Is Final Draft a One-Time Purchase? (Fully Answered)

Is Final Draft a one-time purchase?

The answer is yes. Final Draft is a one-time purchase. You make a purchase and download the software. Final Draft updates are free but you pay an additional one-time fee to upgrade to a new version.

Personally, I think it’s nice that there are not multiple options available, which can make it difficult to decide what is best for you. I know I would struggle to figure out which option would be best for me.

Thankfully, Final Draft makes purchasing super simple and straightforward.

In this article, we will break down all of your possible payment options to completely answer the question, “Is Final Draft a one-time purchase?”

Man with glasses working on computer, for Is Final Draft a One-Time Purchase
Image by Author via Canva—Is Final Draft a One-Time Purchase?

Payment Options: Is Final Draft a Monthly Subscription or One Time Purchase?

There is a single payment option for buying Final Draft. Once you purchase the software, it is yours. I like this because it makes the entire purchasing process simple. There is also a free trial and optional upgrades.

Purchase options include:

  1. Free trial (60 days to test out the software)
  2. One time payment (no other payment is necessary)
  3. Upgrades (optional)

The payment option you choose will depend on how you use Final Draft, your financial situation, and what level of access to new features makes sense for you.

These are the questions I asked myself when deciding which way to purchase Final Draft:

  • Do I need Final Draft?
  • Is there a cheaper option?
  • What are the alternatives?
  • Why should I try the free trial?
  • Why shouldn’t I try the free trial?
  • Do I want the latest features?
  • Do I want the best available version?
  • What do I really need?
  • What do I really want?

Asking yourself these kinds of deep, introspective questions can help you figure out which payment option is right for you.

Is Final Draft Free?

No, Final Draft is not free. However, there is a 60-day free trial available for anyone who wants to try the software.

A free trial is a great option if you simply want to check out the software and see if it works for you. You don’t even need to enter a credit card number when signing up for the free trial. You’re under no obligation after your 60 day period expires.

How to sign up for a free trial of Final Draft:

  1. Enter your name and email address into the free trial sign up portal.
  2. You’ll receive an email in your inbox within a few minutes.
  3. Download and install the free trial version of Final Draft.

It’s as easy as that!

During this free trial, you can check out all of the features of Final Draft. You get everything for 60 days. It’s a great way to figure out if the software is right for you.

If you decide that you like using Final Draft, it’s easy to purchase the software.

If you are new to Final Draft, I highly recommend that you try it for free first to see if you like it. Not everyone loves the interface or user experience. Although Final Draft is easy to use, you may not need all of the features.

Most people love it, but some screenwriters prefer other software or simple, free software like Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

In that case, an alternative to Final Draft might be better for you.

Can You Purchase Final Draft With a One-Time Payment?

Yes, you can purchase Final Draft with a single, one-time payment.

If you use Final Draft infrequently and don’t need constant access to new features, then the one-time payment is a good option for you.

The one-time payment gives you lifetime access to the current version of Final Draft. The downside is that you will not get free access to upgrades with a one-time payment. However, you can purchase an upgrade to a new version of Final Draft with an additional one-time payment.

This additional payment is typically less than purchasing the new version outright.

Is Final Draft a Monthly Subscription?

Final Draft does not offer monthly or annual subscription plans. You purchase Final Draft via a one-time payment.

It’s easy to confuse the optional upgrades with an annual subscription, but they are two totally different things. Upgrading is 100% optional. All you ever need to do is purchase Final Draft one time.

There are no monthly subscriptions with Final Draft, which I consider a good feature of the software. Monthly subscriptions tend to cost more in the long run than single payments upfront. Subscriptions can end unintentionally when you forget to update your credit card.

Once you purchase Final Draft, it is yours forever.

How Much Is Final Draft Monthly?

You purchase Final Draft with one-time payment upfront. You can not pay monthly.

However, you can mentally break down the one-time payment to see the monthly cost. The current special price is $199 (compared to the regular price of $249). If you divide this cost by 12 months, you end up spending around $17 per month.

That’s a pretty reasonable price.

Keep in mind that the longer you use Final Draft, the cheaper it gets. If you use Final Draft for two years (or 24 months), you just divide your cost in half again. Once you use Final Draft for several years, the costs go down to virtually nothing. Most subscription services increase over time to match demand and increase profit for shareholders.

