Do you like to use ellipses in your film and TV scripts? Here’s a trick you’ll want to know.

Okay, it’s a less a “trick” than a standard feature of Mac computers (and I’m assuming PCs as well), but it’s something most people don’t know about.

First off, you shouldn’t rely too heavily on ellipses in general, but they have their purpose.  The problem is that a single ellipsis adds three characters to the last word in your sentence, and three characters is sometimes one or two too many, creating “orphan words” that push into the next line.

Three Periods
Adding ellipses the old fashioned way, by hitting the period button three times.

Extra lines can be very annoying, pushing things off the page you might want there, or even adding to the overall page count.

Microsoft Word automatically addresses this issue by turning three consecutive periods into an “ellipsis symbol” that only counts as a single character.  Final Draft, sadly, does not.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t add one yourself:

One Character Ellipses
Adding an ellipsis symbol instead can help eliminate orphan words.

Adding an “ellipses symbol” is easy on a Mac.  Just press “OPTION-semicolon” and it’ll create one.  Easy-peasy.

Or you can use the Mac’s built-in “character viewer.”  To do that, open the System Preferences and select the Keyboard pane.  Then click where it says “Show Keyboard & Character Viewer in menu bar.”


That will create this icon (and dropdown menu) on your desktop.


Selecting the character viewer will bring up this window, showing you every character/symbol might ever need to use while writing:


What you see above is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  There are hundreds of characters to choose from obscure iconography to foreign currency symbols.

The character viewer is a useful item to keep in your menu bar because you never know when you’ll need a certain symbol to help elucidate your writing.

Fun fact: The plural of ellipsis is ellipses. 

FYI: I’m told the Windows equivalent of “OPTION-semicolon” is to hold down ALT and type 0133.  (Of course the Windows version would require three additional keystrokes.)

One thought on “Do you like to use ellipses in your film and TV scripts? Here’s a trick you’ll want to know.

  1. Pingback: Guiones cinematográficos: ¿cómo aplicamos la elipsis? – Detrás del lente

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