Design Your Own Crossword Puzzles (Windows)

Saikat Basu 16-03-2009

design-your-own-crossword-puzzleSomebody once remarked that the nice thing about crosswords is that you know there is a solution and they have developed a cult following all of their own. Have you ever tried your hand at creating your own version of the New York Times Crossword? I didn’t – till I came across EclipseCrossword.


The free downloadable software from EclipseCrossword offers a fast and neat way to design your own crossword puzzle with words of your choice.

Why would I want to design my own crossword Puzzles?

Yes, most of the fun is in solving one rather than in the tedium of designing one. But if every fifth person can speak Chinese, I daresay every fourth person probably is a crossword buff. The site itself gives us a lot of ideas to play around regarding the possibilities of the crossword. From adding value to your website to a tool of teaching, from adding it to a draggy newsletter to using it as a time killer, the uses are limited by creativity alone. I picked it up and am now using it to polish my niece’s science facts.

make your own crossword puzzle

So, how do I make my first crossword puzzle?

The free EclipseCrossword software is a Windows only download. The interface is clean without any ad-ware to blotch it up. On the first run, the software offers a tutorial but you can skip that and head straight into the software itself, because the interface isn’t a puzzle at all.

As a first time user, select I would like to start a new crossword in the first screen.


Step 1 – Create or select a word list

A word list is the building block of your crossword. These are the answers we pencil down (the more confident pen it down!) in the little white squares. You can select the option to start from scratch or used a predefined word list saved in the proprietary EWL format.

Design Your Own Crossword Puzzles (Windows) 2 word list

Step 2 & 3 – Create or Modify a word list

A bit of scratching the head is required as we populate our word list and also assign the clues to solve them. A minimum two words are required.

Design Your Own Crossword Puzzles (Windows) 3 word list


Step 4 – Name this crossword

An optional step, but it just makes the final appearance a bit neater with the name of our created work at the top along with the copyright information.

Design Your Own Crossword Puzzles (Windows) 4 name

Step 5 – Define the crossword size

We can play with anything between a 5 by 5 grid to a 120 by 120 one. The “˜suggested’ values are usually the ones to go by.

Design Your Own Crossword Puzzles (Windows) 5 create


Step 6 – Finished crossword

Here we get a look at our wordplay. Preview it, move it around with the mouse or create another one in the same pattern.

Design Your Own Crossword Puzzles (Windows) 6 crossword preview

Step 7 – Save or Print this crossword

The final dress-up. We get four alternatives in four tabs to do the job.

Save the crossword or the word list.


Print the crossword with the options given.

Save as webpage. Save it as an interactive webpage that uses JavaScript or Java applet to render it in almost all the popular browsers. The crosswords can also be saved as non-interactive printable webpages that users can download, print and solve.

Publish the crossword in supported formats like RTF (Rich Text Format) for the clues, WMF (Windows Meta file) and/or EPS (Postscript) for the crossword grid. We can also export the puzzle in Across Lite format, which can be read by a variety of crossword software.

Design Your Own Crossword Puzzles (Windows) 8 print crossword screen

That’s it! With a click on the Close button, wordplay begins.

What’s the final score on EclipseCrossword?

EclipseCrossword is as straightforward as software can come. The wizard style step by step interface is a breeze and the start to finish takes mere minutes (creating the word list is the only step where we break a bit of sweat).

The finished crossword is printable and presentable in a number of formats and is also interactive in a browser. What I really liked about the program was that it has all the bearings of a professionally made software with hardly a rough edge. A quick download and you have entertainment for free.

EclipseSoftware v1.2 is a Windows only download.

If you are a crossword zealot then this is for you. Use it design your own crossword puzzles and let us know if you could match the down with the across.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. ZahaN
    September 27, 2016 at 7:07 am

    The software described in the article does not allow at the user designed or create crosswords. The EclipseCrossword auto-generates crosswords using an algorithm, as most of the programs mentioned in other articles on this site.

  2. Richard Showstack
    March 17, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I’d like to let you know about my book: The Crossword Puzzler's Handbook: 1000 People, Places, and Things You Need to Know to Solve Crossword Puzzles! It’s available at all Internet and “bricks-and-mortar” bookstores.

  3. Dreamparlour
    March 17, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Your example to use it as a teaching aid sounds great.Gave it a try. It was simple and very neat.

  4. youthworker
    March 17, 2009 at 5:12 am

    I've used puzzlemaker, at to create crosswords, as well as find a word puzzles, for classroom use. I've found it easy and quick to use there's a paid version and a free on line version. Copyright says it is for classroom use only, but they also have a bunch of other puzzles that I haven't explored, but which might help add soem variety to classrooms.

  5. Bob
    March 16, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    I have been using this for years. I am a language teacher and create a crossword with the vocab to practise but without clues (hit the space bar!) Then I print off one answer sheet and two blank puzzles. Copy half the words to one sheet and half to the other. Put the students in pairs and they have to define the words for their partner to complete the crossword.

    Can also be made portable to go on a pendrive!

    Excellent little product for the price