Getting Started with Final Draft 11

Getting Started with Final Draft 11

Final Draft 11 for Mac gives you powerful new image, outlining, tagging and language support tools in a friendly user interface that makes formatting your screenplay effortless. Learn how to get started with Final Draft 11 for Mac.

Final Draft is the industry standard screenwriting software used by over 95% of film and television productions in North America.

Used by such industry giants as J.J. Abrams, Aaron Sorkin and James Cameron, Final Draft formats your screenplay to entertainment industry standards. Learn more here:

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Welcome to a series of videos designed to help you get the most out of Final Draft. In this tutorial, we’re using a Mac, but we’ll show you the Windows menus if they’re different. Our focus is on getting started with Final Draft. In just a few minutes you’ll be able to turn this into this: a perfectly formatted script.

The Elements in screenplays, TV shows, and stage plays must be formatted to industry standards.

If you need to learn more about script formatting, please visit for informative articles and more video tutorials.

When Final Draft launches, there are four main areas: the Menu Bar, the Tool Bar, the Page, and the Status Bar. The default template when Final Draft launches is Screenplay. To change the template, click File and then “New From Template.”

Final Draft has templates for Graphic Novels, Scripts, Text Documents, and TV shows. For this tutorial, use the Screenplay template.

When starting a script, first name and save the file. Go to the File menu, click Save As, type out the script file name and save it to wherever you prefer. Now it’s time to write some lines.

The first line in the script is called a Scene Heading. With Final Draft open to a blank Untitled Screenplay document type the letter “I”. The Smart Type menu will appear and offer “INT.” The abbreviation for interior or “I/E” the abbreviation for Interior/Exterior ‘INT.” will be highlighted. Accept it by pressing the Tab key.

Type in a location such as “house” and hit the Tab key again. The time of day Smart Type menu will appear and allow you to choose when the scene takes place. Choose night with the arrow key, the letter “N” on the keyboard or the mouse and hit the Tab key again.

When the Scene Heading is typed, the Scene Heading is capitalized and formatted exactly to industry standards.

After the Scene Heading, the script calls for an action line. Confirm that you’re in an action line Element by looking at the Elements Menu in the Tool Bar.

Now type your first action sentence, “A man enters and sits down at the desk.” It’s time to add some Character and Dialogue lines. Hit Return after the last action line to move to the next paragraph.

This will bring up another action line but a character name is next. So the Element must be changed.

Press Return again to bring up the Elements menu and choose Character. Now type a character name such as “Bob”.

Since dialogue usually follows a Character Element. It’s only natural in this case to press Return and write dialogue. Type, “Alone at last.”

Hit the Tab key to insert a new parenthetical paragraph and type, “Sees Sue.” Note that the parenthesis will be added automatically.

Press Return to continue Bob’s dialogue and type, “What are you doing here?” Now press Return twice to bring up the Smart Type menu of Elements and choose Character.

Type “Sue,” press return to move to Sue’s line, which will be, “Waiting for you.”

Now you can see how easy it is to add a few more lines each time using only the Tab and Return key as Final Draft will insert the next appropriate element when Return and Tab is pressed.

But what if there’s a mistake? Just place the cursor in the line that needs correcting, choose the correct Element from the Elements menu and the mistake is fixed.

Now, you know the basics of writing a script and Final Draft.

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Just go to Help, Submit Feedback and let us know what you think.

If you need technical support, go to Help, Get Support for access to Final Draft resources including email chat and phone services.

To watch more helpful video tutorials visit the Final Draft YouTube Channel at

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