Bela Lampert

Optioned Screenwriter
Yoga Instructor

Final Draft 11 Deep Review

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A Deep And Thourough Review Of Final Draft 11

In this article, I will give Final Draft 11 a deep and thorough review. It’s going to be quite a long article, so I will divide it into sections and you can jump to the parts that interest you the most. I’m hoping that reading this will get you a very good sense of what Final Draft 11 can and cannot do. So in case you’re thinking about giving it a try or even buying it, you’ll have a better understanding of what it will be like to use.

The sections are:

  • First impression
  • Writing experience.
  • Outlining
  • Scene management
  • Notes
  • Character management
  • Tags
  • Reports
  • Dictation
  • Production Features
  • Other stuff
  • Pricing
  • Conclusion

The version I’m using for this review is version number 11.1.4 build 90. So in case you have Final Draft and it looks or behaves a little different, check to see if you’re perhaps on another version.

First Impression

When you open up the program, it has a very clean impression, only the basic necessary tools and buttons are there. You’re mainly presented with a blank page, which is what you want.

When you click on views, you get a good overview of different views to choose from. And also a good impression of some of the programs functionality right away.

You can obviously split the views so you can have different things side by side.

You have instant access to the title page.

The formatting elements are center up top. So you have them at your fingertips.

You can insert an image. Although I think that’s not a function that I personally am going to need enough in order to justify a permanent place on the toolbar, but okay.

You have direct access to some interface features and functions. I like that. They included show invisibles here. There are some programs where you really have to look for them.

The navigator gives us access to another window for an overview of certain elements in your script.

With this feedback button, I wasn’t sure if this was meant as feedback for another writer since we also have a collaboration feature here, or if this is feedback for Final Draft, if you click it, it takes you to the Final Draft website. So this is feedback for Final Draft.

Below the main toolbar you have the so-called story map, the numbers from one to 120 already might suggest that it has something to do with the pages in your script. We’ll have a look at that later on.

At the bottom you get some standard indicators and that we’re somewhat familiar with from other writing applications, the page number, and this, where it says “No Scene” is a feature where you can jump directly to scenes.

In the middle. It tells you what the tab and enter keys do to jump from one formatting element to the next. We’ll see that in a second. Then on the right side, you have direct access to the dictation feature night mode, and you can adjust the view all in all I like how clean the interface is by default in this version, I remember all the versions where it was much harder to figure out how to access the most used functions in the software. But in this version, there is a good balance between giving you quick access to things you need, but still keeping the interface pretty distraction-free.

Writing Experience

Let’s jump into writing first. At least that’s what we’re here for, right? But in order to test the writing experience, I’m not going to start a new script, but rather I’m using an included sample script. You can access it via the help menu sample scripts. And then what I’m going to do is I’m going to copy everything and paste it in again, at the end, The reason I’m doing this is as you can see, the script only has 54 pages. And I want to see how the writing experiences with a full movie script length.

You can see that the story map now shows us a lot of red numbers here, but just don’t worry about it for now. We’ll take care of that later. I’m going to go to some point in the middle of the script And add a couple of lines there so that the page break will change. The reason I’m doing it this way is that I had experiences with lag in the past with older Final Draft versions. So I want to see if this is the case here. This works well, no lag whatsoever. The writing experience is totally smooth, including the page jump and I’m writing on an old laptop. So this is not a powerful machine at all. Great. Let’s test adding a scene. As you can see, I hit enter while I’m on an action line. And Final Draft shows me a menu with formatting options. Let’s choose scene heading And also for the locations. And times of day, I get offered standard options or elements that already have been used in the script.

So as I mentioned before, with the tab and enter keys, you can jump between formatting elements of the script at the bottom. It shows you what each of the keys will do, depending on which format element you’re in with the cursor. Let me lose a word about act elements here. They are format elements on the page. They are not for outline use. There are other screenwriting applications that let you put elements like acts and others in the script, but just as an outline notes. So you can keep track of your structure. This is not the case here. If you change an element to an act break or an act, it will be centered, bold, and underlined,

And it will be on a new page or at the end of the page. So as far as writing goes, nothing to add really it’s smooth. It works well. The elements are where you would expect them pretty easy. I like it. Let’s have a quick look at the views. You have three script views, normal view, page view, and speed view. The normal view shows you a line for every page break. But other than that, the background is just plain white. The page view shows you the script pages, so you can get a feel of how the final output will work.

