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

Formatting a script in Word might seem daunting at first but worry not, it’s easier than you think! In this quick overview, I’ll guide you through setting up your document for success. You’ll learn how to adjust margins, apply proper font and style, and set up dialogues and character names. Ready to dive into the world of scriptwriting?

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

Before we jump into the specifics, it’s important to note that the standard script format has specific requirements for margins, font, and spacing. Following these steps will ensure that your script looks professional and adheres to industry standards.

Step 1: Set the Page Margins

Set the top and bottom margins to 1 inch, and the left and right margins to 1.5 inches.

Page margins are crucial because they provide space for binding and handwritten notes. In scriptwriting, it’s standard to have wider left margins for hole-punching and binding scripts.

Step 2: Choose a Font and Size

Select Courier New, 12-point font for your entire script.

Courier New is the industry-standard font for scripts because it creates a uniform page count. One script page in Courier New typically equals one minute of screen time, making it easier for producers to estimate the length of your script.

Step 3: Format Dialogue

Indent dialogue 2.5 inches from the left margin.

Dialogue should be easily distinguishable from action lines and character names. The standard indent ensures that readers can quickly scan the page and understand the flow of conversations.

Step 4: Format Character Names

Center character names above their dialogue, capitalized, and 3.7 inches from the left margin.

By centering and capitalizing character names, you make it clear who is speaking. This standard placement above dialogue is a clear signal to actors reading the script.

Step 5: Add Parentheticals

Place parentheticals directly below the character name, indented 3.1 inches from the left margin.

Parentheticals provide specific instructions on how a line should be delivered. They should be concise and used sparingly to avoid cluttering the script.

Once you’ve followed these steps, your script will have the appearance of a professional screenplay. You’ll be ready to share your work with confidence, knowing that it meets industry standards.

Tips for Formatting a Script in Word

  • Use the "Styles" feature in Word to save your formatting settings for dialogue, character names, and action lines. This makes it easy to apply consistent formatting throughout your script.
  • Double-space between the character name and dialogue to improve readability.
  • Use page numbers in the top right corner, half an inch from the top, to keep your script organized.
  • Don’t forget to include a title page with your script’s title, name, and contact information centered on the page.
  • Always proofread your script for formatting errors, as these can distract readers from your story.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I create a title page for my script in Word?

Create a separate page at the beginning of your document with the title of your script, your name, and contact information centered vertically and horizontally on the page.

Can I use a different font other than Courier New?

While other fonts can be used, Courier New is the industry standard for a reason. It ensures consistency in page count and readability, so it’s best to stick with it.

What is the standard script length?

A standard feature-length screenplay is typically between 90 and 120 pages, while a television script for a half-hour show is usually around 22 pages, and a one-hour show is around 45 pages.

How important is formatting in scriptwriting?

Formatting is incredibly important in scriptwriting because it affects the pacing, readability, and professional appearance of your script. Proper formatting indicates that you understand industry standards and respect the reader’s time.

Can I use Microsoft Word to write a script?

Yes, Microsoft Word is a suitable program for writing scripts. While there are specialized scriptwriting software options available, Word can be effectively used with the correct formatting.


  1. Set the page margins to 1 inch top and bottom, and 1.5 inches left and right.
  2. Choose Courier New, 12-point font.
  3. Indent dialogue 2.5 inches from the left margin.
  4. Center and capitalize character names 3.7 inches from the left margin.
  5. Place parentheticals 3.1 inches from the left margin.


So, there you have it! Formatting a script in Word isn’t so intimidating after all, right? Remember, the key to a great script isn’t just in the storytelling but also in the presentation. By following the steps outlined above, you’ll ensure your script not only reads like a pro’s but looks like one too. And remember, practice makes perfect. So go ahead, start scripting those dialogues and action lines. Who knows, your perfectly formatted script might just be the next big hit in the film industry. Keep writing, keep formatting, and most importantly, keep dreaming!

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