Bela Lampert

Optioned Screenwriter
Yoga Instructor

Screenwriting With Celtx

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How To Write Your Screenplay With Celtx’ Free Version

In this article I want to take a look at the free version of Celtx and see what the writing experience is like.

When you create a new project, Celtx automatically creates a screenplay document, as well as an index card wall and a storyboard for you.

Screenwriting with Celtx - New ProjectIn this article, we’ll take a look at the screenplay document only.

Writing

Jumping from element to element works with Tab and Enter, just like you might be used to it from other screenwriting applications.

In order to select or change the formatting elements you have a drop-down menu at the top.

Screenwriting with Celtx - Screenplay ElementsThere is also a full-screen mode if you want to write distraction free.

Apart from that, there are a few things that you can add.

You can add scene numbers, dialogue numbers, you can add comments – we’ll look at those in a second – and you can change the color of your text and background if you want to do so, all via the “View” menu.

You also have a title page if you go to Edit – Title Page or click on “Title Page” in the Tools window on the right side.

Screenwriting with Celtx - Title PageThe title page is not fully customizable.

What you get are three different templates that you can use. One with text only, one with an image and text, and one with only one big image.

While the text verison of the title page might work for most screenplays, you might run into problem in some cases, for example when you’re writing a TV show and you also need extra lines for your episode number and episode title.

To go back to the screenplay view go to Edit – Script or click on the right-arrow in the Tool window.

By the way, you can define which of the tools you want to see in this tool window if you go to View – Tools and select or deselect the ones you want to see or hide.

Screenwriting with Celtx - ToolsCeltx also gives you a spellcheck in different languages. If you go to Edit – Check Spelling you can choose the language in which you’re writing. As the time of this writing, Celtx has several forms of English and Spanish, as well as French, German and Russian.

Screenwriting with Celtx - SpellcheckComments

Let’s have a quick look at comments.

To place a comment just mark up some text or place your cursor where you want to add your comment. If you don’t mark up some text, Celtx will automatically assign the nearest word to that comment.

Screenwriting with Celtx - commentsClick “add” in the comments window to add a comment, type in some text, and click add to create the comment.

Once the comment is created, you can change the color, edit or delete the comment, or resolve it, once the reason of the comment has been addressed. The difference between deleting a comment and resolving it is that when you resolve it, it will show up under “resolved” in the dropdown menu up top in the Comments window.

Screenwriting with Celtx - comments menuEvery note also has a reply button, so if more than one person wants to comment on the same thing, you know which reply belongs to which comment.

If you click on “Navigation” in the Tools window, you get a list of your scenes, so you can jump around in your script quickly. Every time you add a scene heading element to the script, it will also be added here in the navigator.

Screenwriting with Celtx - NavigationJust click on one of the scenes, and Celtx will jump to that scene.

Settings

If you go to the settings window there are some basic things you can change.

Go to Edit – Script Settings.

Screenwriting with Celtx - script settingsYou can change the page format, the line spacing, page breaks, and a couple of details in regard to more’s, continued’s and widows and orphans.

Headers and Footers

One word about Headers and Footers, you cannot change those, this is part of the pro feature.

If you go to Edit – Headers and Footers, Celtx asks you to subscribe.

Screenwriting with Celtx - headers and footersSo, if you want to get rid of that “Created using Celtx” watermark in the Footer you need to have a subscription plan.

Export

If you want to export your script, you have three options.

First, you can save your screenplay as a pdf with some options.

If you go to File – Print/Download pdf, the print dialog opens and you see a preview of your script. You can then choose between exporting the script alone, the title page alone, or the title page and the script together.

Screenwriting with Celtx - pdf exportThe other options in this drop down menu, “Scene List” and “Characters” only work with a subscription.

The same with the watermark feature. It’s not part of the free plan.

Then you can choose if you want one, two, or three lines between each scene, and if you want every scene to start on a new page.

Apart from this you can export your script as a TXT or a fountain file, if you go to File – Export Script to Text or Fountain.

If you export to TXT, Celtx will create a text file and add white space characters in front of the character names in order to indent them. The dialogue will also have some whitespace characters in front.

Screenwriting with Celtx - txt exportIf you export in fountain, it will add fountain syntax in front of some elements to force the right formatting.

Screenwriting with Celtx - fountain exportFor example, it adds a dot in front of the sluglines and an @ symbol in front of the character names.

The problem is, if you open that in a fountain editor, in Highland 2 for example, it doesn’t really look well, because what Celtx also does is add empty spaces in front of the character names and that is completely unnecessary in fountain, and it even destroys the interpretation.

Also, if you’ve written your slug lines and character names in lower case in Celtx, but you don’t know, becauase Celtx itself shows them in uppercase, once you export your script, in fountain they show up as lowercase again, which looks absolutely weird.

So, they should work on the fountain converter to get that right.

Importing

You can also import finished scripts or works in progress into Celtx if you want to swith from another application.

In order to do that, go to File – Import and select the file.

You can import from pdf, Final Draft’s fdx, txt, rtf, docx file from Word, html, and celtx files.

Conclusion

Alright, I hope I could give you an impression of what the writing experience in Celtx is like.

I think it’s pretty basic but that’s totally fine considering that it’s absolutely free.

So, if you’re looking for an online writing solution this might work very well for you, especially if you’re considering using more Celtx features for producing further down the road as part of a paid subscription.

If, on the other hand you prefer to work in an offline application, I’d rather go with Fade In. The free version has more functionality, including some production features.

Let me know if you like working with Celtx and how it is going for you, I’m interested in hearing about your experience.

Until then, happy writing everybody!