And the speed view does nothing of the sort. It’s just your script as if it were one very long page. It doesn’t even show you page numbers. You might want to choose that when you just want to write without worrying about your page count.

Outlining

You have several tools for outlining and Final Draft 11. You have index cards and the beat board. Let’s look at each one of them, but first let’s have a look at scene view. Scene view is not an outlining tool per se, but it is a very useful way to change the order of your scenes, because what it does is it shows you all the scenes color coded. We’ll have a look at that in a second, and you can just take one and put it wherever you want to put it in order to reorder your scenes. Now, let’s take a look at index cards, index cards in Final Draft have two sides. They have a front side, so to speak and the backside, you can see both of the views here. In the views dropdown, you have index cards, script. This will show you the front side and the script content. The text on the index card will be the same text as in the script, or you can show the index cards, summary. This is kind of the backside of the index card, and it will show you a summary and you can change the summary here in the index cards view. Whereas you can not change the script text on the index cards. It’s just for reference purposes. You will have to change the text in the script.

You can also change the view by right clicking on the index card. And you can also assign a color to the card. Index cards are bound to scenes. So each of those index cards represents a scene. If you want to work scene independently, that is what the beat board is for. Go to views, beat board. And we’ve also seen this before. Now. I want to have the beat board on the right and the script on the left. So you see on the beat board, you can put different kinds of notes. The notes you can put on the bead board can be beats or structure points.

Let’s create a new beat. You can insert the title and the body, and let’s create a new structure point. You can also insert a title and the body. The difference between them is clear when you pull them to the story map. If you pull a beat to the story map, you see that a little diamond shows up here. If you pull a structure point to the story map, you see that a little square with a line beneath shows up so you can distinguish them in the story map. You can also assign them colors. And those colors also show up in the story map. You can also add images to the Beat Board by going to new beat from image. Or you can also add an image inside a beat or a structure point.

If you pull a beat or a structure point to the story map, you will see the page number here in the right upper corner. Also in the story map, the colors you see on the bar here are the colors from the index cards or the colors of each scene, so to speak. So you also see how long that respective scene is. If you want to adjust the target script length here in the story map, you can see that we kind of run over so to speak because the target is set to less than what we have here, because we copy pasted it. So if you want to change that, go to document, change target script, length, and just put in whatever number your target is. And now you can see that they have become black again on the beat board. You also have alignment features. Imagine you have a lot of cards lying around there, so you can just select a few of them, right? Click, and then you have aligned to grid or make a column, a row or cascade, and you can just pull them wherever you want to rearrange them like this. Okay. Let’s talk about exporting the beat board, but before I want to make the beat board really big in order to see what happens. If I export it, I’m going to select everything and then just copy pasted a couple of times. Okay. Now let’s export that and see what it looks like. Go to file export and beat board. And the only option you have is exporting this as a PDF.

And this is what it looks like. You get one big PDF. And in this case it has 84 megabytes. And if you want to get specific texts from the beat board out of there, let’s see if that’s possible. So I’m going to zoom in and I’m going to select, …

I’m trying to select one of those cards, but it’s not even possible. The last time I tried it, I could select one card and copied out of there, but then it was just a PNG and text. And so this time I can’t even select the card itself. So there is no way to extract the text from the export of the beat board.

So outlining tools are good. You have index cards with two sides, which is good. The index cards are limited to scenes, which I don’t like very much, but if you want to be creative without restricting yourself to scenes, you can use the beat board. That’s what it’s for. So that’s okay. Speaking about the beat board, I like that they included it. So you have kind of a canvas to store information apart from your script and to play a little. That’s great.

And also the beat board in this version is better than in the version before, because you can export it, which is better. But I think there is still a way to go with the beat board. If you work only in Final Draft and what the beat board has to offer is enough for you. Great, because it may be enough, but I think exporting only as one big PDF is a real limitation. There should be a possibility to export the text you put there as text. They should come up with some form of a compiler for that. And I think they should include having multiple beat boards. So you don’t have to cram everything on one board the way I see it, and I may be wrong on this one, the intention behind the beat board is to give writers the opportunity to stay inside of Final Draft for outlining as well as writing, which serves a two-fold purpose. One, it’s better for writers. If they have all the tools they need in one application. Two, from Final Drafts perspective, customers are less likely to buy another application because they are missing functionality. But I think they’re not there yet. If they want to offer writers something at least similar to what other applications offer for outlining and messing around with ideas. So to speak, let’s just call it like that. Then this is not enough. It will be interesting to see what they come up with in the future.

