Importing Plain Text into Slugline

If you’re bringing in text from another app — either by opening it as a text file or even just copy/pasting from another app, there are some simple things you can do to ensure that Slugline interprets your writing with the correct formatting.

Action Elements

Slugline will interpret most text as Action elements. This is usually a good thing.

AGENT MORTIMER lies bleeding in the corner.  The car ROCKS gently.  Mortimer pulls out his cell phone and dials.

If you copy/paste this paragraph into Slugline, it will be formatted as Action.

Depending on where your text comes from, it might have extra carriage returns at the end of each line, like this:

AGENT MORTIMER lies bleeding in the⏎
corner.  The car ROCKS gently.  Mortimer⏎
pulls out his cell phone and dials.⏎

For the best results in Slugline, remove these extra carriage returns:

AGENT MORTIMER lies bleeding in the corner.  The car ROCKS gently.  Mortimer pulls out his cell phone and dials.⏎

Scene Headings

As long as your Scene Headings begin with INT., EXT., or that kind of thing, Slugline will interpret them correctly.

Scene Headings also need empty lines before and after.

INT. BOXCAR - MOVING - DAY

AGENT MORTIMER lies bleeding in the corner.  The car ROCKS gently.  Mortimer pulls out his cell phone and dials.

Paste the above into Slugline and you’ll get a Scene Heading followed by an Action element. Perfect!

Character and Dialogue Elements

Slugline will interpret Character elements correctly if they are in UPPERCASE, and followed immediately by Dialogue — with no empty line in between.

MORTIMER
Come on.  Pick up.

Depending on where your text is coming from, you might need to edit it a bit to ensure that your Character/Dialogue pairs are arranged like this. The result will be that Slugline will automatically format them correctly when you paste in the text.

INT. BOXCAR - MOVING - DAY

AGENT MORTIMER lies bleeding in the corner.  The car ROCKS gently.  Mortimer pulls out his cell phone and dials.

MORTIMER
Come on.  Pick up.

As with Action, make sure your Dialogue elements don’t have extra carriage returns.

So if you have this:

ELDRIDGE
Figured four blocks. Hey with these⏎
four blocks and the ninety pounds,⏎
are we going to be far enough away?⏎

You should edit it to look like this:

ELDRIDGE
Figured four blocks. Hey with these four blocks and the ninety pounds, are we going to be far enough away?⏎

Transitions

Slugline will automatically recognize any transitions that are in uppercase and end in TO:.

INT. BOXCAR - MOVING - DAY

AGENT MORTIMER lies bleeding in the corner.  The car ROCKS gently.  Mortimer pulls out his cell phone and dials.

MORTIMER
Come on.  Pick up.

CUT TO:

Just make sure they have an empty line before and after, like Scene Headings.

If you have Transition elements that don’t end in TO:, you can convert them inside Slugline, or hint to Slugline that they are Transitions by adding a greater-than symbol to the beginning, like this:

> INTERCUT WITH:

The > tells Slugline that the line should be interpreted as a Transition, and it won’t appear in your printed screenplay.

This is called forcing an element, and you can do it with Scene Headings too. If you have Scene Headings that don’t start with INT. or EXT., you can force them with a leading period, like this:

> INTERCUT WITH:

.THE BOXCAR

Where Mortimer is just barely holding on to life.

That’s a Transition, Scene Heading, and an Action element, respectively.

The result? You can copy/paste this entire plain-text example into Slugline, and it will be formatted correctly as a screenplay:

INT. BOXCAR - MOVING - DAY

AGENT MORTIMER lies bleeding in the corner.  The car ROCKS gently.  Mortimer pulls out his cell phone and dials.

MORTIMER
Come on.  Pick up.

CUT TO:

EXT. POOLSIDE BAR - DAY

A fiercely gorgeous brunette sips the last of something from a rocks glass.  This is REBECCA.

Behind her, a dark FIGURE approaches.  Just as she notices him, her phone RINGS.

> INTERCUT WITH:

.THE BOXCAR

Where Mortimer is just barely holding on to life.

Which is super cool.