User Guide

Advanced Editing Features

Learn all about color coding & numbering your scenes, formatting paragraphs, capturing comments and characters names and inserting, removing, splitting, merging and reordering scenes.

Table Of Contents

    The screenplay shown in screenshots are from the 2019 film Knives Out. The original screenplay can be downloaded from here and all rights for the screenplay rests with its owners. We are using the screenplay only for explaining features in the product.

    Capturing The Logline

    Logline is a 2-3 line pitch for your entire screenplay. Typically the logline of your screenplay ends up as short description of your film on IMDB.

    If you want to capture the logline of your screenplay in Scrite, you can toggle the logline editor explicitly in Settings.

    Once enabled, Scrite will present a logline field below the title page on the Screenplay Editor.

    You can capture the logline in this field.

    Color Coding Scenes

    While plotting your story, you probably use post-it notes on a pin board.

    Image Courtesy:

    Some writers prefer to use colored post-it notes, some prefer using colored pens and some don’t prefer using any color at all. But if you are the kind of writer who prefers color coding your scenes, you can do that in Scrite as well.

    Simply pull out the scene options menu…

    …and assign a color of your choice.

    As you assign colors to different scenes, you will notice that the scene list panel on the left uses the same color coding to display scene headings.

    Page Number and Screen Time

    Although Scrite does not use a page-centric UI, we realize that it is important for writers to get a clear understanding of the page-count and also the page they are currently on for two reasons:

    • Each page roughly translates to 1 minute of screen time, so writers may want to keep track of how long a story they have written
    • Many popular screenplay structures are page-centric. For example, the popular Save The Cat structure requires you to break into the second act at the 25th page.

    Scrite lets you keep track of current page, total page count, current time and total time by reporting these stats on the status bar.

    As you move the cursor, Scrite updates the values of page and time values displayed on the status bar. As you scroll you will notice page number bubbles on the left that give you a notion of where the page breaks within your scene.

    Please note, that when you export the screenplay to PDF the page count may increase on the PDF depending on your use of MORE and CONT’D markers.

    Also, the time values computed are approximate and are based on the assumption that each page translates to 1 minute of screen time. But if you are writing a screenplay where each page translates to 90 seconds of screen time, for example, then you can head to Settings -> Page Setup and alter the “Time Per Page” value.

    NOTE: Page count and breaks vary from app to app. We have seen cases where Final Draft reports page count as 116, Scrite reports page count for the same screenplay as 119 and Fade In Pro reports it as 126. From what we understand, it is nearly impossible to get page counts to be consistent across all apps.

    Disabling Page Number, Count and Time Computation

    Live computation of page number, count and time may sometimes slow down app’s responsiveness. We are working towards optimizing it. However in the meantime, if you find that your app is being very sluggish while typing you can consider turning off page and time computation.

    Simply click on the page or time icon on the status bar to toggle the computation on and off. While page and time count is turned off, Scrite will not attempt to compute current page & time for every few keystrokes, which causes the app to be a lot more responsive.

    NOTE: This feature is available only from version 0.7 beta onwards.

    Formatting Paragraphs

    With Scrite you can format paragraph types and have that format applied to all paragraphs of the said types. Go to Settings -> Formatting Rules to view the currently applied formatting rules.

    You can change formatting types for each paragraph type in this dialogue. As you make changes to paragraph formatting, the preview on the top will show all the changes.

    You can always come back to this dialog box and click on the RESET button to reset all paragraph formats to default values.

    Now, click on the apply/check button on the top right of the dialog box to apply the changes. Scrite will now apply the changes and present you a reformatted screenplay.

    The newly configured paragraph formats will also be used in preview, exported PDFs and reports.

    Currently Scrite does not support apply special formatting to fragments of text. That means you cannot select text in your screenplay and make them bold, italic or underline; or even apply background and foreground colors.

    Custom Scene Numbers

    By default Scrite generates numbers for your scenes automatically. If you change the scene order or insert scenes in-between, the numbers are regenerated.