Scene management

In the navigator go to the navigator and select scenes. And the navigator opens up here. You have a list or a table so to speak a spreadsheet of all your scenes, the order of the scenes in here does not reflect the order of the scenes in your script. You can change the order here in any way you like, and the order of the scenes in your script stays the same. You can choose which characters you want to show or hide here. Just pick them from the list. And also you can choose to show other columns.

Every time a character shows up in a scene, you have a speech bubble. And if that speech bubble has a red cross in it, that character shows up in the scene, but does not speak. And if it’s a speech bubble with lines and that’s that character has dialogue in the scene, you can also display character arcs. If you go to the menu and click show character arc and choose one to add, you see it right here as a separate column. If you select one scene, you can add a title and a color for that respective scene, the color will show up in the index card. Also, the summary here you have is the same as on the Index Cards. I like that a lot. It’s a nice way to keep track of your scenes and have a good overview here. You also have a character window that you can open or close, and you can add characters to a scene here. If you like. And also character arcs, double clicking on a scene brings you to that scene in the script.

You can export the scene view. If you click on CSV, this is going to export your scene information to a comma separate file that you can open with any spreadsheet software. And this is how it looks like. The only thing to mention here is that the color doesn’t export well colors are often shown in hexadecimal code. So this should have six characters. Instead. It has 12 because every characters so to speak is, is doubled. The information of R, G and B is doubled. You should have two Rs, two Gs in two Bs. So if you want to use that color code in another application, you need to shorten it. Just take two numbers and leave two numbers out, take two numbers again, or letters, leave two out and take the last two.

Other than that, this looks fine. And also, I think it’s a really great idea to be able to export the scene information as a CSV in general. I like the scene overview also that you have a character arc field and you can rearrange the scenes in the navigator without affecting the script. And this allows you, for example, just to sort by character arc scenes. And so you can focus on only the scenes where those steps are reflected, but I have to say something about the navigator window. In general, if you click on that pin in the upper right corner, it will stay open, which is great, because if you want to go back and forth between the navigator and your script, you don’t have to open it up again, but the navigator window is not manageable very well. It’s a separate window and it’s not integrated in the application, so to speak. And in part, I understand why. You can make it bigger if you want to have a better overview. And if it’s a separate window, that’s maybe a little easier to do. And that’s fine if you want to work in the navigator only for a while, but it’s a pain. If you want to go back and forth between the navigator and the script, because it will always cover up part of the program. Even if you use split view in the background, so to speak in order to see the whole script, you have to manually adjust the windows. So you can access the rest of Final Draft.

Why not make it possible for example, to display it in the split window itself. I understand that a separate window can have its advantages, but then it’s not really separate. You see it doesn’t have a minimize option here. That would have been great. So you could just minimize when you don’t need it and pop it open anytime, but that doesn’t work. And also by the OS it’s not seen as a completely separate window. I thought maybe they did it so you can put it on a secondary desktop or another screen, but that doesn’t work either. The navigator window is restricted to being inside of the Final Draft program. I think they should decide between integrating it in the interface or making it a really separate window. But right now it’s neither of those and the handling. It can be a little annoying.

Notes

You’re on the navigator where it says script notes. You have an overview and control of all your notes in the script. Now, Final Draft has two different kinds of notes. Script notes, they appear in the script and general notes. They don’t, they are just notes for you apart from your script. And you create them with those two buttons. These are script notes, and these are general notes. And you see here, you have a column where it says in script. So you see that those that have a check, they are script notes, and the other are general notes. If you want to change a note, for example, the one we have selected right now, you can just deactivate in script in this case. So now it has changed to a general note. Each note has a title and the note text itself, apart from that, you can also give it a color and you can define a note type. The types can be whatever you like. If you click on the menu, choose new type, you can add a new type to your list.

As in the scene navigator window, you can activate and deactivate columns that you want to see in this navigator window also, as in the scenes navigator window in the script notes window, the order of the notes has nothing to do necessarily with the order of the notes in the script. So you can reorder them any way you like, and it will not affect the order of the notes in the script.

I like that they have a navigator window that lets you manage all the notes. It works well. You get a good functionality while at the same time, not being overly complicated. I like that you can set a title and the color for every note and that you can create custom note types. So you can distinguish between what kind of notes you have in whichever way you like.

