Screenplay templates for Microsoft Word 2007

Script Frenzy

This is slightly outside my normal posts about writing novels, but I am a big supporter of NaNoWriMo, even though some years I am too busy to actually participate. I like the way it kick-starts my writing habits and makes me get down there and just write. Those WriMos amongst us will know that they also do a companion challenge called Script Frenzy, which runs through April. Write a 100 page script in 30 days. I have never participated in Script Frenzy (yet), but one day I would like to.

I was reading the Script Frenzy forums last night —anything but write more on my novel, and yes, I am procrastinating —in particular the What software do you use thread. For most people on Windows it comes down to Celtx or Final Draft. Celtx looks pretty good and from what I can see on the forum it’s free, or reasonably priced at least. Final Draft is a commercial product and costs around US$250.

If I was starting from scratch and just writing for Script Frenzy, I’d probably go for Celtx. If I wanted to write scripts for a living I’d go for Final Draft. But me, I’m a Word gal, and I write everything in Word, even scripts.

So what templates can you use in Word?

Screenplay templates that I know about for Word include:

I have been using Word 2007 for a while now, and that’s what I want to concentrate on here. Screenplay templates for Word 2007.

Screenplay with styles and hotkeys

Installing

Douglas Ryan VanBenthuysen’s script is easy to install. It’s one of the community templates in the Microsoft Office Online area

Creating new scripts

Once you have installed the template, when you want to create a new document based on the template:

  • Click on the Office button and choose New
  • If you have used the template before, then you will find the screenplay in your Recently Used Templates section:
    • Double-click on the Screenplay with styles and hotkeys.dotx document
  • If you haven’t opened it before, or have opened lots of different templates since you last used it:
    • Click on My Templates which is under the Templates list on the left hand side of the New Templates page that comes up
    • This brings up a smaller window with some document templates. Choose screenplay with styles and hotkeys.doc and then click OK
  • The template opens as a Word document. You are now ready to start typing your screenplay
    Click on image to show larger picture

How the template works

The template works by using predefined styles to create the screenplay format.

For example, choose the Scene Header style from the list of Styles on the Home ribbon. (Note that in my image, below, you can’t see the Scene Header style. Click on the scrollbar to the right of the styles and scroll down to find it. Click on it, and then start typing your scene header line.

When you press the next line is automatically set up to be an action line and following that a character and following the dialogue another character line. Just keep typing.

When you’re ready to start a new scene, or maybe some more action, go up to the list of Styles and choose the appropriate style.

Click on image to show larger picture

BBC Script Smart Gold

I have used Script Smart Gold for a number of years now and I like it. For a free product it’s pretty good, but it’s a lot more complex than the Screenplay with styles and hotkeys template. Unfortunately, it was not designed for Office 2007. It contains macros and online help, both of which are treated differently in Word 2007, so you have to accept it won’t work seamlessly.

Installing Script Smart Gold

First, download the template:

  • Go to the BBC Script Smart Gold download page
  • Click on the version you want to download to start the download
  • Choose Save File and save the file somewhere you can find it. For example, save it to your desktop. Remember the name of your file. If you downloaded the UK edition, it will be SSG29.exe, if you downloaded the US edition it will be SSG-US13.exe. (Note that I have never downloaded the US version. All my experience has been with the UK version.)
  • Open My Documents on your PC and create a new folder called Script Smart Gold
  • Go to where you saved the file (e.g. your desktop)
  • Double-click on the filename and choose Run
  • Browse to find the Script Smart Gold folder you just created under My Documents. Don’t use the one they recommend, as this is for Office 2000 and the path is obsolete.
  • Click Unzip
  • You should get a message back saying three files were unzipped
  • Click OK.

Download WinHelp.exe (only Vista and Windows 7 users)

The help files don’t work in Vista so you have to download a program called WinHlp32.exe to read the help files. If you are running Windows XP you can ignore this section and go straight to Create New Scripts, below.

  • Go to Microsoft’s WinHlp download page and click on the link appropriate to you. i.e. The Windows Vista link if you run Vista, and Windows 7 link if you run Windows 7
  • This brings you to an intermediate page where Microsoft says something along the lines of (paraphrased, naturally)
    , “Before we go any further I’d like to check that your software is the real thing. Can I do this first.” Warning: If you do not have genuine licensed versions of all Microsoft products on your PC you will run into problems here
  • Click on Continue
  • Follow the instructions to install the Windows Genuine Advantage software. If your software passes, you finally get to the real WinHelp download page
  • Go to the bottom of the screen and you will see two download files. Choose the appropriate file and download. (If you’re not sure which one, see the Related Resources section below the downloads.)
  • Click Open and follow the prompts to install the help files.

You’re finally ready to start writing your script.

Convert to a template

This template doesn’t convert well to a Word 2007 template so what I do is just copy the Word 2000 template to the Word 2007 folder and use this. You need to copy the help files and everything else across as well, so I copy the whole folder that I unzipped.

Copy to template folder

  • Copy the Script Smart Gold folder you created unzipped your files to (My Documents > Script Smart Gold)
  • Go to your Word templates folder and paste the Script Smart Gold folder there

Use the template

Create new script

  • Click on the Office button and choose New
  • If you have used the template before, then you will find the screenply in your Recently Used Templates section:
    • Double-click on the Script Smart Gold.dot template
  • If you haven’t opened it before, or have opened lots of different templates since you last used it:
    • Click on My Templates which is under the Templates list on the left hand side of the New Templates page that comes up
    • This brings up a smaller window with some document templates. Choose the Script Smart Gold tab, and choose Script Smart Gold 2.dot and then click OK
  • You will get a message saying that the macros in the project are disabled. Click OK to the message.
  • Above the page in Word, under the ribbon, you will see a security warning that says, “Macros have been disabled”. Click on the Options button to the right of this message
  • This brings up a macro security alert message warning you how dangerous macros can be (and they can). Select Enable this content and then click OK
  • You this brings up a disclaimer message and asks if you wish to continue. Click Yes
  • This opens the document ready for you to start typing. Choose the type of script you want to use and start typing

Save file

  • Save the file as an Office 2007 document as you would normally by clicking on the Office button and choosing Save
  • When you click OK, however, you will get a message that says, “You are about to save your document to one of the new file formats …
  • Click OK to this message.

How the template works

The template works by using predefined styles along with macros to create the screenplay format.

Once you load the load the template you will have an extra tab on your ribbon called Add-Ins. The Add-Ins tab contains:

  • A custom toolbar with clickable icons to add the various formatting styles
    Click on image to show larger picture
  • A link to the online help,
Posted in NaNoWriMo, Technology
2 comments on “Screenplay templates for Microsoft Word 2007
  1. jesse says:

    damn, the link for “screenplay with styles and hotkeys” is dead :\

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Categories
October 2014
S M T W T F S
« Sep    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  
Archives