    Some of our early adopters requested for custom scene numbering. For example, some writers may want to number related scenes using 1, 1A, 1B, 1C and so on. Its now possible to apply custom scene numbers by simply editing the scene number field.

    Notice that Scrite resumes automatic numbering for scenes that do not have a custom scene number.

    Custom scene numbers are used in preview, exported PDFs and reports.

    Capturing Comments

    While writing or reviewing a screenplay, you may want to capture comments. You can simply toggle the comments box on to get a pullout handle on the right side of each scene.

    You can pull out the scene comments box by clicking on the pullout handle. Pulling out the scene comment box for one scene, causes the box to be pulled out for all scenes.

    Notice how a shadow is rendered under the comment box of the current scene. This helps differentiate the current scene’s comment box from others. Scene comments are not exported into reports and PDF.

    If you have long scenes, then the scene comment box scrolls along with the scene and sports a title bar. This way you are clear about the scene to which a comment box is tagged.

    Adding Mute Characters

    As described in the Quick Start, Scrite shows characters against each scene. By default Scrite automatically detects characters who have dialogues in a given scene and capture them into a list.

    For many scenes, the characters present in the scene will have atleast one dialogue, therefore we can simply let Scrite capture the character names for us into a list. However, there may be times when a character is present in the scene but does not have a dialogue.

    For instance, in the scene above we may have a character Satya, who is present but doesn’t speak a word. Such characters are called “mute characters”.

    You can click on the + icon at the end of the character list to add a mute character to the scene.

    Mute characters are displayed with a cross button.

    By clicking on that cross button, you can remove a mute character from the scene.

    At any point in the future, if you decide to add one or more dialogues for a mute character, then the cross button will automatically disappear.

    Also, if you delete all dialogues for a character whose name was explicitly added as a mute-character before, then the character will continue to be listed as a mute-character – with the cross button.

    Automatically Detecting Mute Characters

    Scrite keeps track of all characters in the entire screenplay. This means, it knows if a character has spoken atleast once in the entire screenplay.

    Scrite offers a menu option for scanning mute characters in the “Screenplay Options” menu.

    By making use of this option, you can have Scrite go over all the scenes, detect for presence of one or more characters in the scene who may not have a dialogue in that scene but elsewhere. Such characters are added as mute-characters in the scenes where they are found.

    Notice how Harlan and Mom are picked up as mute characters in scene 17. Scrite recognized that Harlan and Mom have dialogues elsewhere in the screenplay, but in Scene #17 they are referenced but don’t actually speak. So they are captured as mute characters. Ofcourse, if Scrite committed a parse error in picking up a mute character, you can always delete it from the list by clicking on the cross button.

    Inserting Scenes

    To insert a scene in-between two existing scenes in the screenplay, simply make the first of the two scenes active…

    Here we want to insert a scene after Scene #18 and before #19. So, we make Scene #18 active by clicking on it in the scene list panel or my taking the mouse and clicking on its scene content area.

    …then click on the add scene button in the toolbar.

    Scrite automatically adds a scene, whose heading is a slight variation of the previous scene. You can edit both the scene heading and the scene contents.

    Removing Scenes

    Removing a scene is as simple as pulling out the scene menu and selecting the “Remove” option.

    Removed scenes are not deleted, they are just no longer a part of the screenplay. You can always add them back by switching to the Structure tab.

    Splitting Scenes

    Sometimes you may want to split a long scene into two parts. Simply place the cursor before the first character of the paragraph across which you want to split…

    Then you can either right-click and select the “Split Scene” option or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Return or Ctrl+Enter on Windows & Linux, ⌘+Return on Mac to split the scene across the selected paragraph.

    NOTE: While splitting, Scrite splits the character list with dialogues accurately, but retains mute characters in the original scene from which the split was initiated.

    Merging Scenes

    You can merge one scene with the scene preceding it by simply taking the cursor to the first line of the scene…

    You can now either right-click and select “Join Previous Scene” option or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Backspace on Windows and Linux, ⌘+Backspace on Mac to merge scenes.

