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Celtx -- Anyone aware of this program?

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Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Jun 30, 2008 at 06:21 PM


Hi, all,

I just learned about this software, Celtx. It isn’t an outliner or a PIM, and it is designed for screenwriters and dramatists. But it seems packed with great features, and seems to be well thought out. And it appears to be free.

I haven’t run it yet, so don’t know if it behaves itself.

I just thought I’d see what others thought of Celtx and to let those of you who might be interested in this kind of software know it is there.


Steve Z.


Posted by Franz Grieser
Jun 30, 2008 at 07:39 PM


Hi Stephen

>I just learned about this software, Celtx. It isn’t an outliner or a PIM, and
>it is designed for screenwriters and dramatists. But it seems packed with great
>features, and seems to be well thought out. And it appears to be free.

It is not only free it is also Open Source. And it’s available for Windows and the Mac.

I do not use it as I do not write screenplays.

Celtx has been mentioned several times in the Scrivener forum. 2 threads might be interesting for you.

One on an older version of Celtx:

And another one discussing how to import Scrivener files into Celtx:

Hope it helps,



Posted by JohnK
Jun 30, 2008 at 10:52 PM


There’s a fair amount of discussion about Celtx over on the software forum at Done Deal (screenwriting forums) if anyone is interested:
http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/forumdisplay.php?f=21 . They do discuss outliners occasionally, but obviously in a specific context.

The general consensus appears to be that Celtx is maturing nicely. The huge barrier that a program such as Celtx faces is that screenwriters have to be convinced beyond all reasonable doubt that a program is rock solid before they will entrust a script to it—for obvious reasons. Most screenplay software uses proprietary file formats, so you can’t afford to take a risk. (Proprietary formats are perhaps understandable in the case of scriptwriting software—the file generally contains not only the script, but the outline, comments, preparatory notes etc.—although in the end most scripts circulate as PDFs).

I have fallen victim to this once already. I used to use Sophocles, a wonderful, elegant, lean program that was by far the best piece of screenwriting software available (and relatively cheap at $120—yes that’s cheap for screenwriting software). But it was a one-man band, and a couple of months ago the web site (sophocles.net) vanished. No warning. Which wouldn’t have been a complete disaster apart from the fact that each install of Sophocles (even on the same machine) required online activation. Cue a lot of worried screenwriters (see above-mentioned forum)...

I considered Celtx. Briefly. I made a quick decision that I would, reluctantly, go with one of the “industry standards” (which for the record are Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter—they both like to call themselves the industry standard). Both hopelessly over-priced for what they do, and neither is as good as Sophocles. But I have learned my lesson. For mission-critical software, no more one-man bands, no risks. Follow the herd.


Posted by Dr Andus
Oct 12, 2012 at 10:55 PM


I have also checked out Celtx (free Windows desktop v. 2.9.7). They are rather sneaky. On the website they tell you you can get all this software for free, just sign up. It’s only once you signed up that they tell you about all the fee-based services and the paid versions of their downloadable software, as well as the limitations of the free software.

I only checked out the novel writing features of Celtx but I was underwhelmed. Storybook Pro is a lot more sophisticated and I would rather use it instead, despite the shortcomings I’ve just mentioned in my other post.


Posted by Gary Carson
Oct 13, 2012 at 01:54 AM


The weird thing about the “industry standards” Final Draft and Movie Magic is that they are both riddled with bugs. At least, the windows versions are (I get the impression from reading the mixed reviews that both apps were originally designed for the Mac and then ported—badly—over to Windows). I’ve tested both of them on Windows and both would crash suddenly for no apparent reason. They also had a lot of other bugs with their screen displays and their outlining and online collaboration features, etc. And these are the standards that everyone in the industry is supposed to use. It’s incredible. I tested them a couple years ago, however, so maybe they’ve improved, but I doubt it.

I tried Celtx a while ago. Can’t remember too much about it, but it appeared to be stable. I also got burned when Sophocles went bust. The developer and his website just vanished into thin air, leaving a lot of users twisting in the wind, unable to reinstall their software because it required online activation. Movie Outline is another option which is apparently still being developed. It’s stable and fairly easy to use. I guess your choice will depend on your situation. If you’re writing spec scripts, you might be able to submit PDFs of your screenplays, so I guess it doesn’t matter what software you use. There are also some Word macros floating around out there, but from what I’ve read, most of the studios have specific standards regarding submissions. Some of them absolutely require Final Draft, for instance. I’m not sure what the situation is with agents.

The screenwriting program business appears to be a niche market similar to that for outliners and PIMs. If you’re serious about trying to break into screenwriting (a closed market if I ever saw one), you should probably invest in one of the major apps, probably Final Draft.


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