How to Make a Crossword Puzzle in Excel

By Brian Hudson

Making your own crossword puzzles can be a fun way to share your creativity with friends. Microsoft Excel, with its pre-built, easy-to-format cell structure, makes an ideal program for creating crossword puzzles. It takes just a few easy steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Crossword clues and answers

Step 1

Draft your crossword puzzle with paper and pencil. Determine what size grid you will need, where you want to place your clues, and how clues will cross on the grid.

Step 2

Start a new, blank document in Microsoft Excel.

Step 3

Select a number of rows equal to one more than the vertical size of your planned grid (for example, if you need a grid 20 spaces high, select 21 rows).

Step 4

Right-click in cell A1, click "Row Height," and then enter "20" in the option box that appears. Click "OK."

Step 5

Select a number of columns equal to one more than the horizontal size of your planned grid (for example, if you need a grid 20 spaces wide, select 21 rows).

Step 6

Right-click in cell A1, click "Column Width," and then enter "2.5" in the option box that appears. Click "OK."

Step 7

Starting in cell B2, select your grid area, then click on the "Borders" button in the Font box on the Home ribbon. Select "All Borders" from the pull-down menu.

Step 8

Key in your answers, one letter per cell (don't worry--you will delete them later). Make sure that all answers are spelled correctly and that words cross at the appropriate letter.

Step 9

Select the empty cells (hold down the "Control" key and click each empty cell). In the Font box on the Home ribbon, click on the "Fill Color" button, then choose "Black, Text 1" as your color (first row, second column).

Step 10

Select your crossword grid and delete all the answers. Type a small (font size 6) corresponding clue number in the first cell of each answer's space.

Step 11

Type your numbered clues, one clue per cell, in separate cells to the right of the crossword grid.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once created, the crossword grid can also be copied into a Microsoft Word document.
  • Saving the crossword as a PDF file is a great way to share it with friends.