Screenwright(R) screenplay formatting template


Warning message

This extension was not updated recently. It might not work with latest versions of OpenOffice.

Primary tabs

Anikó J. Bartos & Alan C. Baird

Average: 4.3 (9 votes)

2.x+3.x, award, award-winner, award-winning, document, film, films, formatter, free, language, management, prize, prizewinner, screenwriter, template, templates, writer, writers, xerox, extension
Post date:
Friday, 23 May, 2008 - 14:56
Week: Not tracked - Month: Not tracked - Year: Not tracked - Timeline
Download extension
System Independent version - All releases
Compatible with OpenOffice 4: Unknown
User feedback:
Compatible with OpenOffice 4.x?

Alternative download site:
Summary: this free OOo Writer 3.x (+2.x) template will format your film script to industry standards.
19Sep2008: Screenwright(R) won a cash award [details] from Sun Microsystems.
16Nov2009 - 9 new templates: A4 screenplay, sitcom+A4, theater+A4, radio+A4, AV+A4.
12Feb2010: honored Screenwright(R) as Solution of the Month [N/D/F].

Hi. My name's Al. Nice to meet ya.
I'm a prizewinning writer. That, and five bucks, will get me a cuppa joe at the local Starbucks.
My debut student film was widely hailed as "the most uncommercial piece of ____ in Michigan State's history."
The film was purchased by ABC-TV's groundbreaking cyberpunk series, Max Headroom.
But do you remember Max? Nobody else does, either.
I also coauthored a book on screenwriting that was featured at the Whitney Biennial.
It tells the tale of how I met a Hungarian woman on the Internet and wrote a screenplay with her via eMail.
It also contains a bunch of the short stories that I eMailed, trying to impress her.
We eventually met face-to-face, got married, and lived happily ever after.
But the book was a dismal commercial failure and resounding critical flop.
From time to time, I advertise my services as a script doctor.
There are precious few takers.
I created my first screenplay processing system, a WordPerfect shareware extension, in 1995.
The software had tons of bells and whistles.
It was a four-star Editors' Pick at ZDNet (Ziff-Davis) and generated a five-figure offer from WordPerfect's parent company.
The offer evaporated when Corel took over.
As WordPerfect's version numbers got higher, my formatters became more and more complex.
While writing my own scripts, I enjoyed playing with all those bells and whistles.
But I eventually realized they were just distracting me from the task at hand.
I mean, most screenwriters (99.9%) don't need to keep track of scene numbers or A/B pages.
All we really need, to write a spec script, is a template to keep us from coloring outside the lines.
So I reluctantly decided it was time to abandon the bells and whistles. Besides, nobody uses WordPerfect anymore.
That's when I put together a free, no-nonsense screenwriting template for Word.
Then someone pointed out that Microsoft was starting to charge fees for "free" Word packages bundled with new computers.
And that by making Word more attractive to screenwriters, I was indirectly helping to enrich Bill Gates.
At that point, I created this basic, easy-to-use, free screenplay template for the Writer program (also free).
No frills, but complete. Elegant. Intuitive. Efficient. Conforms to Cole/Haag standards.
Did I mention that it's completely FREE OF CHARGE? You spend nada. Zilch. Bupkes.
I've always liked OOo's open-source philosophy.
I like the fact that OOo can run on just about any platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris.
I like the fact that OOo's suite of programs will handle all my spreadsheet, presentation, math, database, image processing, etc. needs.
I like the fact that OOo is familiar; it looks and feels like software from Microsoft or Apple.
I like the fact that OOo can seamlessly import/export files in a boatload of formats, including all the popular versions of Microsoft Word.
I like the fact that OOo 3 can even open that new .docx crap.
I like the fact that OOo was chosen to replace Microsoft Office on the 58 public computers at my local library.
I like the fact that OOo will automatically pop out a PDF whenever I want.
I like the fact that OOo Writer is now the only full-featured word processor that will easily format a screenplay at no cost whatsoever.
And I really like being a part of this effort to help aspiring screenwriters save their hard-earned dough.
I hope you'll enjoy using the template.

