Make Your Own Crossword Puzzles for Free

Word puzzles can make great tools for learning new vocabulary, and most students I’ve taught love doing them. Word searches and crossword puzzles are the most popular, but since these only occasionally show up in course and workbooks, I end up making a lot of them myself. I’ve written elsewhere about some of the high quality worksheet generators available online, but today I want to focus on how to make your own crossword puzzles using the Discovery Puzzlemaker which was introduced to me by a coworker about a decade ago.

Crossword Puzzle 001. Choose the title of your puzzle, be it shapes, sports, occupations, vegetables, or winners of American Idol.

Crossword Puzzle 012. Choose the dimensions of your puzzle. Mind you, the default settings are just fine.

Crossword Puzzle 023. Enter each word you want to appear in your puzzle followed by a space and the clue.

Crossword Puzzle 03Words like “office worker”, which ordinarily have a space between them, should be joined when inputted into the puzzle generator. And although in the above image there are only four entries, you can just scroll down to write as many as you like.

4. Press Create My Puzzle, and voilà! Now just print as many copies as you need.

Crossword Puzzle 04The trouble is I don’t like how this looks, and you can’t save it easily either, so I have developed my own better way. It’s not rocket science, and I’m sure those who work in graphic design or publishing might turn their noses up at it, but it is totally fit for purpose.

5. After you have created the puzzle, right click on it. The puzzle is an image like any other on the Internet so you can copy and paste it into a word document like so:

Crossword Puzzle 05Now you can adjust the size and location to whatever you like.

6. You will have to copy and paste the clues separately. Depending on your browser and version of Word the output could look like this:

Crossword Puzzle 06

It’s not bad, but it could be a little better.

Crossword Puzzle 07As you can see I’ve used a two-column table to put the clues into, spaced them out a bit, and have changed the font to comic sans.

7. If your puzzle uses vocabulary from a course book, label the puzzle so that both you and your students know where it’s from. Don’t forget to make a place for students to write their name.

Crossword Puzzle 08Here’s what the finished product looks like:

Crossword Puzzle 11Now just save the puzzle and use it again when you teach the same vocabulary to another class.

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