Screenwriter - How to use Scrivener?

I believe I’m asking a new question and am in the right thread area to do it. At least I hope so…

If I do all my work outlining through first draft in Scrivener then how do I do the final draft in FD8? Specifically, I understand exporting the rough draft screenplay in Scrivener to FD8 and rewriting from there. But what about the Index Cards etc. that I used in panel view while writing that rough draft in Scrivener? How do I bring that all over to FD8? In other words, when I write a screenplay I love the fact that in Scrivener I can see my index cards in one panel while writing the rough draft in the other panel. But once I finish that rough draft and export it, that is just the beginning. Now I’m going to rewrite the rough draft for draft two. I will want to see my Index cards while I work on that next draft. Would I end up having to keep Scrivener opened to see my index cards while I also have Final Draft 8 opened to write that new draft? Still trying to figure out the best way to use Scrivener and FD8 before I being my new screenplay.

I’ve taken a close look at both and am quite familiar with both. Yes, FD8 has side by side which would serve my purpose in the above. But it seems that overall I’d rather be using Scrivener.


Instead of starting new threads, it’s best to maintain one general topic: Scrivener and FD 8. That topic has several aspects, and it will draw more readers and responses. You’re asking good questions, it’s just that they are appearing in various places, instead of one. But I’ll do my best to respond.

That link that I posted, in the thread before this one (see the problem?) led to a description of FD 8’s features. If you will check that out, you’ll see that Index Cards and Split Views are indeed features of FD 8. But will the cards transfer between Scrivener and FD 8?

See File: Compile Screenplay, and check everything that you want exported, especially Synopses. Then select the Export Format as Final Draft 8, FDX. I suspect that FD 8 will show you the Synopses as its Index Cards. Someone else may be able to confirm; I’m away from the machine where I have FD8 installed.

Thanks for the kind response. As it’s getting late here I’m going to look at this in the morning. I looked at FD8 but I missed what you just mentioned about checking off what you want exported. I’m wondering what all the Scrivener stuff such as files or corkboard would look like when exported to FD8.

Well, I’ll pick this up bright and early tomorrow morning. I’m driven to find what’s best for a screenwriter to use or how to use both, before I begin this next project.


So I gave it a try. I must say I’m really not sure what I’m doing. I exported Scrivener to FD 8. It carried it over but not into Index Cards. I’m getting the feeling I have two choices and would like your thoughts on them.

  1. Just do the whole damn thing in Final Draft and not use Scrivener at all?

  2. Do everything in Scrivener up to the point where I’m ready to write my first draft. Then, write the draft in FD8 but keep Scrivener open in a separate screen and work off my scenes, index cards, corkboard from Scrivener?


Ohmygod. Stop.

First drafts, Scrivener. Final draft, Final Draft. Drafts subsequent to the draft you thought was the final draft: Final Draft. Text of the former exports to properly formatted text of the latter, though there may be some tweaking here and there as of now. Once you’ve gone from Scrivener to FD, stay in FD.

If page numbers are really that huge of a deal in your early drafts, export to FD at the end of the day. It takes like a fraction of the time you’ve spent posting and PMing about this.

Notecards and such do not transfer as of now (someone please correct me if I’m wrong, I haven’t even tried.) Command-tab switches between applications, so if you need to look at notecards, open FD and Scrivener and do that.

Please, for the love of God, start writing your script. All this fussing is driving me nuts.

So succinct. Ooooooh, Mr. Coffee, I like that in a man.

I don’t mean to push the limits of human patience but you still have not directly answered my question. I get it. Once you bring over that initial draft stay in Final Draft. BUT, and this is a big but, you still need to use your research, index cards etc. So, although FD gives you that ability, if I understand you correctly, since I’ve done all the work in Scrivener, I am not going to use any of those tools in FD. I’m going to go to Scrivener and use my index cards, scene cards and what not in one window while I work on FD (on the actual writing of the script) in another window?


I’m also the kind of person who over-invests emotional energy into certain bells and whistles, but the world won’t collapse if your research folder or Scrivener index cards don’t make it into whatever software you use to finish your work. As somebody who’s been there, take it from me: you’re over thinking this. Just write.

Thanks Jebni. I couldn’t imagine that I was the only one in the Scrivener community who gets hooked on this stuff.


This may seem off topic, but hear me out.

I “grew up” using quicken. One day I realized that if I wanted to really use my mac natively for all my compute needs I would need to look at something other than quicken. I ran into a piece o software called moneywell. I liked the idea that it was a budget tool. So I started using it. But I couldn’t use it to manage my finances like I did with quicken. The investment tracking is not as polished, and the idea of category roll ups is non-existent. I worked with the developer and community until one of them made the following statement

That is not word for word, but that was the gist. The point was that I was over thinking what Moneywell was designed to do. I would not use a screwdriver to drive a nail, right?

I think that might be where you are with scrivener. Scrivener is a tool for collecting your ideas and getting things started without imposing a forced structure. Get an idea or forty down and move things around. Add some research so it is all in one place. Then once things start to look right export into a different program to finish it off.

You might find it liberating once you “forget” the final format and focus just on the basic points of writing your “thing”, be it a script, novella, or dissertation. There will be plenty of time to worry about the specifics of format and length later in the process.

Like the way that sounds. Good point. Talking me down from the ledge…

Thank you.

Sorry, haven’t had time to read all of this as I’m working through hundreds of mails and posts on my return from holiday, but I just wanted to comment on the part about how going from Scrivener to Final Draft won’t retain all of the index cards etc. This will be much improved for Scrivener 2.0. In Scrivener 2.0, the structure of the script - summaries in index cards and so forth - will be maintained when you export to Final Draft.
All the best,

Great. Thanks Keith.