Free Software for Writers: Celtx

By now you’ve probably gathered that I write short stories and novels.  Although publishers tend to put formatting restrictions on the submission of these types of manuscripts, the restrictions are usually easy to meet:  Double-spaced, flush left, courier font, wide margins.  Other types of manuscripts–screenplays, for instance–have much more specific requirements.  Although you can try to implement the required format in a word processor, it’s much easier to use software specifically designed for that purpose.  Enter Celtx.

Celtx bills itself as “the world’s first fully integrated solution for media pre-production and collaboration”.  In addition to its screenplay formatting ability, it contains facilities for defining characters, storyboarding, index-carding, and production scheduling, as well tracking props, wardrobes, sets, and cast members.  It even permits collaboration with other users.  I only used Celtx briefly, when I thought I might dabble in screenwriting (an experiment that didn’t last long), but I found it easy and intuitive to use.  Even non-screenplay writers might like it for its organizational power.  I don’t do index-carding or outlining (tried it once and the end result bore no resemblance to the outline), but many authors do.

Celtx is available for Linux, OS X, and that other operating system whose name I can’t remember at the moment.

As a side note, writers who are interested in learning more about Celtx (and about Linux in general) might want to check out episodes 93 and 94 of the Linux Reality podcast.  Episode #93 is an interview with a writer (not me) who uses Linux, and episode #94 is a rundown by another writer who uses Linux (also not me) of various Linux applications that are of value to authors, including OpenOffice and Celtx.

Thanks and happy writing!

3 thoughts on “Free Software for Writers: Celtx

  1. Hi, can you tell me how to doublespace the dialogue in my screenplay? I’m working on a three-camera format TV spec, and I can’t get the dialogue to be double spaced.




    1. Hi N,

      Actually I’m afraid I can’t … I never got much past the tinkering stage with screenwriting and don’t even have Celtx on my current computer anymore. But I’ll put this out there for anyone else who might be able to answer it, and I’ll see if I can track down the information for you.

      There is an (unanswered) question about this at the Celtx forum at Maybe giving that thread a bump will produce a response. The person who asked the question mentioned that she had been manually double-spacing but it was causing the space between lines to be too big. In some programs, something like SHIFT-ENTER or CTRL-ENTER will sometimes produce tighter line spacing than just plain ENTER.




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