Final Draft 8 Released Today


Just to let all of those scriptwriters who use Scrivener know, Final Draft 8 was released today. Final Draft 8 is a significant upgrade and has much more of a Mac feel to it than earlier versions. I was lucky enough to beta test, and I really like it; I think most users will be very happy with the upgrade.

More relevant to Scrivener, Final Draft 8 introduces a new XML-based file format, FDX, which replaces the older FDR as the default format. We are very happy to be in partnership with Final Draft and as such Scrivener 1.51, which is also released today, can import from and export to Final Draft 8 FDX format. It maintains FCF support for users of older versions, but FDX import and export is a massive improvement over FCF, allowing for any elements from custom scripts (such as comic scripts) to survive import and export, and also allowing for revisions and Scrivener footnotes becoming script notes and suchlike. Scrivener 2.0 will exploit the Final Draft FDX file format even more, allowing for script summaries to become Scrivener synopses and vice versa, but for now I feel confident that most users will appreciate the added benefits of FDX import and export, allowing for a much more seamless workflow between Scrivener and Final Draft.

Be sure to give me feedback on how you get on. I’ll be posting more information about this integration on the blog tomorrow, and there will be a video tutorial on using the two programs together out in the next few days.

Thanks and all the best,

Sorry if I’m being thick here, Keith, but can you or someone elaborate a little on how and why Scrivener and FD8 would work together. Given all the auto complete stuff in FD I can’t quite see why one would want to write a script in Scrivener then simply export it. Is the idea to use Scrivener as some kind of story development tool? Or for putting together a scene-by-scene treatment? Or what?

Well, quite a few people already do write their scripts in Scrivener and then export it to Final Draft. Although FD obviously has better auto-complete, Scrivener’s scriptwriting features make it possible to use Scrivener for developing a script in much the same way as you might develop a novel - placing scenes in different documents and dragging them around etc. Obviously at some point the serious scriptwriter is going to want to get this out to something like Final Draft - hence the better import/export functionality. This was driven by demand from users who already use this workflow - it’s not a completely leftfield addition!

All the best,

OK - will mess around and try. FD8 is a really big improvement all round on what was really very dire software before I think. Though since it seems to be the standard format 'tis hard to ignore. Wasn’t trying to diss Scrivener’s scriptwriting features but I just wondered why you’d buy FD then write the movie in Scrivener.
FD give you a nice mention here … rtners.php

It says ‘Scrivener helps you develop your ideas creatively. Whether you are writing a book, short story, script or research-paper, Scrivener provides all the features you need without constraining you to an imposed rigid format. Edit multiple documents within the same project, rearrange your storyboard with an index-card laden corkboard, view an outline of your entire project, associate keywords, even closeout the rest of the world by entering full-screen editing.’

PS - on the subject of monospaced fonts and the P22 discussion here -

I have to say I just tried the new version of Final Draft Courier instead. It looks pretty good too, and has bold and italic for those who need it. Am torn…

It’s more like the other way round. If you have Scrivener, there’s way less need for FD, which then becomes not much more than a cosmetic tool for spec scripts. If you’re in production, it’s a whole other thing as FD is the Word of screenplays - the industry standard, particularly in America.

Most of my screenplay writing isn’t done as a script - it’s done as chunks of prose divided into story beats. Turning this into script is done fairly late in the day, and for me, with the quality monitor off. I can offered to take let loose because I’ve set myself up a workable structure before I get to scripting. I do the first draft of the script in story beats, a few pages per Scrivener document. Once I’ve got a script, it’s ‘something to change’, and I like to be able to read it as a single document. That could mean exporting as an rtf, or compiling it in Scriv or, maybe importing it into FD. Depends on my mood.

From the FD website, it looks like FD’s moving towards the Scrivener model of chunking things up rather than merely being a formatter, and I’m interested to see how that pans out. I think Keith’s got the amount of screenplayness in Scriv about right (though I still can’t stand the OS X text engine limitations); I want to see how FD come at it from the other direction.

Me too, but out of interest, which limitations in particular?

Okay, posted my response to spinningdoc in his thread, but wanted to chime in here.

I think the answer to the question above is “the same reason you use Scrivener period.” Scrivener’s chunky method of doing things is a vastly superior way to go about any kind of fiction writing. You can write a novel in Word or Pages or Nisus, but you come to Scrivener for a specific kind of workflow, with a specific kind of flexibility.

I’m a little late to this thread, so I want to go back to FD’s website to figure out what Keith means by FD adapting a chunky style. I was getting a different message – that they figured out what they did well, and were happy to Just Work with Scrivener et al.

Stuff that’s been rehearsed on here already really. I still don’t understand how TextEdit and its ilk deal with styles at all, to the extent that I just don’t use them. And the other one is that styles are done as macros rather than markup, so that if, for instance, I decide to tweak the indent for dialogue, it only works on subsequent text, and then the template doesn’t recognise previous versions because it can’t match up the settings.

In truth, they’re not that big a deal, and massively outweighed by the advantages of Scrivener workflow. To an extent too, since I can’t successfully muck about with element settings, it’s one less thing to procrastinate over. In the absence of FD, I’m quite able to format in a WP more or less as a final pass before sending something off.

“what Keith means by FD adapting a chunky style”

I think chunky was my word…

All I meant by it was that they seem to have embraced cards and various other structural bits and pieces a bit more.

