How to Format a Screenplay in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Formatting a screenplay in Word might sound daunting, but it’s simpler than you might think. With a quick overview, you’ll learn how to set up your document so it meets industry standards. That includes the correct font, margins, and spacing to ensure your script looks professional. So, if you’re ready to turn your story into a screenplay, let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Format a Screenplay in Word

Before we start, it’s important to know why formatting a screenplay correctly is essential. It’s not just about making it look nice – it’s crucial for readability, timing, and industry standards. Follow these steps, and you’ll have a professional-looking screenplay in no time.

Step 1: Set the Page Margins

Set the top, bottom, left, and right page margins to 1 inch.

Screenplays require specific margins to ensure there’s enough white space on the page. This makes it easier to read and makes notes. A one-inch margin on all sides is the industry standard.

Step 2: Choose the Correct Font and Size

Select Courier New font at 12-point size for the entire document.

Courier New is the standard font for screenplays because it’s monospaced. This means every character occupies the same amount of space, which is important for timing. Typically, one page of a screenplay equals one minute of screen time.

Step 3: Set the Paragraph Spacing

Set your paragraph spacing to ‘single’ with no additional space before or after paragraphs.

Screenplays need to be tight and easy to skim. Extra space between paragraphs can throw off the flow and timing, so it’s best to keep spacing consistent throughout.

Step 4: Create the Title Page

Create a separate title page with the screenplay title, your name, and contact information centered on the page.

The title page is simple but crucial. It should have the title of your screenplay in all caps, about a third of the way down the page. Your name and contact information go at the bottom, also centered.

Step 5: Format Dialogue and Action

Format dialogue by indenting 2.5 inches from the left margin. Action lines should be aligned to the left margin.

Dialogue and action are the bread and butter of your screenplay. Getting the formatting right for these two elements is crucial. For dialogue, the character’s name should be in all caps, centered, with the dialogue underneath, indented 2.5 inches from the left. Action lines, on the other hand, should run the full width of the text area, aligned to the left margin.

After you’ve followed these steps, you’ll have a screenplay that’s properly formatted and ready for the eyes of industry professionals.

Tips for Formatting a Screenplay in Word

  • Use the ‘Styles’ feature in Word to save formatting options.
  • Double-check that all dialogue is indented correctly.
  • Use a screenplay template to simplify the process.
  • Avoid using colors or any fancy graphics.
  • Make sure your title page is free of any page numbers or headers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the standard font for screenplays?

The standard font for screenplays is Courier New at 12-point size.

How important is proper screenplay formatting?

Proper screenplay formatting is crucial as it affects readability and is an industry standard that professionals expect.

Can I use any other fonts for my screenplay?

While you can technically use any font, sticking to Courier New is best for industry standards and timing purposes.

Should I include page numbers on my screenplay?

Yes, but not on the title page. Page numbers should appear in the upper right corner, with a half-inch margin from the top and one-inch from the right edge.

What if my screenplay doesn’t fit the standard format?

If your screenplay doesn’t fit the standard format, it may not be taken seriously by industry professionals. It’s best to stick to the accepted formatting rules.


  1. Set the page margins to 1 inch.
  2. Choose Courier New font at 12-point size.
  3. Set paragraph spacing to single with no extra space.
  4. Create a separate title page.
  5. Format dialogue and action correctly.


Formatting a screenplay in Word is a necessary step for any aspiring screenwriter. It’s not just about making your work presentable – it’s also about adhering to the standards that industry professionals expect. Proper formatting ensures that your screenplay is taken seriously and that it can easily be read and visualized. Remember, a well-formatted screenplay can make all the difference in how your story is received. So, take the time to master the formatting process, and your script will stand out for all the right reasons. Whether you’re writing your first screenplay or you’re a seasoned pro, following these guidelines will help ensure your work is ready for the big screen.

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