Join Roger S.H. Schulman for an in-depth discussion in this video Final Draft user interface, part of Learning Screenwriting with Final Draft 9.
- Final Draft is to a word processor, as a race car is to a station wagon. The user interface is highly specialized, customizable and designed to get a very specific job done fast. Let's take a look at your new ride. Whether you're using the Windows or the OS 10 version, Final Draft follows the basic interface guidelines of all applications. The basic design should look pretty familiar. The bulk of the window is dedicated to the view of your work in progress. You can view your script as an endlessly scrollable document, that's called Normal View.
You can see page breaks in Page View. In what Final Draft calls Speed View, you don't see page numbers or other extraneous data, enabling you to shift in creative high gear. This area is also used for specialized views such as index cards and scene view, we'll visit those later. At the top of the window is the Menu bar, the Menu bar allows you to access every feature of Final Draft. It's comforting to know that when in doubt, the tool you need is up here somewhere.
Many of these Menus such as, File, Edit, Window and Help, follow the basic guidelines of all Applications. They do contain specialized commands, but by and large, if you use word processing software, you should feel comfortable. If you're a mouse or track pad lover, the tool bar is home sweet home. Clicking on these buttons will deliver 80 percent of what you need to format and revise your script, and by customizing your toolbar, you can up that percentage to near 100. Just under the toolbar sits the ruler.
The ruler displays the margins of the element your cursor currently occupies, but the ruler is also interactive and let's you change those margins for individual elements. In screenwriting, this is called cheating. And we'll see later that, in some cases, cheaters can prosper. Under your script is a specialized toolbar at the bottom left of the window called the Pop-up Menus. It lets you view and control important information you'll need to check frequently. From left to right, you can adjust the magnification, or zoom of your script view, the page number, the scene number and the style element where your cursor is sitting.
The status bar at the very bottom of the window delivers helpful messages as you work. Mainly about what keyboard shortcuts are available at the moment. In case you're more of a key stroker than a mouser. What I've just described is everything you need to know to take your script from first to Final Draft. Everything else in the software is designed to make your job easier, faster, or to age you in the creative job of keeping track of characters, notes and revisions.
Screenwriting with Final Draft is a step-by-step, interactive journey that takes the aspiring screenwriter—or the pro who hasn't yet used Final Draft—from zero to sixty. While it doesn't cover every feature, this Final Draft training course offers an overview of 80% of the tools a writer needs to go from outline to, well, final draft. Your guide, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Roger S.H. Schulman, also offers insider tips and tricks to save time and improve the quality of scripts, and a bonus chapter on using Final Draft Writer on the iPad or iPhone—to take scripts wherever inspiration strikes.
- The history of screenwriting
- Customizing the Final Draft toolbar
- Choosing a Final Draft template
- Finding and replacing words
- Creating macros to speed up formatting
- Working with the Format Assistant
- Making revisions
- Comparing two drafts
- Importing and exporting scripts from Final Draft
- Working with Final Draft Writer for iOS