How to write a voice-over script in easy steps

If you need to create a high-quality voice-over recording for a presentation or video content, the script you write is just as important as the recording itself. In fact, if you don’t start the process with a good script, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get a poor final result.


      Whether you’re recording your own voice or using the services of a voice actor, the quality of your script should be your priority. A well-written and correctly formatted voice-over script helps to make sure that the recording process goes smoothly and the final product is of the highest quality.

      In this blog post, we'll share our tips for writing a voice-over script and explore the best practices for formatting your script to get good results from your recording.

      What is a voice-over script?

      A voice-over script is a document that provides a voice actor with the words to read when recording a voice-over. Voice-over scripts are used for a wide range of projects, from commercials and videos to e-learning courses and audiobooks. The script also gives the voice actor directions on how to deliver the lines and sets the tone and pace for the recording.

      Reap the benefits of professional voice-over services

      Voice-over script formatting

      Proper formatting is essential for producing a successful voice-over script. A well-formatted script can help your voice actor understand the flow of the content, make it easier to read and ensure that the final product meets your expectations. In contrast, a poorly formatted script with unclear directions can result in a longer recording process and a less effective final product.

      Having to re-do voice-overs is time consuming and costly; getting your voice-over script formatting right is essential if you want to avoid that headache. Read these best practice formatting tips before you start writing your script:

      How to write a voice-over script: best practices for formatting

      Use clear headings

      Use clear headings to indicate the important sections of your script, such as introductions, body paragraphs and a conclusion or summary. This helps anyone who is reading the script to navigate the document and understand the flow of the content. Headings also help you to organise your content when you’re writing.

      Use punctuation and grammar correctly

      Making sure that your script is free from grammar and punctuation errors is essential. Proper punctuation also helps to guide the voice actor's delivery as it provides an indication of the intonation that the voice should carry. This ensures that your message is clearly understood by an engaged audience.

      Use a consistent font and size

      Using a consistent font and font size throughout your script makes your document easy to read. Stick to a font that’s simple and clear. Use a font size that’s large enough to read, but not so large that it makes the script carry on over more pages than is practical.

      Include clear instructions

      If there are any specific directions you want your voice actor to follow, such as emphasising certain words or speaking at a certain pace, they should be included in the script. Clear instructions help the voice actor deliver a performance that shines.

      Download our voiceover script template

      Find out what information needs to be included on your voice-over script and download our templates for video or slide presentation recording.

      Common mistakes to avoid when formatting a voice-over script

      Lack of organisation

      Solution: Use clear headings to section the document and ensure that your script is easy to follow.

      Inconsistent formatting

      Solution: Use a consistent font and size throughout your script, and ensure that your headings and other formatting elements are applied consistently.

      Overcomplicated language

      Solution: Keep your language simple and to the point. Find the easiest way to explain everything.

      Not proofreading the script

      Solution: Proofread your script yourself, but also have others review it to catch any mistakes that you’ve missed.

      What does a voice-over script look like? 

      A voice-over script doesn’t need to be complicated. Common markers and instructions in a script include a time code, the speech itself and comments with specific instructions.

      Markers can also be added for different speakers, scenes or sequences.

      Here’s an example:

      Time code 
      Scripted speech 
      Comments or instructions 

      00:06 - 00:16

      Camera pans over a new SUV car 

      A big family requires a big vehicle. 

      Emphasise first and second ‘big’

      00:17 - 00:22

      Camera pans to show family leaving the house

      And the bigger the family, the bigger the vehicle.

      Last child out of the door slams it

      00:23 - 00:26

      Everyone gets in the car

      You’ll need plenty of room...

      Slightly humoured tone, small chuckle at the start

      00:27 - 00:28

      Driver jumps out, opens hatchback and dog jumps in the back of the car

      For all the family!

      Emphasis on ‘all’

      Make the job easy with free voice-over script templates

      At Semantix, we create and translate voice-over content for hundreds of videos each year. We’ve compiled some of our own templates into a downloadable document for you to use when creating new voice-over scripts, or when formatting them for translation to other languages. 

      Using a template for your voice-over script can help to ensure that your script is well formatted and contains all the necessary elements. Templates can also save you time by providing a starting point for your script.

      When using a template, be sure to customise it to meet the specific needs of your project. You may need to add or delete sections, change the wording to fit your desired tone and pacing or make other modifications. Fill out this form to receive your voice-over templates. 

      How to write a voice-over script: get your content right

      Split your video content into scenes, or groups of scenes. If you’re writing for a slide presentation, write a script for each separate slide.

      Write the content you need in a style suitable for your target audience, then read each section of the script out loud. This helps you check that your pace is consistent throughout the video. Speak naturally and don’t read the script too fast. Reading out loud is the best way to identify awkward phrasing, timings that need adjusting, or any other parts of your script that are not working well.

      Ensure that your script is clear and easy to understand. This includes checking for consistent use of terminology, as well as ensuring that the script effectively communicates the intended message.

      After reviewing your script, make any necessary revisions to improve clarity, consistency or pace. It can be helpful to have others review the script as well, for additional perspectives and feedback.

      Voice-over scripts for AI

      If you’re not happy using your own voice and don’t want to hire a voice actor, you have the option of using an AI voice-over service. There are several available online, including some free ones. If you use a free service, you might find that there is limited functionality or a limit on voice-overs you can download. However, if you’ve just got one voice-over project, it’s always an option. Of course, AI isn’t quite the same as using a real human voice and you won’t get the same vocal qualities. Whether the results are good enough for your needs really depends on the scope of your project.

      As you’d imagine, writing a script for an AI voice-over app is quite different to writing one for a human voice actor. The different apps have differing requirements but it’s a simple process of typing in your text and adding some preset directions.

      We tried free AI voice generator Voicebooking. Here’s some of the simple script showing the directions we added:

      Example of a voice-over

      Are subtitles a better option than a voice-over for your project?

      The answer to this question depends on the details of your project. In some cases, subtitling is the preferrable option. Subtitling can retain the original style and voice of your content while being cheaper and easier to produce than voice-overs. It’s also easier to add further languages to your video content at a later date.

      However, subtitles can distract attention from your visual content and they put limitations on workable screen space. Subtitling can also struggle to convey conversations with multiple speakers effectively.

      Final thoughts

      Creating an effective, professional-quality voice-over script can be daunting. Semantix works with companies and individuals in multiple industries to create voice-overs and subtitling in more than 200 languages. This means that we can help you decide whether a voice-over or subtitling is the best option for your project.

      If you decide to use a voice-over, we can help you write the perfect script for your video. We also offer a full voice-over recording service.

      Need your video content to be understood by a global audience?

      Get the templates

      With our template, you can easily create a script that meets your specific project needs and ensures a flawless voiceover performance. No more headaches or frustration – just a smooth and efficient process from start to finish.