However, there are a few things I dislike about script notes. When you click at a certain point in the script to place the cursor and then create a new script notes.

The note is applied to the paragraph, not exactly to the point where the cursor is or was since screenplay, paragraphs are not that long. Usually that doesn’t pose a big problem, but Final Draft also has a novel template, which makes me think it is addressed to novel writers as well. And for them, this might be a problem. Imagine you have a paragraph that runs over half a page and you want to place a note. It doesn’t show you exactly where that note is. Also you can’t mark up pieces of text to show which words the note applies to. I wouldn’t have a problem with that. If the note flag showed up, at least in the same line, but if you double click the note flag, the whole paragraph is selected and you have no way of knowing to which part the note belongs, which means you wouldn’t have to write in the notes, text to which part of the text you’re referring to.

And that is very cumbersome. They could have at least included some functionality that when you select some texts and then create a script note that the selected text serves as a title, as a note text, or at least is copied to the clipboard. So you can easily paste it in wherever you want it here in the note window. So if you look at the scenes tab of the navigator and at the characters tab, you have a CSV export, which is great, but not so with notes, why not with notes? I can easily imagine a scenario where you would want have an overview of your notes in an extra file. Maybe when you’re on the go and you have the script as PDF, and you want to refer to your notes. And yes, I know there is a Final Draft app, but maybe you don’t have it, or maybe you have an Android phone or tablet, or maybe you just want the flexibility, whatever. So why not make a CSV export for notes as well?

In the report section, we will see that you can indeed export notes, just not as a CSV file, which would have been nice. In my opinion.

Character Management

In similar fashion as with the other two tabs scenes and script notes, the character navigator gives you a good overview over a characters in your script together with additional information and some statistics, again, you can view or hide certain columns, and you can also add custom traits, which is nice.

The character navigator gives you a list of all the data that it is tracking throughout your scenes. As in, in harmony, scenes of character appears speaking and non-speaking dialogue lines and so on and so forth.

You can also export your character traits to CSV. And this is what it looks like contrary to the colors in the scene. Export. Everything seems to work fine. In this case And below you have statistics over basically whatever traits you choose here, you have to drop downs to choose which traits you want to show on those pie charts.

If you click on that camera icon, the pie charts open as an image in the preview application, and you can save it from there in the pie chart, you can see characters, dialogue, and on the right, you can choose scenes with X or more characters who are both trait one and trait two, whatever you want to select here, there isn’t a whole lot to say about this characters tab and the navigator. The information is useful. I like that you can add custom traits and all in all, I believe this gives you a good statistical overview of your script, and this might very well have an influence on the creative decisions you make in your story in terms of gender equality and whatever else it is that you might want to track and keep an eye on. So I think this is very useful.

Tagging

Final draft lets you apply tags to certain objects, characters, or whatever, words, basically, in your script. The reason behind this is that you can track those objects and its relation to another object in the production process, but it can also be used to track things in the story while you’re writing. So let’s have a look at how it works. Click on this tags tab in the navigator and you see a huge list of tags and categories that already exist. In this example script, don’t, let them overwhelm you for now. We’ll take a look at that in a second, first, let’s take a look at how tagging works. If you click on the tag icon in the upper left corner, you can activate the tagging mode. You could also activate it going to the production menu and clicking on tags mode.

Once activated, you see that some words that are already tagged appear in color in the script. Now, if you want to tag something that hasn’t already been tagged or assign another tag to something that has already been tagged and just select the word and a box will pop open here, you can choose one of the existing tags or assign a new one. You see that there are already some categories in here. Most of them are for production purposes, but here at the bottom, we have some that are used in this sample script to track storylines. If you find that tag that fits just select it and click tag or tag all to attack all instances of this word throughout the script, or enter a new tag name in the field right here, the list you see in the navigator corresponds to scenes. Each line is a scene and you see all the tags that are in each scene below. You have three more windows for scene management on the left. You can manage categories with the plus and minus buttons,

Add categories, give them a name and a color or remove them. You can also import categories from another file, but this will delete existing categories. So you should do that before you start tagging. The window in the middle shows you the tags and the current scene from the current category in the right window. You can view a list of all tags, our tags in the current scene or the tags within this category. And not only the ones that appear in the current scene, you can also link tags to one another. If you double click on a tag and in the field below where it says links, you can add linked tags by clicking the plus button below and choose an existing tag from the list.