Here's a step-by-step primer for obtaining the template, which contains complete instructions, along with other goodies:
1) Download and install the latest free suite.
2) If you have a slow connection, make sure to use the "MD5 checksums" link on the right of that download page, in conjunction with a download manager program (I used and clicked Advanced, Integrity).
3) Then download the free template by clicking the "Get it!" button, below. (Trouble? Try downloading from Templates or using Chrome, Safari or Firefox.)
4) Save the template in OOo's Templates folder. I put mine here:
or here:
  C:\Program Files\ 2.4\share\template\en-US
(find your own path in OOo by clicking Tools, Options,, Paths, Templates).
5) Open OOo Writer (Text Document icon) and click File, New, Templates and Documents, Templates, My Templates (double-click), Scr2 (double-click).
6) Write your movie. And don't forget to invite me to the premiere.

Facebook page. OOo banners/buttons: A, B, C, D. Short URL for this page:

Note (2Aug2010): All 10 Screenwright(R) templates are fully tested and supplied on an "as is" basis, free of charge. Over 100,000 copies have been successfully downloaded, installed and used. Due to limited resources, the designers are no longer able to provide technical support. [forum]

Screenwright(R) screenplay formatting template

Version Operating system Compatibility Release date
1.3 System Independent 3.4 28/11/2009 - 17:29 More information Download


This template family is compatible with LibreOffice and LibreOffice Portable, but it looks like LibO's page length is slightly different, so the last line of a template page might pop down to the next page. I'm not going to change anything right now, because I suspect the next version of LibO will conform more closely with OOo. -Alan

I recently received an email pointing out this template defaults to Courier New font. According to the website: "The Courier New font alters the pitch of the typeface, taking up more space on the page and therefore altering the overall page count of a script document. Courier New font is not recommended for screenwriters." To address this issue, you can download the Courier Final Draft font at the website. [Thanks, DM!]

So I downloaded the template and it's awesome. I worked on my script for a while and then I saved it and closed it. When I reopened the script to work on it again none of the ctrl commands would work.

Why didn't the template save when I reopened the file?

This is a great addition for Open Office.

I remember Max Headroom in the UK. From what I remember it was pretty crazy, but that's what we like here :o) I'm reminded of it every time I enter a car park.

note: I have windows 7 with firefox for a browser

Its simple download the 'GET IT' file to a folder (create one where it can stay) and use the import function within OOo to grab the file... it does the rest for you. just putting it in a folder wont work... and you dont need to unzip anything

I downloaded the template and unzipped the scr2 folder and put the whole folder with all its subfolders in my templates folder but it doesn't have any *.ott files in it for Writer to use as a template. What gives?

From what I gather, this incompatibility malfunction occurs with quite a few templates on this Extensions site, but only while using Internet Explorer 8. It sounds like OOo hasn't yet optimized the site for IE. I've filed several bug reports with OOo, and I would encourage you to do the same (through the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of this page). Then try downloading the file from OOo's Templates site. If nothing else works, you might want to use another browser: Chrome, Safari and Firefox all work well with both sites. HTH- Alan

lol, what do you mean nobody remembers him?

I loved Max, Edison and of course Theora... ahh, too short lived a series IMO, but I was captivated by the premise from the initial Blipverts episode to the end. But then Max was around long before that wasn't he?
I am curious as to what they used of your original writing, and what they did not use, as that could be interesting as well :P

and BTW, I can't wait to give this template a go, as I am a total noob at the screenplay stuff, I have wasted too many ideas only because I didn't know what to do with them.

A small request; Pro to aspiring screenwriter, what suggestions would you have for someone who gets a train of thought and events, but in the process of trying to transcribe these details that made the ideas cohesive seem to "disappear" from the thought process as I'm trying to write them down. I thought of recording my ideas, but with children in the house and my ideas hitting me at the darnedest times, it is difficult at best.

I'll be sure to include you in any project that may come to fruition with the help of this little gem =D

Thanks for your kind note. Max had several incarnations in Britain before reaching these shores. The ABC-TV series needed tons of background footage to pipe through Network XXIII's monitors, so they advertised for student films, and mine got lucky. Internally, they called it their "Cash For Trash" program, which was great for the ol' self esteem. To capture an idea, I have to write it down or record it. lists a set of two keychain recorders for like nine bucks (search B000PKT0U6). Keep one on your house keys, and one on your car keys. HTH- Alan

I know this has nothing to do with OOo, but it's my understanding that the Brits and ABC are in a sort of legal standoff over who has the rights to Max Headroom, which is why the show has not made it to DVD... yet. Bugger, too. I was in love with Theora - she just doesn't know it. Incidentally, I always did wonder how they came up with all the background videos. "Cash for Trash" is not necessarily derogatory. Remember, One man's trash is another man's treasure.

