list, so it may be a little hard to justify if you're not yet a professional writer (at least you don't have to pay a monthly subscription fee though).
  • Upgrades aren’t included and you’ll have to pay extra to upgrade to a new version of the software, with a discount.
  • Not the best for greenhorns since there’ll be a bit of a learning curve to this software.

Try Final Draft today with a free 30-day trial.

Our Verdict — Best For Turning An Existing Story Into A Script

Price: $49

Scrivener is a software for all types of creative writers.

It works just like an old school ring-binder on steroids, allowing you to gather your material and flick between parts of your manuscript, notes and references, easy-peasy.

Get it if you want to turn your existing books and stories into scripts.

If you’re going to start a new project from scratch, go with Final Draft instead.

(30-day free trial)

Best For

Scrivener is best for people who write novels or long-form stories (both fiction and non-fiction).

What We Like

  • Easily import existing text from Word, PDF, Final Draft, etc, and they’ll automatically convert into the format of any template you choose.
  • It’s a breeze to share your work by printing, self-publishing, or exporting to popular formats such as Word, PDF, Final Draft or plain text. 
  • Never lose work with rewrites. With their Snapshot feature you'll be able to return to an earlier version whenever you want. Can't remember what changed? The "Compare" feature will show you in a glimpse.

What We Don’t Like

  • Steep learning curve. There are so many functions and tools that Scrivener may feel intimidating to newcomers.
  • The writing supporting tools aren’t as strong as Final Draft, even though it does a good job in keeping your story arc organized.
  • Your license won’t work on different platforms. Bought the Windows version, but want to work on your iPhone this weekend? You’ll have to buy another license.

Try Scrivener today with a free 30-day trial.

Our Verdict — Best Free Alternative

Price: Free

Trelby is flexible, customizable, and free, making it perfect for beginner screenwriters who are on a budget, educational purposes, demonstrations, and tutorials.

Get it if you’re just getting started with screenwriting or if you don’t want to take a pinch on your wallet.

If you want something that’s more “professional grade”, go with Final Draft instead.

(free forever)

Best For

Trelby is best for people getting started with screenwriting, or screenwriters who fit the “struggling writer” stereotype.

What We Like

  • Trelby is an open-source free software, so you can add more functionality and features with scripts and codes free of cost from Github. 
  • Coming up with your script is easy, as Trelby enforces correct script formatting and pagination, because of its in-built screenplay editor.
  • It’s an absolute breeze to use. You’ll be able to fire it up and get to writing in the right industry-standard formatting, right away.

What We Don’t Like

  • It lacks some of the more advanced features that you'll find on other screenwriting softwares on this list, like collaboration or cloud storage.  Production features such as page/scene locking, colored revisions, etc will never be available on Trelby, according to their site..
  • The writing experience gets a little frustrating as you have no bold, italics, or underlining options.
  • Lack of long-term support — the latest update on the product was made in 2012 (but you can add new functionality with Github downloads).

Try Trelby today for free.

4. WriterDuet

Our Verdict — Best For Collaborative Screenwriters

Price: Starts at $9.99/month

WriterDuet is the perfect screenwriting software for those who work with writing partners, and need strong real-time collaboration capabilities.

Get it if you have a team of multiple writers and you want to be able to simultaneously edit your scripts without ruining other’s work.

If you still need collaboration tools but don’t have multiple writers working on the same script at the same time, you should go with Final Draft instead.

Best For

WriterDuet is best for people who write with writing partners and need to keep track of all the changes, at all times.

What We Like

  • Free, fully-functional demo version. Their free plan lets you write three projects with no page limits or watermarks. You get to fire away with unlimited writing for up to three complete screenplays. 
  • Write from anywhere. WriterDuet supports all kinds of browsers and mobile devices.
  • WriterDuet’s interface is stupid simple, which you may find to be a good thing. Fire it up, start collaborating.

What We Don’t Like

  • Too many pricing tiers make it a bit hard to choose the best option for your situation, while the coolest features are only found on the upper pricing plans.
  • It can feel a bit underwhelming for experienced writers, as the interface is super simple with less access to tools that help you write your story.
  • Can get a bit clunky if you’re working on browsers other than Chrome.

Try WriterDuet today for free, on their free plan.

5. Arc Studio Pro

Our Verdict — Best Visual Writing Experience

Price: Free - $99/year

Arc Studio Pro is designed to be as minimalistic and distraction-free as possible, but it really shines with its interactive features. 

You can take a step back, look at your story from a 10,000 ft view and set the beat throughout your storyline. It’s magic, if you’re a visual writer.

Get it if you want to visually set the beat of your story, from a 10,000 ft view.

If you’re just looking to put your head down and write away, go with Final Draft instead.

Best For

Arc Studio Pro is best for visual people who want to be able to see and control how their story develops in their reader's mind.

What We Like

  • Visually lay your story arc with the “Arc Mode”. Instead of flipping through pages, this allows you to actually see the pace of your story, and set the beat as your storyline evolves. This is one of the coolest story development tools I've seen on any current writing software.
  • It’s comfy to write on Arc Studio Pro. The sleek, intuitive look really sets the mood for writing. The dark mode is a welcome plus.
  • Time travel and save that old line. Even if you delete a page or a full revision by accident while you were offline, all your past work can be retrieved in a couple of clicks. 

