How to use the Word List Editor for Puzzle Maker Pro?

This tutorial shows how to use the Word List Editor for Puzzle Maker Pro.

The basic functionality is included in:

Advanced options, using main and custom word lists, is available as a separate add-on:


A requirement for all Crossword style puzzle is that they have clues. It's best to vary the clues between puzzles, and not have identical clues for the same word in all the Crossword puzzles you generate. For example: If you have "Longest river in the USA" (8 letters) in each and every puzzle, that's not very exciting for your customers.

There are two main functions for word lists and clue management. First of all, with the clue editor you can edit the clues for your word lists, before or after (!) generating puzzles. Additionally, there's an option to add your own main word list or dictionary, instead of adding the clues to each theme word list separately.

Editing Clues for Puzzle Maker Pro - Crosswords

The three options to set the clues for your words are:

  • Edit the word list in your favorite software.
  • Edit the word list in Puzzle Maker Pro, after copying or selecting it in the Word List area
  • Edit the clues for your puzzles AFTER generating the puzzles. You'll get this option automatically if some words are missing clues.

Editing your Word List in your own software (Notepad)

The words are listed in a simple format:

"Word : Clue"

In other words: Each line in the text file has a word and a clue, separated by a colon. You can easily edit this file in Notepad on Windows. It should be a standard ".txt" file, without any kind of layout or control characters. If you're using MS Word to edit the file, make sure to select "Plain Text (.txt)" as the format, when you save the file.

This way, when you add the clues, they will be part of your word list, and can be reused each time you use the word list.

Edit Word List (in Puzzle Maker Pro)

In Puzzle Maker Pro - Crosswords (also for Criss Cross) there's an option to edit the word list you've selected. This will work both when you have copied a list of words in the words area, or if you have selected a Word List file to use. