Description: Students design their own crossword puzzle. Because of the unique column
and row layout in Excel, as well as its cell formatting features, students can design a
crossword puzzle to learn vocabulary words, definitions, and concepts that are relevant to
practically any area of the curriculum. You will create a crossword puzzle called
Computer Applications. The word list will be given to you and you will write the clues.
You may add more words to the puzzle, but the words must have something to do with
computers. Please read through the following pages to learn how to create your
crossword puzzle.
Sample Crossword Puzzles
Basic puzzle
Puzzle with extra formatting and two columns of clues next to each other
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The Excel features that will be used in this exercise are:
1. Changing multiple column widths at the same time
2. Formatting a number in a cell so that it is not only small, but also positioned at the
top left of the cell
3. Using the Format Painter tool to repeat formatting
How To:
1.On graph paper (your teacher will supply you with the graph paper), sketch out your
crossword puzzle. Use a pencil so you can correct your mistakes.
2.Start Microsoft Excel, and make sure a new, blank worksheet is open. Create a header
with your name, today’s date and your class period. Save the puzzle in your Excel folder
as Puzzle followed by your initials.
3.Begin by making a group of columns very narrow; these will be the columns for your
crossword puzzle. To change the width of several columns at once:
Click on a column letter at the top of the spreadsheet, and drag the mouse across
as many columns as you need for your puzzle. For example, select columns A-U
if your puzzle will be that many columns wide.
Point between the letters at the top of the columns, where two selected columns
meet. (Your mouse pointer will change to a double-sided arrow when you are in
the right place.) Drag left to make all of the selected columns smaller. As you
drag, note that the width of the columns appears just above the column headings.
A good width for a crossword puzzle is about 4.00
4.Next, change the rows of your puzzle to be taller. For example, in the samples above,
rows 3-12 are taller than the other rows. To change the height of many rows at the same
 Click the row number (on the left edge of the spreadsheet) for the first row that
will be part of your puzzle, and drag down to include as many rows as you need.
Point between the row numbers for two selected rows. (Your mouse pointer will
change to a double-sided arrow when you are in the right place.) Drag down to
make all of the selected rows taller. As you drag, note that the height of the rows
pops up. An average height is 24.00.
5.After you have set up the columns and rows, format the cells that will include the small
numbers indicating crossword puzzle clues. To insert a tiny number in the top-left corner
of a cell:
 First, click in a cell where a number belongs.
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Select Cells from the Format menu
On the Alignment tab, select Left (Indent) from the list under Horizontal, and
select Top from the list under Vertical.
On the Font tab, select a small font size such as 8, and then click OK.
Now that the cell is formatted, type a number in the cell and press ENTER.
6.Before you repeat these steps to format the other cells in the same way, format the cell
so that it has a dark border around it. (Later, you'll use a special tool on the toolbar to
repeat the format of this cell elsewhere in the spreadsheet.) To add a dark border around
the cell:
 Make sure that the cell you want to format is selected.
Next, click the drop-down triangle next to the Borders button on the Formatting
toolbar. Click either Outside Borders or Thick Box Border. Keep in mind that the
thicker the border, the easier it is to see when it is printed.
7.Now it's time to copy the special formatting (the small number in the top-left corner
and the border) that you've applied to this one cell and apply it to other cells. To do this,
you will use the Format Painter tool.
 Make sure that the cell that contains the special formatting and the small number
is selected. Double-click the Format Painter button on the Standard toolbar (it
looks like a paintbrush). Note that double-clicking the tool keeps it selected.
Click another cell where you want to repeat this formatting. You can even click
and drag the mouse over a group of cells across or down to format a whole word
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in your puzzle. Continue clicking the Format Painter tool in cells where words
belong in your puzzle. If you apply the formatting to a cell accidentally, just press
When you are finished using the Format Painter, press ESC to stop this special
way of copying a cell's format to other cells.
8.Now, type in the rest of the numbers where they belong in your crossword puzzle.
9.Finally, type your clues below your puzzle. Type a heading for the Across and Down
clues, and then type the clues below each heading. Format the text as needed.
Tip: If you have a clue that begins with a number, type the number assigned to the clue,
and then a space or two before you start typing the clue itself.
10.Save and then print your masterpiece! Print it a second time and fill in the answers.
Turn in both pages
More Ideas:
You might want to fill in some cells with solid black, just like in real crossword
puzzles (see the sample above). On the Drawing toolbar, click the Fill Color
button (it looks like a paint bucket) to fill in the cells with a solid color, such as
Add some clip art that fits the theme of your crossword puzzle.
CROSSWORD PUZZLE ANSWER LIST: (you may add more answers and you will
create the clues) Notice answers with more than 1 word do not have any spaces between
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