Best Screenwriting Apps For Mac
Best Screenwriting Software for Students You may have a great idea for a movie script, but proper formatting of a screenplay is daunting. The margins and spacing have to be uniform to separate scenes that require action shots and dialogue. Slugline is a simple, elegant app for the most important part of screenwriting: the writing part. On Mac The Mac App Store’s best-reviewed screenwriting app doesn’t have any buttons, rulers, talking paper clips, or simulated cork boards.
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Best Free Screenwriting App For Mac
30% OFF SALE until launch of Logline 2 (free upgrade for all Logline users)
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Logline is a screenwriting and outlining app that lets you write your screenplay, treatment and outline in one place.
‘Breaking story, writing pages, or revising anything, Logline helps me keep my head in the clouds, my imagination running strong.’ — Tom Benedek, writer of Cocoon and co-founder of Screenwriting Master Class
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No need to click buttons or menus to format your screenplay. Just type — Logline takes care of the rest.
Drag & Drop Outlining:
Logline helps you build and rearrange the foundation of your story, then never lose sight of it while you write.
Free, first-class tech support via email or phone. Visit http://loglineapp.com/help for assistance.
Logline uses plain text. This makes your work portable. Write on any device or platform using any text editor.
Powerful Export Options:
Write your screenplay, treatment and outline in one document. Logline helps you be a more organized and productive writer.
Designed for Writers:
It’s clean, simple and spacious. Choose the background that best fits the mood of your screenplay.
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Logline uses Fountain, a simple markup syntax for writing screenplays in plain text. Fountain allows you to edit your screenplay on any computer, device or platform. Learn more at http://fountain.io
Ratings and Reviews
Structural plus Organization of Writing = Outstanding App
I recently purchased LOGLINE and have found it to be more “USER FRIENDLY’ then most Screenwriting programs. I like how you can structure your writing, while writing dialogue. It helps that you can write scene by scene, structure your thoughts and write notes for reminders, concerning that particular scene. Once you have decided to add/subtract dialogue-rewrite, due to wanting to make a change, that will support that particular scene — to help move your scene forward and never having the need to return for corrections. I like how you can export the screenplay to Final Draft. How you can print out outlines, to view how your screenplay is progressing. There are so many advantages with this screenwriting program, compared to others. I feel that once you get started using this product, you will continue using it with a positive influence. I am truly “Thankful” for such an Aggressive Product in Screenwriting. It helps me spend more time doing what research is required, in developing my screenplay, while in production. Give it a try — you will not be Disappointed.
A great place to Organize, outlinbe and Write A Screenplay in one place
I first discovered the Fountain syntax for writing screenplays, after listening to John August on one of his podcasts. I was searching all the available running apps that could understand the Fountain syntax.
They all have a lot of functionality, when it comes to writing the screenplay. The thing that most are missing, is a good way to organize and outline. Logline is the best that I’ve seen, so far in terms of having an understandable system, for using the outline function of the Fountain screenwriting syntax, and visually represent a pretty similarly to notecards.
The pop-up side menu allows you to drag and drop sections very easily. That’s fantastic. And the way the display works they can highlight by changing the look of the font when you’re doing the screenplay section which pops out from the rest of the notes that you’ve written. Easy to scan your document with your eyes to find the sections of your screenplay.
Two things I would love to see in the upcoming version.
First would be the ability to preview the various export options without having to actually create a PDF. It works fine, but sometimes I can’t remember what levels of notes are going to be included out in A particular export layout, and I have to export them all before I can find the version that is most useful for me.
The other would be the ability to print out the Script with notes in place It would be very useful in the development stage of the script when you want to look at your notes and print out a hard copy to write on the page (you know, the ‘Old Fashioned’way).
Other than that, this is a great place to sit down and just get working on your story.
Really amazing app.
I am so glad I spent the 35 dollars on this app. It’s a really, really fantastic piece of software. And yes, the formatting DOES work. It’s a little odd initially, but after spending an hour with the app it was clear to me that I had a winner.
I’ve used slugine (a fine app, but not nearly as nice as this one), Fade In, Final Draft, and Celtx. I can definitively say that logline is by the far the best of the group.
OS X 10.9 or later, 64-bit processor
Age RatingRated 4+
- Family Sharing
- With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.
If you turn phrases for fun and/or profit, your best option for a Mac writing app depends on what you want to write, and how.
Sure, you could stick with a word processor to pour your thoughts onto the page — but you’ve got better choices. If you want something a little less stuffy, cluttered, and nine-to-five, or more focused on creative writing, we’ve found four solid choices that take two very different approaches to helping you express yourself. All are either Essentials or Editors’ Choices in the Mac App Store.
The first three apps on this list all take a similar no-frills approach to writing. They sport clean, minimalist interfaces, keep all your writing in a single window, can swap documents between their iOS and Mac versions, and use some variation of the Markdown syntax to handle all text formatting.
Ulysses impressed me most among this crowd for its breadth of features and ease of use. An outstanding series of introductory texts ease you into using Ulysses, one simple step at a time. Their witty writing allows you to learn the program while you’re using it.
If you want to track your own productivity, or challenge yourself to meet a certain word count, it’s easy to set goals from Ulysses’s dashboard. Don’t know Markdown XL, Ulysses’s native tongue? No worries — a handy cheat sheet of syntax waits behind a button at the top of the program. (Ulysses also supports old faithful keyboard shortcuts for bold, italic, and linked text, if you don’t want to type Markdown XL’s extra characters.)
Ulysses keeps these two features and a handful of others, including options to export your work to text, ePub, HTML, PDF, or DOCX formats, in pop-over menus that you can tear off and keep onscreen for easy reference.
