Final Draft 7

Final Draft is the industry-standard application for script writers. But while version 7 adds a few nice features, this buggy release doesn’t live up to its predecessors’ excellent reputations.

The Final Draft workflow has changed little, and that’s a good thing. The beauty of Final Draft has always been that it streamlined the mechanics of scriptwriting so your brain could concentrate on the story. Version 7 is no different: Switching between character, action, dialogue, and scene formatting is still effortless. Type a character’s name and click Enter, and Final Draft automatically formats the document for a line of dialogue. Its SmartType feature can also automatically fill in established characters’ names once you’ve typed
the first letter.

Final Draft 7 is cross-platform, so script-swapping is easy. Its CollaboWriter feature lets multiple users work on the same script simultaneously, and even chat online about it. The program also provides a set of updated script templates for film, television, and theatre.

Version 7 lets you view two sections of your script in its Panel view – either side-by-side or stacked one on top of the other (pictured). This is helpful because it lets you review one section of a script as you write in another.

And version 7 includes a stand-alone application, called Tagger, that lets you break down and make annotations in a script, which can then be exported to movie-production scheduling programs such as Write Brothers’ Movie Magic Screenwriter.

While this sounds fantastic, version was filled with bugs. Paging down a script caused the screen to redraw poorly, leaving line artifacts. Cutting and pasting text was hit-or-miss.

Even something as fundamental as printing a script caused an instant crash (though turning off the default Format Assistant feature prevented crashes). The company acknowledged these problems and said that they’d be remedied by the time you read this.


Final Draft 7 needs a lot more work. While the new Panel view and Tagger program are useful, Final Draft 6 users should avoid the upgrade until the kinks are worked out.

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