Excel Sudoku Generator: Create and Solve Puzzles with Formulas and Macros
How to Create and Solve Sudoku Puzzles in Excel
If you love playing Sudoku, you might be interested in learning how to create and solve Sudoku puzzles in Excel. Excel is a powerful and versatile tool that can help you generate, solve, and analyze Sudoku puzzles with ease. In this article, we will show you how to use Excel spreadsheets, add-ins, solver tools, and logic techniques to create and solve Sudoku puzzles of different levels and difficulty. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you will find something useful and fun in this article.
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What is Sudoku and why is it fun?
Sudoku is a popular logic puzzle game that originated in Japan. The goal of Sudoku is to fill a 9x9 grid with numbers from 1 to 9, such that each row, column, and 3x3 subgrid contains each number exactly once. Sudoku puzzles come in different sizes, shapes, and variants, but the basic rules are always the same.
Sudoku is fun because it challenges your brain, improves your concentration, memory, and logical thinking skills. It also provides a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when you solve a puzzle. Sudoku is suitable for people of all ages and backgrounds, as it does not require any mathematical or language skills. You can play Sudoku anytime, anywhere, with just a pencil and paper, or on your computer or mobile device.
Sudoku rules and tips
Before we dive into how to create and solve Sudoku puzzles in Excel, let's review some basic Sudoku rules and tips that will help you play better.
You can only use the numbers 1 to 9 in each cell of the grid.
You can only use each number once in each row, column, and 3x3 subgrid.
Avoid trying to guess the solution to the puzzle. Use the process of elimination as a tactic instead.
Use cross-hatching and penciling in techniques to narrow down the possible numbers for each cell.
Cross-hatching is when you scan a row or column within a subgrid to eliminate numbers that already appear in other subgrids.
Penciling in is when you write small numbers inside the cells to indicate the possible candidates for each cell.
Sudoku levels and difficulty
Sudoku puzzles can be classified into different levels of difficulty, depending on how many clues (numbers) are given at the start of the puzzle, and how complex the logic techniques required to solve them are. The most common levels are easy, medium, hard, and expert (or evil).
Easy puzzles have more clues (about 40-50) and can be solved by using simple cross-hatching and penciling in techniques.
Medium puzzles have fewer clues (about 30-40) and require more advanced logic techniques, such as hidden singles, naked pairs, or locked candidates.
Hard puzzles have even fewer clues (about 20-30) and require more complex logic techniques, such as hidden pairs, naked triples, or X-wing.
Expert puzzles have very few clues (less than 20) and require very sophisticated logic techniques, such as swordfish, XY-wing, or unique rectangle.
How How to create a Sudoku puzzle in Excel
There are two main ways to create a Sudoku puzzle in Excel: using a spreadsheet with formulas, or using an Excel add-in with macros. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, so you can choose the one that suits your needs and preferences.
Using a spreadsheet with formulas
One way to create a Sudoku puzzle in Excel is to use a spreadsheet that contains formulas that generate and validate the puzzle. You can either download a ready-made spreadsheet from the internet, or create your own spreadsheet from scratch.
Downloading a ready-made spreadsheet
If you want to save time and effort, you can download a ready-made spreadsheet that has all the formulas and features you need to create and solve Sudoku puzzles in Excel. There are many websites that offer free or paid Sudoku spreadsheets, such as [Sudoku Generator], [Sudoku Solver], or [Sudoku XL]. Here are the steps to download and use a ready-made spreadsheet:
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Go to the website of your choice and download the spreadsheet file (.xls or .xlsx) to your computer.
Open the file in Excel and enable macros if prompted.
Select the level of difficulty you want for your puzzle (easy, medium, hard, or expert).
Click on the Generate button to create a new puzzle.
Print or save the puzzle if you want, or start solving it on the spreadsheet.
Use the Check button to verify your answers, or the Solve button to reveal the solution.
Creating your own spreadsheet
If you want to have more control and customization over your Sudoku puzzles, you can create your own spreadsheet from scratch. This requires some knowledge of Excel formulas and functions, but it is not very difficult. Here are the steps to create your own spreadsheet:
Create a new workbook in Excel and name it Sudoku.
Create a 9x9 grid of cells on the first worksheet and name it Puzzle. This is where you will generate and solve the puzzle.
Create another 9x9 grid of cells on the second worksheet and name it Solution. This is where you will store the solution of the puzzle.
Create another worksheet and name it Generator. This is where you will write the formulas that generate the puzzle.
On the Generator worksheet, write the following formula in cell A1: =RANDBETWEEN(1,9). This formula generates a random number between 1 and 9.
Copy and paste this formula to cells A2:A9, B1:B9, C1:C9, D1:D9, E1:E9, F1:F9, G1:G9, H1:H9, and I1:I9. This creates a 9x9 grid of random numbers.
Select cells A1:I9 and press Ctrl+C to copy them.
Go to the Solution worksheet and select cell A1. Right-click and choose Paste Special. Select Values and click OK. This copies the values of the random numbers to the Solution worksheet.
Go back to the Generator worksheet and write the following formula in cell J1: =COUNTIF($A$1:$I$9,A1). This formula counts how many times the value in cell A1 appears in the 9x9 grid.
Copy and paste this formula to cells J2:J9, K1:K9, L1:L9, M1:M9, N1:N9, O1:O9, P1:P9, Q1:Q9, and R1:R9. This creates another 9x9 grid of counts.
Select cells J1:R9 and press Ctrl+C to copy them.
Go to the Puzzle worksheet and select cell A1. Right-click and choose Paste Special. Select Values and click OK. This copies the values of the counts to the Puzzle worksheet.
On the Puzzle worksheet, write the following formula in cell S1: =IF(J1=0,"",A1). This formula checks if the count in cell J1 is zero. If yes, it leaves the cell blank. If no, it copies the value from cell A1.
Copy and paste this formula to cells S2:S9, T1:T9, U1:U9, V1:V9, W1:W9, X1:X9, Y1:Y9, Z1:Z9, and AA1:AA9. This creates another 9x9 grid of values or blanks.Select cells S1:AA9 and press Ctrl+C to copy them.
Go to the Solution worksheet and select cell A1. Right-click and choose Paste Special. Select Formulas and click OK. This copies the formulas from the Puzzle worksheet to the Solution worksheet.
On the Solution worksheet, write the following formula in cell AB1: =SUM(S1:AA1). This formula sums up the values in row 1.
Copy and paste this formula to cells AB2:AB9, AC1:AC9, AD1:AD9, AE1:AE9, AF1:AF9, AG1:AG9, AH1:AH9, AI1:AI9, and AJ1:AJ9. This creates another 9x9 grid of sums.
Select cells AB1:AJ9 and press Ctrl+C to copy them.
Go to the Puzzle worksheet and select cell A1. Right-click and choose Paste Special. Select Values and click OK. This copies the values of the sums to the Puzzle worksheet.
On the Puzzle worksheet, write the following formula i