Tweak screenwriting template to match Final Draft (a4 UK) pages more precisely?


I like to work in Scrivener before finalising a screenplay in Final Draft, but there are always pretty substantial page count variations when I move (7 pages longer in scrivener on my latest project). Scrivener has larger margins I think.

I was wondering if anyone had done the measuring or work to know how best to adjust the page settings in Scrivener to match FD more accurately?


I’m not sure how to check this on the FD side, but go to where its paper settings are and leave that window open for reference. Now in Scrivener:

  1. Open File ▸ Compile... and double-click on the compile format you’ve been using (maybe “Script or Screenplay” or something that came with the template). Duplicate to edit if necessary.
  2. In the Format Designer window, click on Page Settings.
  3. It should be stating your paper size in grey text toward the top, after the Use default paper size setting. For me the default paper size is A4 already. But if that is something else, you can disable that checkbox, then use the Page Setup... button to its left to manually change it.
  4. Below that you’ll find a button for setting margins to match what FD uses.

If everything is already the same, then some other factor must be involved in the differences in page counts. One thing to be aware of is that if you have been using the footer bar to estimate those, in the main editor, this is less accurate as it has to calculate that on the fly. A better tool is Project ▸ Statistics..., with the “Pages (Printed)” read-out at the bottom. If that is greyed out, then change the statistics rendering from “Estimate (Fast)” to “Accurate (Slower)”.

This is the most accurate because it runs a background compile. We might still expect to see small differences between the two since we aren’t doing real layout like FD does, but you might get a better result than 7 off.


Ok great. I will try that.

Thanks for the detailed response.

It will make a difference what FD template / format you are looking to use - they will have different measurements.

That will be an important thing to change. The US (and therefore the FD standard screenplay template) doesn’t use A4.

You can look up the formatting details (including line spacing, font sizing and indents) for the individiual elements (scene headings, characters, action, dialogue, etc) by going to Format > Elements (Element Settings on Windows).

Document > Page Layout will give you the page set up details in Final Draft that you need.

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That’s a good point actually. I checked that with PDF, as FDX output does assume US Letter/1" as per standards. It is Print/PDF that will use your system/printer paper size (for understandable reasons).

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Thanks both, though I use a custom template in FD to make it A4 so am inclined to think that’s not contributing here.


In that case I can say that no one has already done the figuring on the Scrivener settings to match your bespoke FD template. :wink:


Ha, fair point, though the “bespoke” template only adjusts to A4 from US letter. And US letter is smaller than A4, so likely isn’t contributing the shorter page count in FD.

The answer is probably for me to adjust the margins as Amber suggested.

I guess I raise it partly as a more general observation about workflow that might be good for Scrivener to think about. I can’t be the only person with that journey, and a more seamless one would no doubt attract people the software (which I think is generally better than FD).