Celtx Media Pre-Production System

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 5, 2011
Updated • Sep 9, 2018
Software, Windows software

I have started to write a book. It is just that I have that idea in my head that I'd like to bring to paper. I first started to write it all down in Microsoft Word.

I eventually started to encounter limitations in the software that made it more difficulty to keep an overview of characters, the main plot, subplots, ideas and all that good stuff that you pin down to avoid forgetting it.

Update: Celtx is no longer available as a free version as the development company moved the service to a cloud product that is subscription-based starting at $14.99 for individuals. We have uploaded the latest free version of Celtx to our own download server. Note that the program has not been updated since 2011 and that we don't support it in any way. Download it with a click on the following link: (Download Removed) End


celtx novel writing

Celtx is available as a free version for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. There is also Celtx Plus, a commercial desktop version and an online studio version to manage team projects.

Most users should start with the free version though to see if they can work with Celtx to create their novels, comic books, films, audio plays, storyboards or other types of media. The software is very versatile in this regard.

I'd suggest to load one of the demo projects on first start to get a feel for the program. A demonstration is available for each type of media supported by Celtx. The program layout adapts to the selected production type. If you have selected Novel for instance, you are presented with an interface divided into the project library, the novel's chapters and the core text editor part.

Other modules can be displayed, like index cards, the title page or the master catalog offering information about characters, items of importance or scene details.

One of the program's strengths is the ability to add detailed information to the catalog. Character information for instance include a name and description, media, physical description, character traits, functions, motivation and backgrounds.

character information

Even better, information added to the catalog are automatically linked in the play, novel or script. Additional options include adding notes to any part of the media, external links to websites that offer information or are important for research, options to add a synopsis or history to the project library and a lot more.

The text editor is decent enough. While it does not offer the full functionality of an Office suite like Microsoft Word or Open Office, it offers enough text editing and formatting options to the aspiring content creator.

It feels a bit strange that all guides posted on the site are for purchase only. A good starting point for new users is the Support page.

Some buttons in the program interface, like Toolbox or My Studio, lead to the add-ons page on the website. Add-ons need to be purchased before the functionality becomes available.

Celtx is a sophisticated pre-production system. More than 5 million users use the cloud-based version worldwide to create media according to the project's homepage.

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  1. Doc said on December 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    You should be aware that Celtx is based on Mozilla Firefox, with Mozilla Sunbird’s calendaring engine.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 13, 2011 at 11:25 pm

      It is, now that is interesting.

  2. Ari Arsyadi said on December 7, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Looks promising. Will try this out. Thanks

  3. Joe Average said on December 7, 2011 at 12:51 am

    I discovered the same limitations, but found Celtx lacking. The Celtx forums provided the solution: mind mapping software. In particular, Freemind (or it’s predecessor, Freeplane). A visual XML, mind mapping allows you to collapse, expand, and reorganize plot lines, character traits, dialogue, etc. Once completed, you can map the story into Celtx with all it’s automatic format abilities.

  4. kalmly said on December 6, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Nice. I hadn’t hear of this one. Here is another that you might want to try. It’s free – always and Simon keeps it updated.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 6, 2011 at 5:03 pm

      Looks nice as well, thanks for posting.

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