Courier too big - using MS Works?

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kthynoll

Hello. I just finished my first screenplay and am rechecking formatting before printing. I don't have a scriptwriting program. I did it in MS Works Word Processor.
I used Courier 12 point. However, when I compare my page to those of other scripts you can read online using Adobe, my characters seem to be bigger.
Now I just read at Simplyscripts that Courier 12 should fit 10 characters in one horizontal inch, and 6 lines in one vertical inch. Mine is definitely bigger than that.
Could Microsoft Works be using its own different version of Courier?
The Courier New is a smaller font, but as I understand it must be Courier.
Does anyone know if MS Works has a different font I could use that is more similar to the required Courier for screenplays?

Thank you.
 

jst5150

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Rather than using a 12-point Courier, scale down to a 10.

Courier is a 'fixed width' font. It's spacing is fixed. Proportional fonts, like 'Times New Roman' and 'Arial,' use spacing based on other settings. From wikipedia: "A proportional font displays glyphs using varying widths, while a non-proportional or fixed-width or monospace font uses fixed glyph-widths ... Monospace fonts are typefaces in which every character is the same width (usually, font width is variable; the "w" and "m" are wider than most letters, and the "i" is narrower). The first monospaced typefaces were designed for typewriters, which could only move the same distance forward with each letter typed. Their use continued with early computers, which could only display a single font."

The 'fixed width' figure is based on characters per inch. Using 12-point Courier means 12 characters per inch, which doesn't work based on your requirements.

Scale down to 10 and it should look like what you're seeking.
 
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odocoileus

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Courier New takes up more space than other types of Courier. You should try using Courier PS or another form of Courier - change the font in the small window in the top bar of the program. The font size should be 12. As far as I'm aware, no other font size is used in the US film and tv industry.

You may also want to ask your question on this board. ComicBent is the master of all things Courier and typeface. He posts here too, but not as often.

http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/showthread.php?t=19741


US screenplay format has inherited the use of non proportional font from the typewriter days. Properly formatted in Courier 12, the script should time out at an average of one minute per page. This calculation only works in a rough way, but it's better than not having an estimate at all.
 
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Maryn

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jst5150 said:
Rather than using a 12-point Courier, scale down to a 10...

...The 'fixed width' figure is based on characters per inch. Using 12-point Courier means 12 characters per inch, which doesn't work based on your requirements.

Scale down to 10 and it should look like what you're seeking.
Jason, I respectfully disagree. Courier 12 point has a pitch of 10--that's the ten characters per inch. The point size is the height of the characters.

Word's Courier New produces slightly different line spacing than Courier Final Draft. I don't know how either of them compares to the Courier in MS Works. However, telling someone to change to Courier 10 is just plain incorrect.

kthynoll, is there a reason you didn't use MS Word and a free template (or freestyle formatting), or one of the free screenwriting programs, rather than Works? Just curious.

Maryn, just visiting
 

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Maryn's correct. I screwed that one up.
 

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kthynoll said:
Hello. I just finished my first screenplay and am rechecking formatting before printing. I don't have a scriptwriting program. I did it in MS Works Word Processor.
I used Courier 12 point. However, when I compare my page to those of other scripts you can read online using Adobe, my characters seem to be bigger.
Now I just read at Simplyscripts that Courier 12 should fit 10 characters in one horizontal inch, and 6 lines in one vertical inch. Mine is definitely bigger than that.
Could Microsoft Works be using its own different version of Courier?
The Courier New is a smaller font, but as I understand it must be Courier.
Does anyone know if MS Works has a different font I could use that is more similar to the required Courier for screenplays?

Thank you.
Use Courier 12. It's the correct size. Anything read in Adobe is usually misleading because Adobe adjusts everything to fit. Try printing out a page from Adobe, and print a page in your own Courier 12. They should match.
 

Maryn

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Jason, if that's the worst mistake of the week, that'll be one terrific week! (At least it would be for me.)

Maryn, smiling because this is the only place she goes online where people will admit they erred
 

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DON'T use MS Word's "Courier New."

You should be using "Courier," not "Courier New." There is a slight difference, however, slight, it matters.

Also, as Maryn has pointed out, MS's word processing programs use a slightly larger line spacing than Final Draft or MMSW2000.

For example, my script in MSWord, using "Courier" is 114 pages whereas my script in Final Draft is only 107.

And, when using any word processor (that's not set up for screenplays), you have to ensure the your margins are correct and that you have it set up properly for "widows" and "orphans." You can't use standard MS settings for screenplays.

So, it's in your best interests to use one of those free templates. I believe Derek (dpaterso) has posted a link to several free templates somewhere (or, maybe I'm thinking of a post on Done Deal).
 

Jamesaritchie

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Optimus said:
DON'T use MS Word's "Courier New."

You should be using "Courier," not "Courier New." There is a slight difference, however, slight, it matters.

Also, as Maryn has pointed out, MS's word processing programs use a slightly larger line spacing than Final Draft or MMSW2000.

For example, my script in MSWord, using "Courier" is 114 pages whereas my script in Final Draft is only 107.

And, when using any word processor (that's not set up for screenplays), you have to ensure the your margins are correct and that you have it set up properly for "widows" and "orphans." You can't use standard MS settings for screenplays.

So, it's in your best interests to use one of those free templates. I believe Derek (dpaterso) has posted a link to several free templates somewhere (or, maybe I'm thinking of a post on Done Deal).

Courier New is the correct size in every way. All the common Courier fonts used for screenplays, Courier New, Dark Courier, Courier 10BT, etc, has the same size font and the same spacing.

It was Final Draft that scred this up by changing the spacinf between words because they want their font to be unique. It's one reason, among many, I hate Final Draft.

If you aren't going to use Final Draft, then Courier New, definitely NOT Courier, is the right font. I don't think it's even possible to find a reasonably new word processor that has Courier because Courier New is the better font by far.
 

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I guess you're right. I think my false idea that Courier New was substantially different from Courier came one day years ago when I was doing some "font doctoring." At the time, I thought that the Courier New somehow made my script longer than it should've been. I just went back into the file and I believe the problem was with my margins, not the font.

Also, my 2002 edition of MSWord has Courier Final Draft on it. I never even knew it was there until I just checked.

Weird.
 
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Mac H.

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Also, my 2002 edition of MSWord has Courier Final Draft on it. I never even knew it was there until I just checked.

Weird.
That's not weird. It's normal.

When Final Draft installs, it installs 'Courier Final Draft' as well. They use their own version of 'Courier' to ensure that both Mac & PC versions of scripts will be identical.

When a font is installed it is available to ALL programs - that includes Microsoft Word and even Notepad.

Mac
 

ComicBent

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Courier, etc.

People have lots of misconceptions about this issue. Questions about Courier come up so frequently on a board where I am a moderator that I finally wrote a paper on the subject and made a PDF file of it for people to download if they want.

For everything you ever wanted to know about Courier - and more! - you can view the article at:

My article on Courier

As for Final Draft and "less space between words," here is the scoop. It is not the font; it is the Final Draft program. It has been a while since I tested this, but my recollection is that Final Draft reduces the point size to a little less than 12 point (maybe something like 11.6 or whatever) when it uses the font; consequently you get more than 65 characters on a 6.5" line.

With a monospaced 12-point font (which is 10-pitch, or 10 characters per inch), you should be able to take a ruler that is marked off in 1/10" intervals and see that each character stays within its 1/10" slot all the way across the page. That does not happen with Final Draft, because the point size is a hair less than 12 point (and less than 10 cpi).

Please note that all of my observations were made on text printed on a Hewlett-Packard laser printer. Your own measurements could theoretically differ, I guess, though they are not supposed to.

If you use Courier Final Draft with Word, and set the font at 12 point, you will get 10 characters per inch. (At least, that is my recollection.)

The line spacing is a whole different issue, and I discuss it in my paper.
 
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ComicBent

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Thanks! :)

Somebody needed to do it, so I did.

By the way, I saw a picture of a director's typed page from something done in 1940, in a book called "The Oxford Illustrated History of the Theatre."

The typescript from 1940 used a typewriter font that looked VERY similar to the VT typewriter fonts that I illustrated in the paper.
 

clockwork

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Yeah, it’s fascinating. There's so much history to that little font. And there's so much about Hollywood that is fuelled by technology. I'm reading a book at the moment about the early days of Hollywood which suggests the reason that actors, who were quite literally 'owned' by studios and shuffled around from film to film, became mega stars was because of the Edison Trust - a series of lawsuits against the studios attempting to recoup huge shares of the takings made from films because it was claimed the only reason for the film's successes was the technology used to make them. The studios argued that it was the actors, not the camera and sound technology, that made the films and began to vigorously promote them as the main reason to see films, launching them to celebrity status. Imagine if it'd never happened. We wouldn't have E! for a start.

But all the Courier stuff reminded me of my final year at university. I turned in an early draft of my dissertation that analysed the argument that there are only seven basic stories. It was a wonderfully bloated, drawn-out retrospective that I chose to write because it allowed me to blunty shoe-horn the topic of screenwriting into it, thus making it barely interesting to me. Anyway, one of the lecturers who read through it said, (in front of the whole class, mind you) "Well, your dissertation is great but my opinion of you has dropped for using this awful font!"

I'd written it in Courier because I write everything in Courier - everyone knew I was a writer and usually afforded me these little writer-based eccentricities but this guy just didn't get it. I stared, jaw-agape, trying to decide exactly how I was going to lay the smack down when thankfully another lecturer stepped in with, "Actually, Courier is the industry standard for screenwriting - it's an in-joke." Which it wasn't. But I liked the idea I could be so smart and didn't even consider denying it. The other guy sort of mumbled something and said, "Yes, well. Very droll."

Why I oughta...
 

ComicBent

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When I wrote my own dissertation (on Kafka, basically, though I also addressed Beckett and Camus) back in the late 1970s, we only had typewriters ... so what we now call Courier was automatically the font. Nobody could complain about the font! :)

And now let me clarify. All typewriter font faces were about the same. People just specified that something had to be "typed," and the result was always about the same. A Remington typewriter had a slightly different font than an Underwood, and so forth, but each font was like a collie dog: you could see differences from animal to animal, but they were all collie dogs.

In the typewriter era, the only distinction was usually between Pica and Elite, with the former being 10 characters per inch and the latter 12 characters per inch. Nobody would have dared say that a manuscript had to be in Underwood Pica or Smith Pica, but not another machine's Pica, even though the curlicues on some of the letters might be very distinctive. Nowadays when people say that the font should be Courier, they really mean a font that is like a typewriter font. And all the Couriers are so similar that only font junkies like me will notice anything except that some are darker than others.

Some of the imitation-typewriter fonts are quite distinct with things like a larger than usual period or an exclamation point that is squared off at the top, and some of the serifing is slightly more frilly than with modern Courier, but it is all still just like comparing one collie dog with another. I cannot imagine that anyone would throw out a script if one of these fonts was used. For people who are worrying types, though, just use a font that has "Courier" somewhere in the name.
 

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