Why do you need to write a script?
When you think of screenwriting, you may picture the gig worker in LA running around trying to get everyone to read their screenplay. The truth, however, is that script writing is in high demand. The golden age of streaming has opened up new doors for writers, while video content platforms like TikTok open up the need for scripts.
Even advertisers need scripts. Social media is opening new avenues for video marketing, and a well-thought-out ad can elevate your brand to the next level.
Whether you’re into film, ads, TV, theatre, video, or games, you’re looking for a free and easy way to write scripts. Here are 7 free screenwriting software tools to do just that.
Available for: Mac, Windows, and Linux. Android and iOS for pro users.
Created by a small team based in Russia, this open-source screenwriting program is a hidden gem. While it may be less inviting for new users than some of the other software on this list, it gives you all the tools you need, completely free. No watermarks, no limits.
Beyond the basic script function, it has a number of attractive tools for writers. You can toggle between light and dark mode, quickly switch languages, and adjust auto-save. There are some great research tools as well. You can collect relevant URLs, images, and create a mind map, all stored alongside your project.
That being said, there are some limits. It can import scripts from other programs such as Final Draft and Celtx, but the process isn’t very intuitive. You also need to upgrade to the Pro version to get access to real time collaboration tools. Still, KIT Scenarist is the most full-featured free screenwriting tool available for Mac.
Premium pricing: $5/mo billed every 1-3 months, $27.99 for 6 months, $52.99 for one year.
Need graphic design help?
Try Penji’s Unlimited Graphic Design and get all your branding, digital, print, and UXUI designs done in one place.Learn More
2) Arc Studio
Available for: Mac, Windows, and iOS.
Arc Studio’s sleek, modern design and easy collaboration tools for writing partners have made it a buzzing newcomer in the writing world.
Unlike Arc Studio Pro, the free version has certain limits: scripts export with watermarks, and you can only have two stored in-app at a time. You also won’t be able to access those collaboration tools I just mentioned. Still, its gorgeous interface in both the desktop and web app makes it a great choice for building cool scripts.
Premium pricing: $69/year (Essentials) or $99/year (Pro).
Available for: Windows and Linux.
Trelby is the rare script writing software on the market that’s actually free. No freemium, no locked pro features, no watermarks. It’s a truly limitless software, with support for Final Draft, Fade In, Adobe Story, Celtx, and Fountain scripts.
That being said, it’s not for everyone. Its lack of Mac availability will no doubt turn some away. It’s not as intuitive or slickly designed as many modern programs; its most recent update came out in 2012.
Think of it like the Audacity of screenwriting. It’s free, but it’s not as user-friendly as some paid alternatives. It may not have as many bells and whistles, but it’s still a fully functional screenwriting tool that savvy Windows and Linux users will love.
Premium pricing: N/A
4) Highland 2
Available for: Mac only.
Founded by Corpse Bride screenwriter John August, Highland 2 is a sleek Mac app that offers easy conversion between .fdx, .pdf, and other common script formats.
As an editor, it has a number of attractive features. It’s easy to begin writing with one of their free templates, and dynamic notes help you keep track of your big ideas. There’s no time limit, and you can keep and export as many scripts as you want. However, exports in the free version are watermarked.
Premium pricing: One-time payment of $49.99. Currently-enrolled students can access Highland Pro for free.
5) Fade In
Available for: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
Fade In touts its use by industry professionals like Rian Johnson and Craig Mazin. It’s feature-rich, not far off from Final Draft, with a few extra perks that make it an attractive alternative.
It’s much easier to change and adjust your font in Fade In, where Final Draft requires you to click a drop-down menu. It also makes it easy to download new fonts, templates, and dictionaries.
Another key feature, collaboration, is only available in the full-price version. The free version is otherwise just about unlimited. Like most free screenwriting software, it leaves a watermark on your PDFs and print-outs.
Premium pricing: Fade In’s full version costs $79.95.
Available for: Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Causality sets itself apart from other free screenwriting software options with its emphasis on story. Rather than presenting your document like a word processor, it lets you consider it in terms of story beats. You can edit each beat separately and organize them in the beat map on the right.
These tools are great for storytellers with a nonlinear style. While it may not be useful for ads and short-form content, it’s great for film and video game writing.
With the free version, you can only write up to ten pages at a time. This undoes a lot of the beat format’s utility, but it’s still a handy program with no file limits or watermarks.
Premium pricing: $5.99/mo billed annually, $7.99/mo billed monthly. One-time permanent license available for $279.
Available for: Mac, Windows, and Linux.
DramaQueen’s free version is among the more full-featured free screenwriting software on the market. With unlimited files and no watermarks, it’s truly a free software, although the Pro and Plus versions come with additional features.
As easy as it is to dive in, DramaQueen Free only creates a standard file format. This means there aren’t any additional templates. If you want to create a series, you’ll have to do it in separate files. Still, this is how many writers like to work anyway.
On top of this, the free version lacks certain outlining and storytelling tools that are ideal for feature-length screenwriters. If you need a script for an ad or short-form video, DramaQueen Free is perfect. And even if you’re making a feature, this service gives you all the bare essentials.
Premium pricing: $99 for Plus, $198 for Pro.
Conclusion: the state of free screenwriting software
The line between free, freemium, and free trial software seems to only get thinner. Tools like Celtx, once revered as the go-to free screenwriting software, now exist in a barely-usable two-document trial form.
No free screenwriting software is without its limits. But if you want to write scripts without breaking the bank, there are plenty of options available. We specifically picked out software that doesn’t have hard limits on how many files you can create for free. Whether you’re a filmmaker, a marketer, or a general creative, these software programs have you covered.