Final Draft, the screenwriting application I use most despite profound reservations, has been upgraded to 7.1.3. I haven’t gotten it to crash, so that’s something.

My assistant Chad had never used the Tools>Reformat command, which despite its clunky interface is a huge timesaver when importing text from other places.1 Basically, it steps through your script paragraph by paragraph, waiting for you to press a key indicating which type of element — action, dialogue, parenthetical — that paragraph should be. If the formating is okay, ‘N’ will leave it alone and jump you to the next block. ‘P’ moves you back.

Make friends with Command-R.

One aspect of Final Draft I’ve long neglected is its ability to do multiple panes. I’ve never found splitting the window all that helpful, but with today’s giant monitors, I could see myself doing it more. One often needs to refer back to other parts of a script while writing a scene. Multiple panes make that marginally easier.

One annoyance is that Final Draft won’t let you see the two panels in different views. If I could see the “real” script on the right and the expanded script notes on the left, that would be helpful. But Final Draft can’t do that. The exceptions are Scene Navigator and Index Cards. Scene Navigator is almost worthless without the split screen. Index cards you either dig or you don’t. (I don’t.)

  1. Including other Final Draft scripts. Too often, Final Draft will retain the margin and font information after a copy-and-paste, so it’s up to you to remind it that you really do want the dialogue lined up.