Reports

If you go to the reports menu in tools, reports, you see a whole bunch of reports that you can create in generally and not surprisingly. And they do what the name suggests, but let’s have a quick look at them to see what they do exactly. The scene report lists you all of the scenes in whatever order you choose in the dropdown. And you can also select to display your tags. This might be very helpful for production, but also if you use tagging to track storylines throughout your script,

The location report does the same with locations. Mainly for production purposes.

The character report gives you statistics about the character you choose the scenes in which it appears. And you can also output the arc beats, which is very nice. So you can get a good overview of the development of your character in the story.

The cast report gives you statistics about your characters, how many scenes speaking, scenes, dialogue lines and so on and so forth.

The script report. I’m going to show you this in the end of this section, there is a nice little trick that you can do with that one. So I’ll get back to this.

The script note report lets you export your notes and you can choose which kinds of notes and which information about your notes you would like to have included. And the script notes navigators section, I complained a little about Final Draft, not being able to export notes as a CSV file while you can do that with scene and character information.

So it turns out you can export script notes to another document. Although you have to cheat a little bit, if you want anything else than a Final Draft file, which to be honest, I find a bit silly. Okay. They don’t. They want people to stay in the Final Draft of the world I suppose, but there are so many situations where you might want another file format. And as we’ll see in a second, you can get them out. It’s just a little more work. So why not be helpful about it and offer notes, exports or generally reports exports to different text formats. Anyway, here we go. If you have the script note report open, you can save it as a Final Draft file or if you want anything else you need to copy and paste it to another writing application. For example, max pages, in terms of line breaks, it works well, but not so much in terms of formatting, you will lose the formatting you have in the Final Draft report.

The statistics report gives you an overview of your characters scenes. And if you want, you can also include profanity. So you get a whole list of all your characters with statistical information, then a list with all your scenes, with statistical information and then also where you used profanity

The tags report: you can choose if you want to list it by scene or by tag. And then you get either a list of scenes and all the tags listed that show up in that scene or you get a tag list. And if you select include scene headings, you get a list of all the scenes where this tag is used. What I find a little weird is that the tags and the scene list are colored and then the tag list, they’re not okay.

Now script report, the script report basically lets you recreate the script with just the elements you want. So you could, for example, create a script without the dialogue or with a little dialogue or whatever you want, but there is something else you can do with it. Final draft out of the box doesn’t support fountain export. Fountain is a text only based screenwriting syntax that lets you use simple text files for writing screenplays that are perfectly readable and with a software that supports fountain, you can have it be interpreted and shown with the right formatting. So it looks like a screenplay page. The nice thing about fountain is that it is completely platform independent because it is just a text file, which makes it very versatile and very future-proof. But since Final Draft doesn’t support exporting to fountain, you have no way or let’s say no easy way of saving your file as fountain. And if you try to copy paste your script, everything ends up without line breaks. And the line breaks are necessary so that it fountain interpreter knows which element is which. So we’re going to use this reports function to cheat a little,

Let’s make a script report with all the elements included, create a text document. And if you now select everything, you see that the headers and footers are not included in the selection, which is good because we don’t want them. So we’re going to copy this to a simple text editor and you see that apart from the report title, which you can delete easily. Everything is pasted with the correct line breaks and the character names on the left side, which is important for fountain. I’m mentioning this just in case you’ve been wondering why don’t you just export the script as simple text without formatting. This doesn’t because the line break are, the line breaks are messed up. And if you export it with layout texts with layout doesn’t work because Final Draft puts empty spaces in front of the character. So it will appear indented also with a dialogue and fountain cannot deal with that. Okay. That’s reports.

Dictation

Final Draft has a dictation feature included that is based on the internal Mac dictation feature, but it recognizes sentences like “interior garage day return” and Final Draft will recognize that it is a slug line. For example, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to test it here because using other dictation software from time to time, I know how much the success of those depends on the quality of the microphone. So the best thing you can do is hook up your microphone, open just some random writing software in case you don’t have Final Draft and use the built in dictation function to write and test it out and see how that goes. You won’t be able to write screenplay slug lines or a dialogue, but that’s just to get a taste of it. And it should be enough to see if dictation is going to work for you inside a Final Draft.

