An Excel-Based Spelling Bee Puzzle

Steel Contributor

Formulating scenarios and logic in Excel is always exciting and worth learning. I am pleased to share an Excel version of another famous word puzzle game. Spelling Bee is a word game published daily by the New York Times (NYT).

SPB - TN.png

This Excel-based Spelling Bee puzzle is built in a conventional Excel version that attempts to simulate the same users’ experience. This Excel model can be a good practicing tool for the admirers of the puzzle. They can do the unlimited practice that would be off-line too.


The objective of designing this model is to explore learning opportunities and find alternate modeling approaches. In my future post, I will share the same model built in Office365 and analyze the improvement in efficiency and ease of making logic using dynamic arrays. Therefore, comments and feedback from the expert members of the community will be of great value.


The model is designed in two parts. In the first part, a list of seven unique letter words is identified and for the sake of simplicity, this portion of transformational work is not included in the model. Over seven thousand unique combinations of 7 letters have been used that decreases the possibility of a repeated word in a new game.


Players can start a new game by inputting a randomly generated number. Previously inputted words must also be deleted before proceeding with a new game. The puzzle challenges players to form words using a set of seven letters. The objective is to create as many words as possible. The puzzle has a straightforward scoring system. At a minimum, a word must have at least four letters. Four letters will get one point. Starting with five-letter words, players receive one point per letter. Players receive an extra seven points for making a Pangram. The pangram is when players use all seven given letters in one word.  


Vocabulary Used

I have referred to the Collins Scrabble Word (CSW-19) to download valid words having a length of four or more letters. The CSW dictionary has over 278K words that I have filtered out to 57K because the model's performance becomes extremely slow with more words.


Have also tried to remove the maximum offensive/obscure/hyphenated words.


Solver Mode

With slight changes, players can also use this model as a puzzle-solver for the NYT Spelling Bee quiz. But in that case, users may notice some differences in the solution published by the Spelling Bee (NYT) and the list of possible words generated by the model. The reason being the Spelling Bee (NYT) has its own separately curated word list that is not accessible.




2 Replies
You're a real master when it comes to Excel. Have you got any other projects lined up for the future? Have you ever heard of the game Werewords?

There is also a website where the game is hosted, albeit in text format:

If you're interested, let me know and I can provide you with some further information over a call or something.

PS: I'm trying to 'like' this post but it doesn't seem to work for me yet...

Hi @dunkindonuts 


Many thanks for your comments and appreciation.


That would be a brilliant idea to formulate the WereWords puzzle in Excel. I am sure of much learning potential in it.


Thanks for sharing the relevant links to the game. I will add it to my agenda for future projects.