How to Format Scripts in Word 2010

November 18, 2010, By Christian Cawley

There are many different templates available for Microsoft Word 2010, from those that help you make newsletters to templates that can be used to make flyers, posters, cards, newsletters … the list goes on and on.

One common use of Word is to write screenplays and scripts, whether for theatre, TV, radio, movies or comics and graphic novels. These different uses for scripts all have different conventions, necessitating the use of different templates. For instance in a comic strip the script might be left-justified with the name of the speaking character, their dialogue in upper case and a reference to the page and frame number, whereas in a movie script the text might be justified centrally with dialogue in lower case.

While you might be happy to spend time adjusting the positioning of your script as you go, or perhaps after you have finished the first draft, with the free template tools available for Word you won’t need to!

Script and Screenplay Templates at Office Online

You can browse office Online either via visiting office.microsoft.com or by going to New and using the search function. In Word 2010 you might find that the templates available for scripts and screenplays aren’t available in via the application, so you will need to search office.microsoft.com in order to find the ones you need.

For the search term “script” there is one suitable template available:

  • A Template for a TV or Movie Script

For the search terms “screenplay”, meanwhile, there are two templates you can use in Word 2010:

  • Screenplay with styles and hotkeys
  • Screenplay

While A Template for a TV or Movie Script and Screenplay with styles and hotkeys can be downloaded to run in Word straightaway, the template simply titled Screenplay must be saved to your PC and the .DOT template file unzipped. Once this is done, the template can be used.

Each of these templates is preconfigured with some text to allow you to see how the particular conventions are arranged and formatted. The Screenplay with styles and hotkeys also features some hotkeys to allow you to quickly switch the text formatting between Character name, Action and Dialogue; designed for Word 2007, this template is particularly compatible with Word 2010. You will notice the text styles appear in the Home tab of Word in the Styles section.

Other Templates

The reason there are so few script and screenplay templates available for Word 2010 seems to be due to the popularity of applications such as Final Draft. Users of earlier versions of Word will have difficulty using the templates available for Word 2007 and 2010 and should therefore check out the templates available from the BBC’s Writer’s Room.

Script Smart Gold is designed for Word 97 and 2000 and also works with Word 2002/XP and Word 2003. The template features a macro (so security settings should be configured accordingly) and acts as an add-in for older versions of Word, adding a new menu option. Script Smart Gold affords the following template formatting:

UK Edition:
Screenplay; TV Taped Drama; TV Taped Sitcom; Radio Drama; Radio Sketch; Stage; Comic Book

US Edition:
Screenplay; TV Tape-Live; TV Three-Camera; Radio; Stage; Comic Book

(UK and US editions are due to the transatlantic formatting differences and nothing to do with your version of Word.)

Word 2007 and Word 2010 users can also use Script Smart Gold by adjusting macro settings accordingly in File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings.

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