Ah. Yeah, I don’t think that’s where they’re going. They’ve nodded in that direction by enhancing their index card functionality and reintroducing the scene navigator window, but I’d be surprised to see FD move a more Montage/Scrivener-like direction. It doesn’t make sense for them to do so – that’s a pretty steep learning curve, and they have a responsibility to their installed base. Professionals, especially. When you have almost the entire American TV industry using your software, I think you’d tread lightly when it comes to overhauling the way people use your software.

I know I’ve mentioned this, and you responded to me and I completely understand why it isn’t possible, but Dual Dialogue.

With Scrivener 2.0 you will be able to allocate certain ranges of text to become dual dialogue when it gets exported to FD8 - it won’t look like dual dialogue in Scrivener, but it will become so in the FDX file.
All the best,

Does this mean also that it would theoretically be possible to export as a dual-column AV script, such as used in Final Draft AV? And even if it isn’t really planned, could you (at your leisure, of course) take a look at Celtx’s implementation of it to see what I mean? Composition is done in a single column, but Celtx moves the appropriate sections to a second column on export. I know this has been brought up in another thread, but it’s worth revisiting.

I tried make an AV template using tables, but that’s another limitation of the OS X text engine, one I hope shall be greatly improved under Snow Leopard.



Two column AV scripts are a huge pain, not helped when clients insist on having them as Word documents so they can use the abomination called ‘track changes’. I’ve been known to plead Mac incompatibility and make them deal with pdf’s.

And yet, and yet… Word is the least worst I’ve found for this. I don’t like the Celtx/FD AV paradigm because it isn’t WYSIWYG. Neo grinds to the speed of sloth with piles, Pages can’t split cells, Mellel is pants with tables and its developers openly admit it, Nisus is okay to use but formatting goes askew on re-importing into Word. And as you say, anything involving tables and the OS X text engine is just not worth countenancing.

I’d love to find a way round this.


I’m in the same situation regarding clients and Word documents with Track Changes, and I have yet to find an elegant solution that works for me. I have a Mac Mini on my desk at home and an iBook that I carry to the office, coffee shops, wherever else I care to write. I have Word installed on the Mini but not the iBook as MS Office 08 is unbearably sluggish on PowerPC machines. I have Pages installed on both machines.

My workflow, which seems to change with every new project, involves some combination of either Word or Pages, Scrivener and a lot of cutting and pasting. I prefer Pages for the back and forth with the client because its I feel its Track Changes feature is more elegant and aesthetically more pleasing than Word’s. But Word, when I’m at home to use it, is better for creating the document. I tend to write everything for the right column, the audio column, in Scrivener and then cut and paste the bits I need into Word, filling in the video column in Word after the continuity has all been arranged.

I’d like to know your workflow, especially if you’ve found a better way to work Scrivener into it. As I noted above, I’m hoping that Snow Leopard fixes the tables implementation in the OS X text engine. Still, it would do nothing to improve the experience on my iBook, which is where I do most of my writing. I’d prefer not to have to open another program until I had everything written for both columns in Scrivener, but until I can think of a better way I’m stuck with Word or Pages.

RE: AV Script Functionality In Scrivener

Don’t. Please. Seriously. Just walk away. Let someone else do it. It’ll be too hard, too time-sucking, too not-Scrivener-y. It’s bad business, it’s bad karma.

I write a LOT of commercials, and I deal with the frustration of Word’s multi-column functionality every day. It’s bad for all of the reasons mentioned above, and for a myriad of other reasons – chief among them, Word’s works-when-it-wants-to formatting functionality. Why backspacing in a cell suddenly changes margin settings (and even fonts) is beyond me.

That said, as smart a developer as you’ve turned out to be, I’d hate for you to turn your efforts to such an endeavor, even for a second. Walk through the door of multi-column scripts and you’re entering a world of bloat, of frustration, of mandatory Microsoft compatibility. Emphasis on the word mandatory – if you can’t export perfectly to Word, there’s no reason to do it at all. So don’t do it.

The two-column script is, bar none, the worst format for reading and writing ever. It’s ugly and ungainly, like writing a play in a spreadsheet. Having this functionality would make me like Scrivener less.

This is not your fish to fry, my friend.



Why not use a spread sheet for this (AV)? When you are finished, embed the sheet in the doc. Not that you could pay me to work this way, but seems to me it would work.

A very good solution for others – I know of a few people who do it this way. Spreadsheets and I don’t get along, though. I thought about getting better at it when Numbers arrived, but I frankly don’t want to deal with the learning curve for something I don’t like doing much anyway.

I’m looking as we speak, however, for a spreadsheet AV script template I can import to Numbers. You never know. Thanks for the incentive.

Sean makes some good points. Unless there exists some brilliant open source Cocoa tables code that you could just paste into Scrivener, it may not be worth your time.

And don’t get me started on Word’s unpredictable cell formatting. I’m constantly pasting text from one cell to another, erasing everything but the first character to preserve formatting, typing what I’d like to replace it with, then erasing the first character of the pasted text. There are better ways to do this, I’m sure, but I haven’t bothered to learn any of them.

So Sean… do you work entirely in Word for AV projects or do you primarily compose in other software? I wish there was a decent two column AV template for Word. I usually take a previously written script and replace the text in the already-existing cells or just create something new from scratch. Both methods leave much to be desired.