This extension will come in particularly handy, as my Mother is a playwright and director for drama at a local Christian school, and I am more or less her stage manager / technical director. I imagine when she finally decides to hang up her notebook for good, I will take over the job of director. I quite seriously think she will be writing plays until the day she dies.

The most bleeding obvious is not on this page and not in the template itself (did I miss something?):


The template works with the "Styles and Formatting on left hand side of the menu-bar". Or just use the hot-keys (press Ctrl and then the number, see below):

Heading 1 / Ctrl-1: Description ("Tom enters the room")
Heading 2 / Ctrl-2: Character name ("TOM")
Heading 3 / Ctrl-3: Direction ("sounding angrily")
Heading 4 / Ctrl-4: The spoken text ("Arrrgh, I'll kill you!")

And the best thing is that the script will guess what you want is usually right, for example jumping from the character to the spoken text...


...we're no longer able to provide technical support, due to limited resources. But if your keyboard has been reassigned by another template, the Ctrl keys won't work. And if you're new to screenplays, this template will not make much sense. Try reading "The Complete Guide to Standard Script Formats: The Screenplay (Pt.1)" by Judith H. Haag and Hillis R. Cole (ISBN 0929583000). Finally, if you want to see what created pages will look like, the following screenplay was written with this template:

So, only use heading 1 at the very beginning of the document for "Description" and then use heading 5 for "Descriptions" after that?

Heading 1 / Ctrl-1: Description ("Tom enters the room")

Heading 2 / Ctrl-2: Character name ("TOM")
Heading 3 / Ctrl-3: Direction ("sounding angrily")
Heading 4 / Ctrl-4: The spoken text ("Arrrgh, I'll kill you!")

Then insert an optional Heading 5 / Ctrl-5 for more description ("Tom charges Anne")

Then loop back to Heading 2 / Ctrl-2 for the next character name ("ANNE")
Heading 3 / Ctrl-3: Direction ("sounding scared")
Heading 4 / Ctrl-4: The spoken text ("I didn't do it!")

Continue in "2-3-4-(optional 5)-back to 2" loop until "The End"

Does that sound about right?

ETA: I'm seeing two blank lines between heading 4 and heading 5. And one blank line between heading heading 5 and heading 2. So it looks like this:

"I'll kill you"
(blank line)
(blank line)
TOM charges ANNE
(blank line)
"I didn't do it"

Heading 1 is used for only the first Slugline (INT./EXT.), but it's used for ALL Descriptions, throughout the screenplay. HTH- Alan

Everytime I click on the "Get It" button I get sent to your website ( where I don't see any download link and my download never starts. A new window opens up (in my browser) and the only text is "Screenwright(R) screenplay formatting template version 1.2.1", which appears to be a link but when I click on it...nothing happens. What am I doing wrong? I really would like this extenson for my OOo Writer.

[Edit of 08/03/2008 posting] Internet Explorer doesn't work well with this site. Microsoft evidently feels that you shouldn't be offered a choice about saving or opening this download, so it just arbitrarily opens the file for you. Therefore, when you see "Screenwright(R) screenplay formatting template version X," you're actually looking at the template itself. And when you click the blue diskette icon at the left side of the line above that text, you can rejoin the step-by-step primer at step 4. Thanks for pointing out this Explorer anomaly.

J.G. from Lakewood, Colorado asks about generating a personalized version of the template: [1] insert your name/address/etc., [2] delete unwanted text and links, [3] save the revisions in a new template (File, Templates, Save, scr2a, OK).

After saving my personalized scr2a template, I expected it to be in the same Templates folder with
  C:\Program Files\ 2.4\share\template\en-US
But I was wrong. OOo Writer hid it in this folder instead:
I nearly tore out all my hair, trying to find it, so I'll save J.G. a bit of hair loss by sharing the path here...

PS: Check out the [users] mailing list thread!