As Final Draft adds new features, develops new versions, and upgrades the software, the one-time price is likely to go up.

However, you never need to pay any more after your initial, one-time payment. If you choose to upgrade to a new version of Final Draft, you will pay an additional one-time cost. This cost, though, is optional.

How Long Does a Final Draft License Last?

A final draft license lasts forever. You receive a single license for use on two computers with a one-time payment for Final Draft. The license is paid in full when purchasing the software and does not expire after installation or use.

Many people confuse a license with a monthly subscription, but they are not the same. The license grants you lifetime permission to use the software on two active devices.

It is true that most software eventually needs updating or upgrading, but you can get by for years without needing any critical updates.

Are Final Draft Updates Free?

Yes, Final Draft updates are always free. When you purchase the software through a one-time payment, you get updates for free.

Final Draft updates are small fixes and changes to the software. When Final Draft updates a version of the software, they post the updates (or patches) to their website. You can access and install the updates for free right from their website.

One exception is if an available update is to a version of Final Draft that you do not own. Say you bought a previous version of Final Draft with a one-time payment. Once a new version of the software is released, updates to the new version will likely not work on your older version.

With most software updates to past versions do eventually stop.

Do I Need To Update Final Draft?

You do not need to update Final Draft, but you might want to update the software to access new features and bug fixes.

Final Draft regularly updates the software with new features and compatibility fixes. These updates can help you avoid software malfunctions and frustrating issues with certain features.

You can certainly use Final Draft without getting any updates.

It really is a matter of how well the software works for you and how much you value access to new features. Most current versions of software work perfectly fine for most people.

With that said, I highly recommend that you keep your version of Final Draft as updated as possible. After all, you get updates for free.

Are Final Draft Upgrades Free?

While updates are always free, Final Draft upgrades are not free. An upgrade is a significant change to the software. An upgrade is usually an additional one-time fee.

Once you pay the upgrade fee, you can access updates to the new version for free. Upgrading to a new version is completely optional. You will not be forced to upgrade.

If you don’t yet own Final Draft, you will automatically get the latest version when you pay your initial one-time purchase fee. If you already own Final Draft, you pay a smaller upgrade fee (usually half or one-third the cost of purchasing the software for the first time). After you purchase the upgrade, you will not need to pay any additional money (until the next upgrade).

Are There Any Other Costs to Final Draft?

There are no hidden fees to Final Draft. However, if you own a Chromebook, you may need to purchase additional software to use Final Draft.

Final Draft works best on Windows and Mac computers.

To use Final Draft, you either need to own one of these types of computers, buy one of these computers, or purchase workaround software that might make Final Draft useable on a Chromebook.

Here is a quick table with three computers that are compatible with Final Draft:

ComputerPrice RangeLearn More
Apple Macbook Pro $$Learn More
Microsoft Surface Book$$Learn More
Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga$Learn More
Computers compatible with Final Draft—Is Final Draft a One-Time Purchase?

Alternatives to Final Draft

If you try the free trial and don’t care for Final Draft, you may still want screenwriting software. There are a bunch of screenwriting software options, and it’s not always easy to figure out the price.

So I’ve done the research for you.

Check out this table of alternatives to Final Draft:

Screenwriting SoftwarePriceLearn More
StoryWriter$-$$$Learn More
Fade In$$Learn More
Slugline$$Learn More
Scrivener$$Learn More
Writer Duet$Learn More
AfterwritingFreeLearn More
Screenwriting alternatives to Final Draft—Is Final Draft a One-Time Purchase?

Final Thoughts on “Is Final Draft a One-Time Purchase?

Final Draft is a powerful screenwriting program used by tons of professional screenwriters.

You have access to a free trial to see if the software is right for you. Then, you can switch to a simple payment plan with lifetime access to updates to the most current version.

If you asked me how you should pay for Final Draft, I’d suggest that you:

  • Sign up for the 60-day free trial to see if you like it (not everyone does).
  • Upgrade to the one-time payment for the latest version (Search online for special discounts).
  • Upgrade to the latest version as needed (you may never need to upgrade).

As for me, I signed up for the free trial. See you on the inside!

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