Final Draft vs. Microsoft Word

Use Final Draft when you need to write a movie.
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You can use Final Draft as a text editor, but its creators designed it for a different purpose. Final Draft helps writers produce screenplays, movie scripts and other creative documents. Microsoft Word, another text editor, doesn't have the specialized screenwriting tools you find in Final Draft. The application that's best for you depends on your writing goals.

1 Word's Strengths

Word is helpful when you need to create regular documents, such as reports, presentations and letters. It comes with tools that import information from other Microsoft products and formatting features that make your text look professional. You have the ability to add tables to documents, create macro programs that automate repetitive tasks and enhance images you include in your documents. Word's grammar checker works as your personal proofreader, identifying spelling and grammatical errors.

2 Final Cut Overview

As you type your story’s content into Final Draft, it automatically formats the text into screenplay format. The program also keeps track of important entities such as scenes, characters and locations that exist in your story. It has a Scene Panels that simplifies scene management, a Script Panel and an Index Card panel that lets you record notes about your scenes. The interface gives you the power to navigate through your document quickly in a non-linear fashion. Use one of Final Draft’s templates when you’d like to jump-start a writing project.

3 Outlining Capabilities

Outlines can help you brainstorm ideas and organize them efficiently. Word can create simple numbered outlines that consist of headings and subheadings. Final Draft has a full-featured outliner that gives you the ability to lay out the general parts of your story before you write the specific elements. For example, you could use it to outline a character's dialogue within a scene. When you complete your outline, use it to write your story.

4 Export Your Content

After you create a Microsoft Word document, you can save it in formats such as PDF, XML, RTF and HTML. Save a file as an HTML document and you can view it in a Web browser. You can save a Final Draft document in its native FD7 or FD8 format. You also have the ability to save documents you create as HTML, RTF or PDF files. Both applications enable you to save a document as a template and use it later.

After majoring in physics, Kevin Lee began writing professionally in 1989 when, as a software developer, he also created technical articles for the Johnson Space Center. Today this urban Texas cowboy continues to crank out high-quality software as well as non-technical articles covering a multitude of diverse topics ranging from gaming to current affairs.