What We Don’t Like

  • It lacks some basic features on the basic plans — I guess I can understand real-time collaboration and auto-backups not being available on the free plan, but I believe they should be available on the essentials plan ($69/year). You can only get those on the Pro plan ($99/year).
  • Free plan won’t cut it. It’ll do if you want to test the software or practice screenwriting… but all your PDF exports will be watermarked on the free plan. You don’t want to hand out those.
  • Their cool desktop app is not available on the free plan. You can only use the browser app, which is fantastic… but some free users might wish they could use it when offline.

Try Arc Studio Pro today for free, on their free plan.

6. Fade In

Our Verdict — Best Bang For The Buck

Price: $79.95

Fade In is an incredibly robust tool that provides screenwriters with a massive array of writing tools.

For about half the price of Final Draft, Fade In is a strong alternative for serious screenwriters.

Get it if you want a prime screenwriting experience, without paying an arm and a leg.

Best For

Fade In is best for people who want to have a prime screenwriting experience without having to resort to Final Draft. If you're screenwriting for video games, choose Fade In.

What We Like

  • Show, don’t tell with Fade In’s unique ”action-to-dialogue statistics tool”, which reports the stats of how much action you have in your script compared to dialogue.
  • Open, edit, and save Final Draft files flawlessly, allowing you to work with industry standard files, without having to pay the hefty price tag for it.
  • Keep your story consistent with their “dialogue tuner” tool, which offers alternative dialogue ideas that may be more consistent with how your character has behaved along your script.

What We Don’t Like

  • You’ve got to pay for cloud backups, as Fade In stores scripts in Dropbox, Google Drive or other third-party cloud services.
  • Inconsistent PDF Import tool could use improvements, as bold and italic text sometimes don’t import with specific fonts.
  • Watermarked script exports on any printed/PDF outputs on the free trial, making them unusable if you want to hand them out to people.

Try Fade In today for free, with their free trial version.

7. Squibler

Our Verdict — Best For Distraction-Free Writing Experience

Price: $9.99/month

Squibler offers a fantastic writing experience for those who want professional-grade screenwriting software, but don’t want to shell out a lot of upfront money.

They claim to be “the easiest way to write a screenplay”, and they've got a point there.

Get it if you're looking for a simple, streamlined writing process that doesn’t need a big upfront investment.

If you want to have the full “screenwriting pro” experience, go with Final Draft instead.

Best For

Squibler is best for screenwriters who want professional-grade screenwriting features without a big upfront investment.

What We Like

  • Great in-depth “how to” content on writing screenplays, novels, books, and more.
  • Get your writing unstuck with a ready-to-use screenwriting template. With 500+ story ideas on their “story prompt generator” and “plot generator” tools, you'll never run out of ideas.
  • Distraction-free writing experience with their features that let you outline, customize, and collaborate easily. You’ll pick it up in no time.

What We Don’t Like

  • The software can get laggy at times. Sometimes, when you click on a chapter, there is an annoying delay before it all loads.
  • It’s not as powerful as other options. While Squibler does a great job, it doesn’t quite give the full screenwriting experience like Final Draft does.
  • Eventual formatting bugs have been reported by some users, such as struggles using parentheticals in script dialogues, and exports with the wrong fonts.

Try Squibler free with a 14-day free trial.

Our Top Three Picks

Here’s a quick summary of our top three picks:

  1. Final Draft — best of the best
  2. Scrivener  — best for turning an existing story into a script
  3. Trelby — best free alternative

Here’s a quick comparison of our top seven picks:

Tool

Entry Offer

Pricing

Final Draft

30-day free trial

$199.99 (one-time)

Scrivener

30-day free trial

$49 (one-time)

Trelby

Free

Free

WriterDuet

Free plan

Starts at $9.99/month

Arc Studio Pro

Free plan

Free - $99/year

Fade In

Free trial version

$79.95

Squibler

14-day free trial

$9.99/month

Here are the top 30 screenwriting software we considered in this review:

  1. Final Draft
  2. Scrivener
  3. Trelby
  4. WriterDuet
  5. Arc Studio Pro
  6. Fade In
  7. Squibler
  8. Kit Scenarist
  9. Movie Magic Screenwriter
  10. Celtx Studio
  11. StudioBinder
  12. Tinkerlist
  13. Highland 2
  14. MasterWriter
  15. Fountain
  16. Dramatica Pro
  17. Script Studio (formerly Movie Outline)
  18. Causality
  19. Prewrite
  20. Maveny
  21. Slugline
  22. Storyline Creator
  23. Studiovity
  24. Asengana
  25. Filmustage
  26. Adobe Story
  27. Scriptation
  28. Storyist
  29. ScriptBuilder
  30. LivinWriter

The Bottom Line

Here are our top picks for the best HRIS systems to try this year:

  1. Final Draft — best of the best
  2. Scrivener  — best for turning an existing story into a script
  3. Trelby — best free alternative
  4. WriterDuet — best for collaborative screenwriters
  5. Arc Studio Pro — best visual writing experience
  6. Fade In — best bang for the buck
  7. Squibler — best for distraction-free writing experience

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