Manually laying out a crossword grid

Currently, the EclipseCrossword app doesn’t offer a way to manually choose where words appear in a crossword puzzle. So it’s not possible, for example, to recreate a puzzle that you’ve designed on graph paper.

However, if you’re very determined, it’s possible to create a crossword file by hand and then open it in EclipseCrossword for printing, share on Share EclipseCrossword, or so on.

Step 1—Create a crossword puzzle file

Open your favorite text editor, such as Notepad, and create a new file. Use the following settings:

When you’re creating a crossword puzzle file, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Step 2—Add the header

Type the following at the top of the file:

; EclipseCrossword puzzle
Title: My example puzzle
Width: 3
Height: 3
Author: Your name
Copyright: © Copyright You

The first line is technically optional, but we recommend that you start it with a semicolon, a space, and the text EclipseCrossword puzzle.

The Title, Author, and Copyright lines can be anything you like. The Width and Height lines should specify the size of the puzzle, in squares.

Step 3—Add the Across words

The Across words always come first. When you’re ready to start adding them, type a line that starts with an asterisk (*). I recommend that you just copy and paste this:

; ------------------------------------------------------------
* Across words
; ------------------------------------------------------------

Then, enter your first Across word like this:

HAT: 1, 2: headgear
  1. The word itself. It doesn’t have to be capitalized.
  2. A colon (:).
  3. The position of the first letter of the word in the puzzle grid:
    1. The number of squares from the left edge, where the first column of squares is 1.
    2. A comma (,).
    3. The number of squares from the top edge, where the first row of squares is 1.
  4. Another colon (:).
  5. The clue.

So the above example is the word HAT with the clue “headgear,” and it starts on the first column of the second row of the puzzle.

List every Across word in your puzzle, one word per line. It’s not required that you list them top to bottom or in any particular order, just that you list all Across words before the first Down word.

Step 4—Add the Down words

After all Across words, type another line starting with an asterisk and then list your Down words. Here’s another header you can copy and paste:

; ------------------------------------------------------------
* Down words
; ------------------------------------------------------------

List the Down words exactly the same way as the Across words, specifying the word, the position of the first letter, and the clue. For example:

CAT: 2, 1: feline

Step 5—Save your puzzle

Be sure to save your work! Make sure you use the settings in the first step.

Then, find your file in File Explorer, and double-click on it to open it in the EclipseCrossword app. Check for mistakes! It’s easy to accidentally mis-count and put in the wrong column or row number. If you do, you’ll end up with the puzzle where the words don’t line up, which would not be a good crossword puzzle at all. Or, worse, EclipseCrossword will function incorrectly or might even crash.

If you make changes to your crossword puzzle file, close EclipseCrossword and reopen the file, or EclipseCrossword won’t see the changes.

If you made a large enough mistake, EclipseCrossword won’t be able to open the file, and it will rudely but accurately accuse you of editing the file by hand.

Once the puzzle looks the way you expect it to, you can use it like any other EclipseCrossword puzzle file! You can print it, share it online on Share EclipseCrossword, or anything else.

See also

You may also have searched for: How can I exactly control where the words go? How do you use the ECW file format?