Ulysses isn’t WYSIWYG; you can download themes to change up its color scheme at the Ulysses Style Exchange, but you can’t view the effects of your formatting until you preview or export it. The Style Exchange also offers a host of free templates for PDF, HTML, and ePub exports, with different looks, fonts, and styles.
Ulysses comes with built-in iCloud support to hand off documents between its Mac and iOS versions. It can also publish your work directly to your Medium or WordPress site, once you enter your account info. And its subscription model means that your monthly $4.99 fee unlocks the app on both the Mac and iOS.
Ulysses offers a lot of options in a polished, user-friendly package. Unfortunately, it has a good portion of its thunder stolen by…
- $4.99/month with a 14-day free trial — Download now!
Nearly everything Ulysses does, Bear does just as well, in an arguably prettier package. Bear’s fonts and color scheme, while still clean and stark, go easier on the eyes than Ulysses’s utilitarian gray. Its stats panel is much easier to read, though less detailed. And Bear strikes a happy medium between full WYSIWYG formatting and Markdown simplicity by clearly labeling different header tags as you create them, and offering the option to actually show text as bold or italic when properly marked.
I liked Bear’s tagging system, which makes it really easy to organize files. Just type in a hashtag anywhere in your document, and Bear will either create a category for it on the fly in its list of documents, or add that document to an existing category. I was also impressed with Bear’s ability to share a note to any program you’ve added to your Mac’s Sharing menu, including Facebook, Twitter, and Reminders.
Beyond that, Bear duplicates a lot of Ulysses’s virtues, from its overall interface to its friendly help files. And the program’s basic version, which packs plenty of power, is absolutely free on both Mac and iOS. However, to match Ulysses’s features, you’ll need to subscribe to Bear Plus, for $1.49 a month or $14.99 a year. That subscription gets you features like iCloud synching, ePub export, and customizable export themes, all of which Ulysses includes right out of the box.
- Free to download, $1.99/month or $14.99/year Bear Plus subscription — Download now!
Its stark black-and-white interface makes Ulysses look colorful. It feels brusque and utilitarian, not welcoming. On first use, the program dumps you right into its interface with no introduction. Its lean, efficient Help files explain the program well, but after Ulysses and Bear’s gentler tutorials, iA Writer’s lack of frills can feel jarring.
Word count and other stats are crammed into a tiny menu at the bottom of the window, and you can’t set goals for any of those parameters. They’re squeezed into the same small space as iA Writer’s Format and Syntax menus, which can format text or quickly highlight all the nouns, adverbs, adjectives, or other parts of speech in your document — a nifty feature undercut by lackluster interface design.
Finally, a real-time preview window can show you what your text will look like when it’s finished and formatted. But it feels odd to have the same text side by side; if you want to see what text looks like when formatted, why not just have a WYSIWYG editor?
iA Writer isn’t bad on its own merits, but with such impressive competition, it can’t help but suffer in comparison.
- $15 — Download now!
At the opposite end of the spectrum from its spartan rivals, Scrivener is a jumbo-sized Swiss army knife stuffed with a sometimes overwhelming array of fun and useful tools. The other programs in this roundup are undeniably more versatile, lending themselves just as well to note taking, blog posts, journalism, or technical writing as they do to writing fiction. In contrast, Scrivener’s built to serve the needs of folks writing novels, short stories, screenplays, and — given its ability to store pictures, cached web pages, and other research material alongside a given text — possibly term papers. For $45, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
Scrivener’s somewhat long in the tooth compared to its rivals here, with a dense but coherent interface filled with the kinds of colorful icons that seem to have fallen out of fashion among Mac apps. It arguably needs such a crowd of buttons to display even a fraction of the features stuffed into its every nook and cranny. (My favorite: A ridiculously options-laden name generator for authors in need of inspiration.) Scrivener’s user manual, however engagingly written, is 546 pages long. It’s not messing around.
Even after years of using Scrivener, I still sometimes find myself hunting through its menus in search of that one command I need. Consistently formatting text files in a given project to anything other than Scrivener’s default settings can be a pain, and it keeps its settings for targets and statistics in separate popup windows.
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But despite this complexity, Scrivener does a good job of getting out of your way. Scrivener offers an outline mode, and a corkboard mode that displays each of your scenes as virtual notecards on which you can hash out what happens when. But if you just want to start writing without worrying about its bells and whistles, you won’t have a problem. Because it’s so like the Finder, Scrivener’s system for storing scenes in various folders makes sense immediately. And like all the programs mentioned here, Scrivener offers a fullscreen mode that blots out everything but the text you’re working on, to avoid distractions.
Scrivener also offers a respectable if occasionally glitchy screenplay mode. It won’t replace Final Draft, but if you want to have fun writing a cinematic masterpiece about Dominic Toretto battling Dracula, you’ll end up with a decently formatted final product.
Scrivener also shines when it’s time to publish your work. Its voluminous list of export formats includes all the usual suspects, plus ePubs, Final Draft screenplay files, and even Kindle books. You can even select only specific chapters or files to compile and export — handy when you’ve got multiple drafts of a novel in a given file, but only want to create a PDF of the most recent one. However, this versatility has one glaring exception: Scrivener doesn’t support iCloud, though it can share documents between its iOS and Mac versions.
- $45 — Download now!
Which app is best?
If you want a jack-of-all trades writing app with WordPress, Medium, and iCloud support built in, Ulysses is your best bet. If you’re not willing to shell out $4.99 a month indefinitely, try the similar Bear first. You may not ever need its advanced features, which would give you a terrific writing app for free.
But if you’re serious about creative writing, and you want a stalwart companion to help drag stories out of your brain, Scrivener’s your best bet. Its learning curve is steeper, but its powerful features make that climb worthwhile.
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Got any favorite apps we haven’t mentioned here? Let us know in the comments below.
Free Screenwriting Software For Mac
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