    Scrite inserts a — separator paragraph between the scenes that were merged, but you can explicitly delete them.

    Splitting and merging scenes may seem a bit round about in Scrite, because its not a page-centric app like many other screenwriting apps. Scrite employs a scene-centric UI, so splitting and merging of scenes are consistent with its design philosophy.

    Scenes Without Heading

    Although Scrite enables scene heading for every scene, you can manually turn off scene headings for specific scenes. This may actually be useful at times.

    Simply pull out the scene menu and uncheck the “Scene Heading” option. Scrite immediately replaces the scene heading with a “NO SCENE HEADING” text.

    Scenes without a heading are shown as is in preview and exported as such in PDF and reports.

    Heading-less scenes are useful when you have a situation written down but want to retain the flexibility of moving them into the screenplay at an appropriate place.

    Reordering Scenes

    Which brings us to the next topic, which is reordering scenes. Suppose we want the heading-less scene created in the previous section to now show up after Scene #1, we can simply drag the scene into place on the scene list panel.

    Now the scene which was only a possibility until the last section, suddenly has context and a place in the screenplay.

    If you move the heading-less scene to another location in the screenplay, it will inherit the context set by the previous scene in its new location.

    Spell Check

    Scrite bundles integration with the native Spell Check software already available on your operating system. This way we can share dictionaries with other apps you are already using on your computer.

    As of writing, Scrite only supports spell check for English language. In a future update we hope to offer spell check for all supported languages in Scrite.

    By default spell check is enabled in Scrite, but you can manually toggle it in Settings.

    Once enabled, Scrite will highlight in red any spelling mistake in your screenplay text. When you right click on the highlighted word, you will be presented with options to correct the spelling mistake.

    You can pick from the selected options or manually correct the spelling mistake. If you believe that you have spelt the word correctly, you can either

    • Add to dictionary: in which case Scrite will register your word in the system wide dictionary, so that other apps recognize your word as spelt-correct. –OR–
    • Ignore: so that Scrite will only recognize your word as spelt-correct in the currently open document.

    Scrite automatically recognizes all character names as correct spellings.

    NOTE: Scrite doesn’t yet have grammar check. We hope to introduce that feature in a future update.

    DPI Setting

    Previous public betas of Scrite would try and pick a DPI setting based on the resolution of the display and the pixel ratio supported by it. While this is still available, recent public betas of Scrite default to 72 dpi on macOS and 96 dpi on Windows & Linux. Using these DPI values ensures that you get consistent font sizes and word wrapping across all platforms and also between on-screen and on-PDF representations of your Screenplay.

    However, there are situations where using the standard DPI values (72 and 96) doesnt actually work for your laptop (or desktop). In such cases you can manually alter the DPI setting. Just head to Settings and switch to the additional tab. Alter the resolution setting in Page Layout.

    NOTE: We recommend that you tinker with this setting only if you are facing issues with your display. Otherwise it is best to use default values for your platform, which is:

    • 72 on macOS
    • 96 on Windows & Linux

    Auto Save

    Scrite auto-saves documents by default every once in 60 seconds.


    Auto-Save kicks in only after you save your work into a .scrite file once.

    By default Scrite creates a folder in the same path as your .scrite file, into which it stores up to 20 backups. These are 20 snapshots of your Scrite document from up to 20 saves ago, each backup is atleast one minute apart in timestamp.

    You can toggle auto-save or change the interval in Settings.

    Loading A Backup

    From version 0.6.8 Beta, Scrite features a button on the toolbar that lets you know how the number of backups available for the currently opened screenplay.

    Clicking on that button pulls out a dialog box from where you can select a specific backup and open it either in a new window or in the current window itself.

    Backups are always loaded anonymously. This means that you will have to explicitly save the backup by providing a file name and that it wont over write the file from which it was loaded.

    What’s next?

    In the next article, we show how you can write in Indian languages using Scrite.