Production Features

Let’s look at production features. There is a certain set of features you need. Once you go into production with this script, because then the production company needs to be in control of the shooting schedule. And on top of all the changes that happened in the script and the changes in production as a result of that. So I will not explain the whole production process. I’m assuming that once you take a look at production features, you’re somewhat familiar with the process. I just want to let you know which features Final Draft offers. Also I’m approaching this more from a writer’s perspective than from a producer’s perspective because as a writer, chances are, you don’t even have to handle all of that. Although I think it doesn’t hurt to understand the process and also know a little bit about what the software can do. So there is a good chance this will improve the communication and understanding between you as the writer and the production company.

Once you move into production, you will need to number scenes and lock pages. Let’s look at that first in the production menu, you have scene numbers there. You can handle all the settings for scene numbering or for numbering other elements or for removing those numbers. You can choose at which number you want to start. If you want to number from the current, you want to keep existing numbers, restart numbering for certain elements. And also you can pick your numbering scheme. If you’re unsure about this, just talk to the production company and they will tell you which scheme they use.

And here you have two options, you can choose the font and where to put the numbering. All of this is pretty solid and pretty standard. When you go into production, you want to lock pages. So the page numbers for certain pages don’t change anymore, go to production lock pages. And when you do that, Final Draft asks you if you want to turn on revision mode. Yes we do. If you go to production revisions, now you see that we are in the first revision, the blue revision. If you turn on show revision, page colors, and you changed something in the script, this border on the sides of the page that you see now will automatically show the color of the revision. So you can see in an instant from which revision at this page is you also get an asterisks at the side of the line, which is standard to show changes.

Also in the revisions menu, you have some options you can, for example, choose to have the revised text shown in a specific color to make it clear which words have been changed. You can also choose if this revision is only for certain pages or if you want to consider the full draft a revision, which would automatically include all pages in the active revision. If you want to change the order of the names in the default revisions, you can customize them with the plus and minus buttons here and then just give them the settings you want.

The revision color drop down here is just a select what that revision will look like on the screen, in the application. It has nothing to do with the actual revision name here also here up top. You can choose which revisions you want to see in the actual set. Active revision set shows you only the changes from the actual revision set as revisions. Everything else will look normal, so to speak. So you only see the changes in this blue revision that we’re in right now. Show collated script always shows you the changes from the latest revision of a specific page. That is for example, if one page was revised in the first revision and another in the second revision and the second revision is the active one right now, it will show us both of them. Whichever the highest revision is on each page. Whereas show all the revision sets, shows you all the lines that were changed in all the revisions up until now.

And you can choose if you want to see the text and or the revision marks that’s revisions, basically, and in the production menu, you can also set and remove revisions manually with mark revised and clear revised. You can also lock A pages. A pages are additional pages that are added between existing locked pages. You can see that this page that has been added because of the additional return is now page one, a and once you lock those and you would have to create additional pages between existing A pages, these would change to A pages and so on and so forth. So the production features look pretty solid. The whole revisions and locking pages system needs a little bit wrapping your head around it. If you’re not yet familiar with it, but this has nothing to do with the software. This is just the way script changes are handled in the production cycle. Other than that, I think this is pretty straightforward once you’ve got the hang of it. And I like that you have really broad revision color indicators here on the side of the page so that you can see instantly on which revision set you are.

Other Stuff

Let me just show you a bunch of other stuff that I find worth mentioning, but that doesn’t really fit into any other category

Customize Toolbar

View customized toolbar here, you can choose which functions you want to have on the toolbar. So you can decide how clean you want the interface to be, or which tools you want to have right there, maybe.

Document watermark

You can put a watermark in the background of the page. It’s very simple. You just put in the text and hit OK. And now if you go to the print preview, for example, you can see you have the watermark text right here in the background. You cannot have a distribution list. There are applications that do distribution lists. That is, if you want to send a script or print the script for a number of people, you could put in a whole list of names and each version would be printed or export it with another name.

So that doesn’t work here. You can have one name.

SmartType

Smart type, lets you add character names or other words to a list that final draft recognizes. So you don’t have to write the whole word every time, but rather it offers you the word and you just have to choose it.

Macros

Macros lets you define short cuts for certain elements you need often. So you don’t have to write them or maybe choose the format element every time, which will save you a writing time.

Bookmarks

Bookmarks lets you make a list of well bookmarks. So you can jump to certain places without having to look for them in the script. If you select the bookmark and then click go to it will jump there.

