Creating an Interactive Game in Microsoft Excel

In the activity you will create and interactive game for elementary kids. There will be 9 questions and if the student answers them correctly it will reveal a picture underneath. The picture we will use for this activity is the shown below. Save it to your student folder.

Excel Background

Open Microsoft Excel 2007: Start > All Programs > Microsoft Office > Microsoft Excel 2007

Create a New Workbook

Excel should open as a workbook. If not click the Office button Office Button and select New New PowerPoint.

Select Blank Workbook:

Blank Workbook

Save Your Workbook

Click the Office button again Office Button and select Save As from the drop down menu and name your file Jigsaw Puzzle. See the information below on how you want to save your document.

Save Options

For this activity you will be creating an interactive game for elementary school students challenging them to answer multiplication facts. If they type in the correct answer a tile will reveal part of a picture. If they type in the incorrect answer the part of the picture will not be revealed. Click on the See the Game link below to see what you will be creating. It will show you what will happen if the student answers the grid answers correctly:

See the Game

Insert a Background Picture:

With your workbook open on the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Background to open the Sheet Background dialog box. Navigate to the folder that contains the picture you saved above. Click Insert on the Sheet Background dialog box to place the picture on the page.

Apply a Background

Your picture will appear tiled, repeating itself in the background like the one shown below. Don't worry about it right now because when you are done only one picture will show.

Tiled Picture

Change Column Width and Height:

Next you want to set up the worksheet so that the picture is divided into a 4 X 4 grid. You want the four squares to be the same size. Click on the Setting up the 4 X 4 Grid below to see how to do it.

Setting up the 4 X 4 Grid

Next you will need to set up the cells that will contain the instructions. Click on the Formatting Cells for Instructions to see how this is done.

Formatting Cells for Instructions

Add Borders to Worksheet:

First you will place a thick black border around the 4 X 4 Grids that contain the cells A1, A2, A3, A4, B1, B2, B3,B4, C1, C2, C3, C4, D1, D2,D3, D4, as well as an all borders border around the cells.

You will also format both E1 and E1 cells with a thick black border.

See a how to video below:

Add Borders to Grid and Instruction Cells

Now you will add an all border border around the section that will contain your clues. The cells you will add clues to are shown below. Look at the how to video below to place an all border around these cells. These include cells A5-A13 through D5 through D13.

Clue Cells

Format Clue Borders

Add Fill to the Worksheet:

Select entire worksheet by clicking in the top left hand corner of the worksheet shown below.

Select Worksheet

This will turn the entire worksheet blue indicating that it is selected. Next you will fill the worksheet with a fill color. Click on the format font button on the Home tab to open the Format Cells dialog box. Select fill, then select a color you want to fill your worksheet with. Below the graphic is a see how to video:

Fill Cells

Fill Worksheet with Color

Adding Text to Your Worksheet:

Click in cell E1 and type in "Test your knowledge of multiplication tables 8 & 9. Type in your answers to"

Select the Enter Key

type "the corresponding cells to reveal a secret picture."


Format your cells left aligned and vertically centered.

Left and Center Aligned

See the how to video below:

Entering Text for Instructions

Next you will enter your clues which will be center aligned. Add the Headers Cell and Problem and apply a bold formatting. The clues are listed below and the How to video will show you how to enter a few of clues. Use the data below to fill in the rest of the clue cells.

Filling in Clues and Headers


Add Conditional Formatting to the Picture Squares:

Now you will apply conditional formatting to the picture squares. Click in Cell A1 and with the Home tab selected click Conditional Formatting > Highlight Cell Rules > Equal To:

Equal To

At the Equal to dialog box type in the correct answer for cell A1 then Click Custom Format:


At the Format Cells dialog box select the Fill tab and select No Color. Then click OK to apply the conditional formatting to the cell A1.

Fill No Color

Continue adding conditional formatting to the remainder of the picture cells.

Click on the How to video below to see how to apply conditional formatting to a cell.

Apply Conditional Formatting to Cells

Lock the Worksheet and Unlock Cells:

By default all cells are locked so you need to select the cells that contain your picture and unlock them by clicking the Locked box to unlock it. Select the picture cells and with the Home tab selected select the arrow at the bottom corner of the font section then click on the Protection tab on the Format Cells dialog box. Click in the Locked section to remove the check. Click OK to apply this formatting. See the How to video below:

Unlock Cells

How to Unlock Cells

Protecting Your Worksheet:

Once you have unlocked the picture cells you will need to protect the worksheet so no one can edit any of the data you have entered. With the Review

Protect Sheet

At the protect sheet dialog box you only want Select unlock cells box to be checked.

Protect Cells

Check your worksheet by playing the game. You should only be able to click in the picture cells. Once you are satisfied with the results submit it for grading.

Nicholson's Lesson Plan Blues