Final Draft vs. Arc Studio Pro: Which One Should You Use?

When you're ready to start writing a screenplay, the first thing you need to figure out is what tool you're going to use. You're going to be spending a lot of time with it, so you want to make sure you pick the right one.

The biggest name in the screenwriting game is Final Draft. I'm sure you've heard of it. But there is one alternative I think is worth considering - Arc Studio Pro. While both programs, at the end of the day, do the same thing (let you write a screenplay), they do work in different ways that might appeal to different people.

In this article, we're going to look at what those differences are and help you decide which one is right for you.

We'll look at what kind of writing each one is best for, how easy they are to learn, what extra tools they come with, and how much they cost.

In other words: Final Draft vs. Arc Studio Pro: Which one should you use?


Use Cases

Final Draft

Final Draft is like a Swiss Army knife for writers. Its wide range of features makes it a popular pick for professional screenwriters involved in films, television series, and stage plays. But the utility of Final Draft isn't restricted to these mediums - you can use it to create novels as well.

It's equipped with many production-centric features such as scene numbering, handling revisions, and generating production reports. These capabilities make it particularly handy for large-scale projects.

If you're a writer who often works with major production companies or tackles substantial projects, Final Draft is designed with you in mind.

Arc Studio Pro

Arc Studio Pro, while a relatively newer player, has quickly earned a strong reputation, especially among collaborative writers and independent filmmakers.

Its real standout feature is its capability to support real-time co-writing. Imagine working on your script while your writing partner, who may be miles away, adds their input simultaneously.

Additionally, it simplifies the process of sharing your scripts for feedback. For those often engaged in team-based writing projects or who need to constantly share their work with others, Arc Studio Pro can be a vital ally.

Final Draft vs. Arc Studio Pro: Main differences

Final Draft:

  • Designed for complex, professional projects spanning various formats.
  • Boasts advanced tools like 'Story Map', 'Beat Board', and 'Character Navigator'.
  • Provides detailed production features such as scene numbering and revisions.

Arc Studio Pro:

  • Excels in collaborative writing with real-time co-writing and script sharing.
  • Offers a simple, intuitive interface with tools like 'Outline Mode' and 'Note Cards'.
  • Includes 'Character Insights' for tracking character appearances and dialogue.

Learning Curve

Final Draft

Being a powerhouse of features, Final Draft can be a bit overwhelming to beginners. Its interface is rich and complex, which might require some time for new users to grasp fully.

That being said, you don't have to navigate these waters alone. There's an array of online tutorials and a comprehensive help center available to guide you through its intricacies. So, while the learning curve might be steep initially, there's plenty of support to help you climb it.

Arc Studio Pro

Arc Studio Pro takes a different approach, championing simplicity and user-friendly design. The interface is clean and easy to navigate, making it an ideal choice for newcomers to scriptwriting software.

To make things even more straightforward, the program offers tutorial prompts for first-time users. This reduces the time needed to get accustomed to the software, allowing you to dive into your writing quicker.

So, if a simple and intuitive writing environment appeals to you, Arc Studio Pro might be your perfect match.


Final Draft

Final Draft brings a full-fledged toolkit to the table to enhance your writing process.

Its 'Story Map' is a standout feature, providing a bird's eye view of your script's structure. The 'Beat Board' allows you to create, organize, and color-code story beats, giving you an interactive plot development canvas. For character exploration, the 'Character Navigator' helps track character arcs and relationships, adding depth to your narratives.

Arc Studio Pro

Arc Studio Pro might have a minimalist design, but it doesn't compromise the toolset.

Its 'Outline Mode' is an intuitive tool that lets you draft scene descriptions and structure your story before diving into dialogue writing. The 'Note Cards' feature offers a virtual corkboard for visualizing and rearranging your story structure. While it doesn't delve as deep into character development as Final Draft, it still offers 'Character Insights', allowing you to keep tabs on a character’s dialogue and appearances throughout the script.


Final Draft is an investment, priced at a premium. It requires a one-time purchase that grants you perpetual access to its suite of tools, with occasional paid upgrades.

However, its established reputation and comprehensive features may justify the price tag for professionals.

Normal Pricing

Educational Pricing

Final Draft



Arc Studio Pro operates on a freemium model, offering a basic version for free with limited features. For additional functionalities, such as collaboration and full outline mode, there's a subscription fee.

This model allows writers to scale their investment as their needs grow, providing an affordable entry point into screenwriting software.

The free version is enough to write an entire screenplay and doesn't limit you in any major way. The Essentials version offers advanced formatting, apps, and unlimited scripts. The Pro version has additional collaboration and revisions features, which is great for bigger productions.




Arc Studio Pro




Character Animator vs. After Effects - How do you choose?

Who won the Final Draft vs. Arc Studio Pro fight?

The choice between Final Draft and Arc Studio Pro largely depends on your individual needs and circumstances.

If you are a professional writer working on high-stakes projects, or if you need advanced features such as storyboarding and detailed scene planning, Final Draft's comprehensive and robust suite is worth considering.

However, if you value a simple, intuitive interface, need collaboration tools, or are a beginner looking for an affordable entry into scriptwriting software, Arc Studio Pro may be the right fit for you. The bottom line is, both platforms have much to offer; it's all about identifying what aligns best with your writing journey.

Get started

We created a comprehensive screenwriting course (which also shows how to use these 2 programs). If you want to take your screenwriting to the next level, check it out.

Screenwriting Foundations CourseLearn the essential elements of storytelling and master the craft of screenwriting
Character Animator Animation CourseLearn to animate animate in real-time, using your own face. No animation skills required.
After Effects Animation CourseA step-by-step course to character animation with After Effects.