My favorite writing tool (Celtx) and my mods

(NB: I have updated my mods for Celtx 2.9 here)

I can’t rave enough about this tool!

I used to use Final Draft until I chanced upon Celtx by accident one day.

I use it not only for screenplays (and the pre-production that goes with filming your own stuff), but for short stories, storyboards (an awesome new addition), radio plays, etc.

I love it because (as a geek and a programmer) I can modify it (and have done so quite a bit). You can get a copy of my celtx.jar here: Celtx.jar replacement file

All you have to do is go into your Celtx directory (normally C:\Program Files\Celtx\chrome and make a backup of celtx.jar and then replace it with my version. Celtx MUST be shut down before you do this.

Now, another very important reason is that Celtx (especially after all the fields I added) allows me to really focus on characters and create a rich background for them, and make them as real and vivid as possible, which is my foolproof way of never getting writer’s block (but that’s another post).

Also, I had created a database in Filemaker Pro to house information about the worlds I create. Celtx helped me replace that database – I would like to make some more changes, but it works well enough for now. I have a separate file where I stick all kinds of magical items, descriptions of places in my worlds, ideas for future use, etc.

I also have 2 files, one for crew and one for cast, where I stick information for all the people who run across my path, and whom I can use in future productions. This simplifies my task of finding cast and crew for productions (especially in emergencies when I don’t have time to put out a casting call).

The one thing I would love for this to work better, would be to be able to export a single or multiple records from a file into another, instead of having to copy and paste the information… I’m trying to figure out how to do this as a Celtx add-on but haven’t found enough documentation to explain the hooks I’d need… waiting for the wonderful Celtx guys to get back to me on this.

Anyway, I use Celtx for scheduling, for markups (make sure I don’t forget any props or set pieces), for printing sides for casting calls, etc.

I completely stopped using Final Draft after picking up Celtx, and I’m always thinking of ways to improve my version of Celtx — I’m very careful to mark my changes with my name so it’ll be easier to merge my changes when new versions come out.

I highly recommend it!

And if you download my mods, drop me a line and let me know what you think, and if you have any ideas.

See ya


12 Replies to “My favorite writing tool (Celtx) and my mods”

  1. Kevin

    I think your modifications are really cool, some of them would be really useful, others less so. What I’m really wanting to know is how you did it. I would love to be able to create my own template and forms. Keep up the good work.

  2. val

    Thanks Kevin 🙂 Actually, what I did was:
    1. Go into Celtx\chrome
    2. Unzip celtx.jar
    3. Navigate into Celtx\chrome\celtx\content\celtx\editors
    4. Modified the .XHTML files to add fields
    5. Modified some .js files to add new functionality (need to know javascript)

    If you unzip my copy, and look for my initials “VG” — you’ll see what I did.

    Hope that helps. If you have a more specific question, let me know 🙂


  3. Kevin

    Is there a good specific program you would recommend to modify the .xhtml files? I am assuming that any web authoring program should work, but I thought I would ask. Thanks again for providing the information.

  4. val

    Hey Kevin,
    I actually use Notepad++ because it has Syntax Highlighting and makes the job much easier.
    My setup is:
    1. notepad++ with files open
    2. 7Zip open to Celtx.jar
    3. Explorer open to pertinent folder

    that way, when I finish saving the file, I can drag and drop it into 7Zip (in the corresponding folder, i.e. editors, or whatever other folder I’m in), and then re-open Celtx and see the changes.

  5. Miquiel Banks

    What up Val,
    I just installed your file and it works, seriously, works great!!!!

    The additional fields for the characters is incredible man, thanks for that!

    I’ll be using this and I’ll keep you posted as I finish more projects.

    And now that I think about it, I do have a question for you.

    I was using Celtx last night and wondered if you’ve ever thought about this. Is there a way to use Celtx on a multiple monitor setup whereby you can view one tab on screen 1 and another tab on screen 2?

    If you know anyone with an answer for this, keep me posted…..

  6. admin

    Hey Miquiel, thanks, I’m glad it’s of use to you 🙂

    Never thought about using multiple monitors… only use 1 myself. And I’m afraid I wouldn’t even know where to start to get that accomplished. Since Celtx is built on mozilla chrome technology, I don’t know how they’d do it. If they opened 2 instances of Celtx on the same file you’d get issues with versioning. To use tabs they’d have to be “undockable” so you could move them to another screen.

    Interesting idea… did you post on the Celtx forum?

  7. kumar

    hi, i am using opensuse 11.3 and installed celtx from the site but i have a small problem. In the sceneheading, whenever i type INT. or any thing else it does not show the options completely. The highlighted int , ext and location options that appear are partially hidden. but it is not so when i use celtx in windows. i am not able to see the auto options of sceneheading completely. that’s ok for INT, EXT, I/E in the slug line but writing sceen location everytime becomes redundant. so if you have understood what i am actually trying to say can you please suggest me a remedy. thanks in advance:)

  8. admin

    Hey Kumar, I don’t know much about Celtx in Linux. I would try posting on their forum. Steve Pick and the guys are great about responding. I’m only familiar with Celtx under Windows, and I’ve never had that problem.

    Anyone out there have any ideas?

  9. kumar

    hey Val thanks for the suggestion. There is a bug in the tar file version of celtx in opensuse. However, if I run Celtex.exe using wine in opensuse it works normal. I guess Celtx is becoming too popular that’s why it was done on purpose 🙂 or maybe i’m wrong but thanks man! Cheers!

  10. admin

    I’m sure they didn’t do it on purpose… the Celtx folks always act professionally and generally respond quickly and in a useful manner to me… I’m sure it’s just a weird bug… I’m glad you found a workaround! What are you working on? Short? Feature?

Comments are closed.