0.1.4 • Public • Published


    scriptex is a node.js module that turns screenplays as plain text files into LaTeX files using the excellent screenplay LaTeX class.


    Simply install via npm (Node Package Manager), either explicitly by:

    $ npm install scriptex

    … or by listing scriptex inside the dependencies field of your package.json.


    Translating your .txt screenplays into .tex files is as simple as:

    var scriptex = require('scriptex');
        function(err) {
            if (!err) {
                console.log('compiling successful!');

    NOTE: scriptex does not render the screenplay as a PDF file automatically, so you will need to run pdftex yourself.

    There is an example screenplay of episode 4 of the brilliant 90's show TWIN PEAKS included in the test-data directory, which you can compile using scriptex. If you play around with the configuration a bit (see below), you'll notice how these changes will affect the output, up to the point where the input data cannot be identified correctly anymore, resulting in wrong output.

    NOTE: all following code snippets assume that you did var scriptex = require('scriptex'); before.

    Configuration options

    Depending on the exact format of your input .txt file, you might need to set up some configurations in order to correctly compile it into a LaTeX file. These options include:


    It is essential for the scriptex compiler to be able to classify the input data inside the .txt file correctly. Since that file doesn't contain any markup information, the compiler needs to use a set of heuristics to figure out what category a chunk of data belongs to (action, character name, dialogue etc.). This works mostly based on the indents variable, specifying the number of leading whitespaces preceding a line of a particular category inside the .txt file.

    By default, scriptex comes with a set of predefined indents designed to fit in with the TWIN PEAKS screenplay in the test-data folder. These are:

        'dialogue': 25,
        'parenthetical': 30,
        'slugline': 15,
        'action': 15,
        'character': 37,
        'centered': 41,
        'transition': {
            minValue: 60,
            maxValue: 75
        'fadein': 15

    As you can see, in the simple case this is just a constant number. Lines will then always be classified into categories using this exact value.

    But with the transition category things are a bit more difficult, since these are aligned flushright and have different numbers of leading spaces depending on the lengths of their contents. It is therefore possible to supply a range of indents using an object as seen above. Don't make the difference between minValue and maxValue bigger than it absolutely needs to be to avoid ambiguities.

    So how do you set these indent values? Easy:

    scriptex.setIndent('character', 25);

    Or, with a range:

    scriptex.setIndent('transition', {
        minValue: 60,
        maxValue: 75

    You can also set an explicit value inside an object, but note that any minValue and maxValue properties will be ignored if there is also a value property present:

    scriptex.setIndent('dialogue', {
        value: 25

    In any case, setIndent will return true if something has been set, false otherwise.

    There is also the function getIndent(what) that you can ask for the indent value (either a number or an object). If no indent was found, it will return false.

    Beginning indicators

    The scriptex compiler somehow needs to know where the 'title page' is over and the actual script begins, so it can insert a page break there and start looking for scene headings/sluglines. To do that, it maintains an array of beginningIndicators which, as soon as one of them is encountered in the .txt file, will cause the compiler to 'switch' modes, thus finish looking for title page information, issue a page break and continue by looking for actual screenplay content.

    The default values for this field are:

    ['ACT ONE', 'FADE IN:', 'EXT. ', 'INT. ', 'EXT./INT. ', 'INT./EXT. ']

    These strings should suffice for all but the most exotic screenplay files. Should manipulating them still be necessary, here's how you'd do that:

    // overwriting any previously set beginning indicators:
    scriptex.setBeginningIndicators(['ACT ONE', 'FADE IN:', 'EXT. ']);
    // adding to the existing ones:
    scriptex.addBeginningIndicators('ACT THREE', 'ACT FOUR');
    // or:
    scriptex.addBeginningIndicators(['ACT THREE', 'ACT FOUR']);

    Both functions will return a boolean value indicating their success.

    You can ask for the currently set beginning indicators with the function getBeginningIndicators().


    There are different conventions as to how to separate the location part from the time part in a slugline (or scene heading; again, different conventions). Most common is a space followed by a dash followed by another space (-), and this is also the default value in scriptex for both input and output files. Another often used separator is just two spaces ().

    If your input .txt file for example uses two spaces, configure this by doing the following:

    scriptex.setInputSlugspace('  ')

    If you also want two spaces in your output, do this:

    scriptex.setOutputSlugspace('  ')

    Again, getInputSlugspace() and getOutputSlugspace() will tell you about the current settings.

    Page break markers

    Especially in TV scripts it is common to explicitly mark the act breaks and have each act start on a new page. To achieve that, scriptex comes shipped with the following set of so called pageBreakMarkers, which, when encountered, will cause a \pagebreak to be inserted into the LaTeX file before being printed:


    Much like with beginning indicators, just use addPageBreakMarkers() or setPageBreakMarkers() to add/set markers. Both functions accept any number of strings or an array of strings and return true on success, false otherwise. As you will have guessed by now, there is also getPageBreakMarkers().

    An important thing to note here is that you don't have to set a page break marker to get a page break between the title page and the first page of the script. This break will be inserted automatically once one of the beginningIndicators is encountered.


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