This is an extension for Visual Studio Code which allows you to write screenplays using the fountain syntax quickly and efficiently. (If you're already confused click here).
Unlike other screenwriting software (such as Final Draft) BetterFountain focuses on removing friction between you and the text - there's no page breaks, no large unintuitive menus and overlapping windows, no delays when you press "Enter" after having written some dialogue, no slow loading documents, none of that. Just text and a handfull of unintruding features which remove even more friction between the story in your head and a finished screenplay.
And because it's an extension for vscode, you get access to some incredibly advanced features, such as Real-time collaboration with other screenwriters - Better Fountain is the only free and open-source screenwriting tool which allows you to use such features.
Install it here
Sponsor on GitHub ❤
Discuss on Discord
- Full syntax highlighting (even for stuff like lyrics!)
- Smart autocomplete for recurring characters and scenes, as well as title page keys.
- Industry-standard PDF generation
- Includes scenes and sections as PDF bookmarks, for easy navigation in your reader of choice
- Possible to highlight any specified characters in the PDF
- Full screenplay outline
- Includes sections, scenes, notes, and synopses (the visibility of each type of item being easily and quickly toggleable)
- "Folding" scenes and sections
- Screenplay layout preview (choice between a real-time approximation, or an exact PDF Preview)
- Advanced interactive statistics about your screenplay
- Custom font support (Add "Font:" at the top of your .fountain screenplay, with the other title page keys, followed by the name of a font installed on your system)
- Approximation of a screenplay's duration (in the status bar)
- Other cool stuff
- Go straight to writing dialog after a parenthetical by pressing enter, while the cursor is still inside it
- Jump to scenes/sections in the .fountain and live preview when clicking on the outline
- Scroll-sync preview, with active line indication/selection
Live preview or PDF Preview?
BetterFountain now offers two different ways of previewing your screenplay
- The Live preview (right) is an approximation of the screenplay's layout, which updates in real-time as you're typing, and scrolls alongside the editor. However it doesn't include page breaks, and isn't pixel-perfect identical to your exported PDF.
- The PDF Preview (centre) is exactly identical to your rendered PDF (including page breaks), and moving the caret in the text editor will navigate to the corresponding page (as will double-clicking a chart in the statistics page). However it does not update as you are typing, only when the .fountain document is saved, or when you refresh the preview from its status bar.
Writing with fountain lets you focus on the essential. With the addition of autocomplete and syntax highlighting, you have the ultimate clutter-free ultra-fast solution for writing screenplays. And because it's an extension for vscode, it's free and cross-platform, and you get lots of other cool features such as integrated source control and near-infinite extensibility.
Just open a
.fountain file in Visual Studio Code, and everything should work as expected. You can open the live preview and export to PDF by opening the command palette (
F1) and searching for "Fountain".
You can modify various options related to PDF Export in the settings, under "Fountain PDF Export".
And to get an approximate duration of your screenplay, just look at your status bar, in the bottom right corner.
Here are some features I would like to add, but don't really have time to right now, in an approximate order of difficulty/priority:
More statistics (per-character reports)
PDF Export panel, with more advanced features presented in a more user-friendly way
Optionally leaving synopses visible when folding
Built-in screenplay templates (such as Blake Snyder's beat sheet)
Import screenplays from PDF files
Some sort of system that would allow the storage of character information alongside the script
I will probably add these features when I have time, but if you're up for the challenge I'm more than happy to accept your pull requests.
Thanks / Third-party licenses
Syntax highlighting works thanks to a modified version of the .tmlanguage file by Jonathan Poritsky for fountain-sublime-text
The live preview uses elements from the Fountain.js library by Matt Daly, covered by the MIT License
The fountain parsing and PDF generation feature is based on Piotr Jamróz's Afterwriting, also covered by the MIT License
The project includes Kevin Decker's
jsdiff library, covered by the BSD License
The statistics panel uses
d3, covered by the BSD-3-Clause License, and
DataTables, covered by the MIT License.
The PDF Previewer uses Mozilla's PDF.JS, covered by the Apache-2.0 License
The PDF Previewer borrows some code from @tomoki1207's vscode-pdfviewer extension, covered by the MIT License
The project was built using Microsoft's language server example extension as a boilerplate.
The default font used in the preview and in the exported PDF is "Courier Prime", more specifically a version which adds support for Azerbaijani, Belorussian, Kazakh, Russian, and Ukrainian
Why visual studio code? I thought this was about screenwriting?
Screenwriting is just about writing text, and Visual Studio Code is a great text editor. You don't need to know anything about programming to use it. Here's what you need to do to get started using BetterFountain: