In this article I’m going to show you the index cards feature of Final Draft and how you can use it for outlining your story, reordering your scenes easily, and how you can work with index cards and your script side-by-side at the same time.
If you want to start using index cards go to the “View” menu – and there you have to options: “Index Cards – Summary” and “Index Cards – Script”.
For now let’s choose “Index Cards – Summary”. Real index cards have two sides you can write on. For example you can write some ideas, notes or the function of a scene in the story on one side, and the content of the scene on the other. It works the same way in Final Draft.
Here in the Summary View you can add your notes or summary or whatever you like. Write your headline here at the top and your summery on the card itself. Add as many cards as you like.
If you want to see the other side of the card so to speak, choose “Script View”.
Now, what you’ll notice is you can’t write on your card in this view. If I click on it nothing happens. That’s because in the “Script View”, Final Draft shows you the content of the scene in your script. Since we haven’t written a scene yet, there is nothing Final Draft can show us.
So, let’s go to our script and write a few lines. If you want to see your index cards side-by-side with your script use the “Split” buttons at the top.
Then choose “View – Script – Page View”.
Alright let’s just add an action line in the script to see what happens. As you can see the text I enter in my scene appears on my index card as well.
This makes the index card feature very useful for reordering your scenes. Let’s just add a few scenes more. Now pick the card of the scene you want to reorder and drag it to its new place. The scenes in the script update accordingly.
But index cards are also useful for outlining. Let’s go back to “Summary View” this is where you can brainstorm the hell out of your story. If you want to use different colors for your cards, just like in the real world, right-click and pick one.
If you want to adjust how many index cards you see on one screen you can do that, if you go to “View – Cards Across”.
Of course you can also change font type and size in the “Format – Font” menu.
Once you’re done outlining you might want to transfer your summaries to your script so that you can use these notes to write your scenes.
I you want to do that either right-click on the card or go to “Insert – Send to Script” and your summary will appear as an action lines in your scene.
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