Name Database

And the tools that you have in names database, you can access a name database. If you put in at least a one character to give you a bunch of names, but it’s very basic. It doesn’t distinguish between first names, last names, regions, alliteration, and so on

Reformat Tool

The reformat tool lets you jump from element to element very quickly. If you need to reformat a lot, this can come in handy. If, for example, if for some reason the formatting elements are messed up. Maybe due to some import that didn’t work out, whatever it may be. So you can jump through the elements with your keyboard and reformat them very quickly. The format assistant checks the script for formatting errors, something like empty lines. For example, you can just click through the errors and decide what you’re going to do with them quite useful because very likely you’ll have missed some kind of formatting errors somewhere. So it’s a good practice to just check the script before you give it to somebody else.

Script Compare

Script compare lets you as the name suggests compared to scripts and see in which way they are different.

Pricing

Let me talk a little bit about price because I’ve heard a lot of people say that they don’t want to buy final drafts because it’s too expensive. Now of course everyone has to decide this for themselves, but I just want to put the price in perspective a little bit because Final Draft has not yet jumped on the bandwagon and made the software subscription based. So you pay once and you use it for as long as you like. And for as long as you like, of course depends on a lot of factors too. You need the next update. How old is your computer and operating system? And when will the version you use no longer be supported and all of that, but let’s just make a very basic calculation. Let’s say you buy final draft today for the price of one $99. Let’s compare that to a subscription based software, which is depending on billing cycle and functionality between seven and $15 a month. So at the lower end you would have to use Final Draft for at least 29 months or roughly two and a half years to break even, or at the higher end, you’ll need 14 months at a little bit over a year. And then the update price updating final draft is between $80 and a hundred dollars. So comparing only the update price to a subscription-based software, it will take you only between half a year and 15 months until you start to save money, just something to consider.

Conclusion

Okay. So my opinion, keep in mind that this is my personal view of the software with all its strength and weaknesses. And it always depends a little on how you want to use the software.

Pros

So pros it’s obvious that they have been developing the software for years. The writing experience is great. Basic functionality is very easy to use and it has a ton of more features than most writers will need. At least that’s my bet. I like that. They include outlining features and that they offer you a graphic representation with story points on the story map and all of that. So that’s good if you like to work that way. Also the software is very lean and quick. Even on my older laptop, it works like a charm. There are not a lot of specific features that I would like to point out in the pro section.

I think you just get a really good overall package in terms of functionality. It feels a little bit like the safe bet. If you’re not too familiar with different screenplay file formats out there and you don’t want to think about that. And also if you don’t really know what kind of functionality you really need and want, then 99% of the time Final Draft will be able to offer you something that is at least very close to what you’re looking for. So you don’t run a lot of risk having Final Draft, but keep in mind that you might end up paying for functionality that you maybe don’t need. So just be aware of that. Also. I like that they stick with the buying once model and haven’t changed to a subscription-based offer yet. I hope it stays that way.

Cons

On the con side, there are a couple of things that I personally don’t like about the software, the beat board I like that it’s there, but the functionality they offer right now is just not enough.

You’re very limited in export. You have only one canvas. I personally wouldn’t use final drafts for outlining and brainstorming for writing, yes. For outlining, no. but that depends on your taste. Of course also export functionality in general has a bit of an odd strategy. You can export some information from the navigator in CSV, but not all of it. You can create great script reports, but you only can export them in final draft format. You can export your script in several texts, formats, but not in fountain, which is in my opinion, the most basic, but also the most versatile of them then. And this depends on how you use the software. As I said before, in the pro section, you might end up paying for stuff you don’t need. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just something to keep in mind. If you only want to writing program and export in a decent script format, there are other apps you can use and maybe even free, or at least very cheap.

Also if you create text documents in Final Draft, and I’m not talking about script documents, but about a text document template, you don’t have the same export functionality. You can only save an export in final draft or a PDF. And that’s just not enough. I don’t understand that. And the thing about the navigator window, if it’s not open, you need it. And if it’s open it’s in the way. So maybe that’s just me, but I find that a little annoying.

All right, that’s it. I hope I could give you a good overview of Final Draft 11. I know I couldn’t include everything in this review, but the article already is quite long and I hope you got out of it, what you were hoping for. So I’m closing this out. Thanks for reading and also look in the menu up top, sometimes I have a freebie to share.

Happy writing everybody. Bye. Bye