I have been using Pages to wrote TV Show scripts, as I've found it to be less restrictive than celtx, and cheaper than final draft.

It's been working really well, I just defined a bunch of custom paragraph styles, and I select the relevant one as needed.

This doesn't take much overhead, but there are a few things I would like to be able to do.

Basically, there are certain things that should be enforced between the styles. I've attached a screenshot of a script I've written to better illustrate what I'm referring to:

sample script

In most cases, when there is the name of a character, i.e. PHIL, or CLAIRE, it should be followed by the paragraph style that you see in the screenshot. Is there someway to have it set up so that when I press enter to go to a new line while I'm entering a characters name, the paragraph style of the new line is that of the dialog?

Also, when there is a name heading at the bottom of the page, the dialog is the first thing at the top of the next page, but the name heading should be grouped with the dialog on the next page. Is there some way to enforce this? The problem is illustrated in the below image.

enter image description here


2 Answers 2


You control both those issues from the MORE tab on the Text Inspector window.

The drop-down Following Paragraph Style will determine what the next paragraph's style settings are.

For example, if your paragraph style for character names is called CHARACTERS and for dialog it is called DIALOG what you do is select a bit of text that is using the CHARACTERS style, then in the MORE tab, set the Following Paragraph Style to DIALOG.

Likewise, you set the page break parameters in the same MORE tab.

By selecting the Keep with following paragraph will force the CHARACTERS style to always be on the same page as the next paragraph. If there is enough room to display the CHARACTERS line and at least 3 lines of the DIALOG the text will start on the current page and then continue on the next page. If there isn't enough room to display the CHARACTERS line and at least 3 lines of the DIALOG, the whole group will be pushed onto the next page.

enter image description here

According to Apple:

Keeping Paragraphs Together on a Page

You can choose to make two paragraphs appear on the same page. The last line of the first paragraph will always remain on the same page as the beginning of the next paragraph, unless you insert a page or section break between them.

This is most useful for single-line, header paragraphs that you want to keep with the topic paragraphs following. To keep paragraphs together on a page:

  1. Click the paragraph that you want to keep with the paragraph following it.
  2. Click Inspector in the toolbar, click the Text button, and then click More.
  3. Select “Keep with following paragraph.”

If you want to keep the entire paragraph on the same page (so, not have it break across pages, you select Keep lines together.

Keeping an Entire Paragraph on the Same Page

You can make all the lines in a paragraph always appear on the same page.

To avoid breaking a paragraph across pages:

  1. Click the paragraph whose lines you want to remain together.
  2. Click Inspector in the toolbar, click the Text button, and then click More.
  3. Select “Keep lines together.”

Once your style is set, you then either create a new paragraph style or you redefine the existing paragraph style to reflect the changes you just made.

  • This is perfect. Exactly what I was looking for. Before I award the best answer and bounty, might you know if there is a way to make is to that if I'm at the start of a dialog paragraph, and I hit enter before typing anything, it switches it to a parenthetical paragraph style without inserting the new line? Probably not, but I figured its worth a shot.
    – finiteloop
    Dec 16, 2012 at 1:21
  • No, to the best of my knowledge, that isn't possible, at least not without implementing some sort of scripting such as using AppleScript. But that would probably be overkill.
    – Ali Samii
    Dec 16, 2012 at 8:12
  • Make sure you save the paragraph style using the styles pane. That way, it is just a click away. Of course, there are other products besides Final Draft that are less expensive and may be better suited to screen writing than Pages as they provide additional functionality. Take a look at MovieWriter Pro bit.ly/U1Xx5B and MovieDraft SE bit.ly/WcOKks on the Mac App Store. Both cost $29.99 and both of which have free limited-time fully functional demos that you can download directly from their web sites. MovieWriter Pro bit.ly/Rx88qN and MovieDraft SE bit.ly/SZPxRs
    – Ali Samii
    Dec 16, 2012 at 8:29
  • For what it's worth, I threw together an alternate way of writing TV scripts altogether. It's pretty basic and hacked at this point, but was an interesting exercise. This of it as markdown for TV scripts github.com/lzilioli/scriptdown
    – finiteloop
    Jun 13, 2014 at 23:44

Hi This may or may not help.

for your first question. It looks like you cannot group more than on Paragraph style together. But the is a Following Paragraph style option under the 'more' tab in the Text inspector.

You could setup a Automator Service that runs this code:

tell document 1 of application "Pages"
    set theSelection to selection
    set newStyle to a reference to paragraph style "Name of Person"
    set bodyStyle to a reference to paragraph style "Body"
    set paragraph style of theSelection to newStyle
    set following paragraph style of theSelection to bodyStyle
end tell

You will not be able to control click text and select the service. Because for some reason apple has not deigned to put the Service contextual menu in page. But it will be under the Service Menu in the Menu Bar. Which you can assign a keyboard shortcut to the Service.

Select the CHARACTER and hit the shortcut.

The service will set the CHARACTER to the correct Paragraph style and the following one to another.

You second question. I am not sure I follow it... :-)

  • You should realise that the following paragraph style is one shot. Meaning you will have to change it each time. i.e its per paragraph not Style. That is why I wrote the script for a service. Because I hate keep going to the inspector
    – markhunte
    Dec 16, 2012 at 1:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .