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I need to revise a screenplay in Final Draft, and I'm finding that the revision features in the program are poor. Are there any ways to introduce revision features in to Final Draft, similar to Track Changes in Microsoft Word? If not, what kind of workflow could give me the same benefits of keeping changes visible to the writer?

Some background about what I'm looking for:

In the past, I've done revisions to screenplays in Microsoft Word, where the changes are clearly indicated. Final Draft will show added text in a different color, but as far as I can tell, deleted text is not tracked.

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As you can see, Word shows text that's been crossed out, an advantage to editing someone else's work. (You don't have to do side-by-side comparisons when you have this information handy.) Word also lets you add notations in the text, like this might work better if you wrote it like this.

Is there any solution to this? Moving the text to Microsoft Word and back is not a realistic option, due to the complexity of screenplay formatting. If it's not supported in the application itself, perhaps there's a plug-in?

If that's not possible, what are the import options for moving files back and forth between Final Draft and Word? Or are there third-party document tracking systems that aren't too much in the way of overkill? Perhaps Scrivener can be a go-between to track revisions?

Or am I stuck with simply comparing versions manually?

Note: This question is a more writerly variation on this Super User question.

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Since no one else has answered: No idea of the actual answer, but there are screen writing templates/add-ons for LibreOffice that might be enough to eliminate the need for Final Draft (unless your publisher requires it in that format) and LO can export in Word format when you're ready to submit your work. LO has extensive support for revisions and for comparing two documents and updating one based on the other. –  Joe May 13 '12 at 19:21
    
Unfortunately, this isn't an option, as the author needs the script to be sent back in Final Draft. –  Neil Fein May 14 '12 at 0:21
    
What's the meaning of that shaded boxed colon in Final Draft? Looks like ...yesterday! [:] I'm sick... –  BobStein-VisiBone Mar 3 at 17:48
    
@BobStein-VisiBone - It's a Final Draft ScriptNote. You click on it and a window pops up with your notation. –  Neil Fein Mar 3 at 18:39
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

First option:

I do not understand why you have to move the file back to Final Draft. You can export it to Word, track the changes, find the corresponding parts in the Final Draft document and change them there.

You can also export to a plain text format and use a diff tool. Yes, it's cumbersome to find the text passages in the original Final Draft document and change there, but it should be feasible.

Second option:

Instead of deleting, strike the text through (with the corresponding formatting option) and mark it as revised afterward. Maybe with this trick you can work around the issue.

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The file needs to be moved back to Final Draft because that's what the client requires. End of story. (The last time I did this, I believe I used styles in Word and kept tracking on.) Using the strikethrough formatting sounds like a good idea; I'll try that for tomorrow's editing session. –  Neil Fein May 17 '12 at 21:13
    
@NeilFein, I thought he needs the changes in Final Draft (what he gets), but does he also need the tracking info there? –  John Smithers May 17 '12 at 21:50
    
No, that's for me. –  Neil Fein May 17 '12 at 21:59
    
Although it's nice if the client can easily see and reverse changes. –  Neil Fein May 17 '12 at 21:59
    
@NeilF, Then I'll second 'strike-through formatting'; it gives you the in-process interface you want; you can send it with the changes visible back to the client; and -I'm guessing; never used FD- you could just mass-find-&-replace all striked-through with spaces or null characters, no? –  Mussri May 20 '12 at 16:19
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