Creating an Interactive Crossword in Excel

First you must come up with your clues and your answers. You will include ten words in your puzzle. You will use the 50 states site below to find your 10 clues.

Once you have your words and clues figured out, go to puzzle maker to have it format your puzzle for you.

Follow the directions for creating your crossword. Make sure you include your name in step 1. This will distinguish your crossword from the other student's crossword when they are printed out.

Steps in Creating Crossword

Copy and paste your clues in Microsoft Word. This will help you when you are filling in your puzzle. Make sure that you use your own words and clues, not the one listed below.


Print out your crossword. Enter all you words into your printed out crossword then add them to your excel worksheet. The How to Video below shows two words entered. You will enter all ten of your words. You want a blank column to appear on both the left and right side of your crossword as well as a blank row above and below your crossword.

Entering Words in Your Excel Worksheet How to Video

Place all borders around all your words in the puzzle and center align text in cells both vertically and horizontally.

Place all borders around your text. Do not add borders to any of the blank cells. Select all the cells that contain text then on the Home tab select Borders the All Borders.

All Borders

Vertically and Horizontally align your text in the cells. Select the cells with the text and click the vertical and horizontal alignment buttons on the Home tab.


Add Borders and Vertically and Center Align Text How to Video

Change the size of the cells.

Select all the cells in your worksheet by clicking the box above the number 1 and to the left of the A column.

Select All Cells

With the Home tab selected click format on the cell section and select Column Width.

Format Column Width

Set the column width to 5 at the Column Width dialog box.

Column Width

Click again the Format again and select Row Height and set the row height to 20.

Resize Cell Width and Height How to Video

Add a solid fill to the empty cells that do not contain text.

Select the empty cells by holding down the left mouse and dragging over them. Click on the fill paint can and select a color. The fill color will then be applied to the empty cells. You will have to do this in sections so that you don't select the cells that contain text.

Fill Color

Adding Fill Color to the Empty Cells How to Video

Adding clues by inserting comments to your puzzle.

Make sure you have your crossword you generated at Puzzle Maker that contain your clues. Right click on the first letter of the word of one of your words and select Insert Comment. Make sure you include Across and Down in your comment box. You can change the font color or fill color of your comment.

To format your comment, with the Home tab selected click Format then select comment.

Format Comment

Add all ten clues to your interactive crossword. The How to Video demonstrates how to insert one comment but you will add all ten comments to your puzzle.

Adding Comments and Formatting How to Video

Add Conditional Formatting:

The next step is to add conditional formatting to the cell so that when the correct letters are placed in the cell the cell will turn green and green text will appear in the cell. If the text is incorrect the letter will appear red. Click in one of the letters in the puzzle then with the home tab selected click Conditional Formatting and select Highlight Cells Rules then select Text that Contains. To select more than one cell that contains the same letter hold your shift key down while selecting.

Conditional Formatting

The letter that appears in the cell that you have selected should appear in Format cells that contain the text text box. Select Green Fill with Dark Green Text and Click OK to apply the conditional formatting to the cell.

Text that Contain

Now we need to add the incorrect response conditional formatting, turning the text red if it is incorrect to the same text cell. With the same cell selected click the Conditional Formatting tab, scroll down to Highlight Cells Rules, and select More Rules.

Conditional Formatting

At the New Formatting Rule Type, select Format only cells that contain, Edit the Rule Description select Cell Value > not equal to > F, then click the format button.

New Formatting Rule

Select font color red.

Format Font Red

Click Ok to close the format cells dialog box and click OK to apply the conditional formatting to your cell. Check it out by deleting the letter in the cell and typing the correct response then type in an incorrect response. Continue adding conditional formatting to the rest of your cells.

Add Conditional Formatting to Puzzle How To Video

Duplicating Worksheet 1 and Renaming Tabs:

Now you will need to create an Answer Key as well as a Blank Crossword. First you will need to duplicate Worksheet 1. To do this while holding down the CTRL key left click on sheet and and drag it to the right to create a duplicate copy. Double click on Sheet 1 and name it Crossword then double click on the duplicate sheet and name it Answer Key.

How to Duplicate and Rename Worksheets Video

Delete Empty Sheets:

Sheet 3 and Sheet 4 you don't need so you will delete them. Right click on both sheets and choose delete.

How to Delete Unused Sheets Video

Delete all Letters in Crossword:

Select all cells by clicking on the gray box above row 1 and to the left of column A. With the Home tab selected in the edit section on your ribbon click the clear icon then select Clear Contents.

Clear Contents

All the letters in your puzzle should now be cleared.

Clear Puzzle

How to Clear All Contents From Your Crossword Puzzle Video

Color Cells Not in Puzzle White:

Select all the cells outside of your puzzle and fill them with white.

Color all Cells Outside of Crossword White How To Video

Insert WordArt:

With the Insert tab selected click WordArt icon WordArt to open the WordArt dialog box. Type "Fun State Facts" in the dialog box. Resize the text to fit in your puzzle. Apply additional formatting to the WordArt if desired.

Insert WordArt How To Video

Add ClipArt and a Hyperlink:

With the Insert tab selected click the ClipArt icon ClipArt to open the ClipArt search box. Search for states and selected the USA graphic.

Search ClipArt

Click on it to insert it on the page. Resize it to fit on your puzzle. Also set the picture to Set Transparency Color.

Set Tranparency Color

Add a Hyperlink to ClipArt:

First open the web page you want to create a hyperlink to. For this activity it will be the url:

Return to your Excel crossword and click on the USA graphic to select it. With the Insert tab selected click Hyperlink Hypertext Link. Return to the 50 website then return to your Excel Worksheet and the hyperlink should now appear in the address text box. Click OK to apply the hyperlink to your graphic. Now when you hover your mouse over the graphic it should appear as a hand and when clicked on will take you to the website.

How to Insert ClipArt and a Hyperlink Video

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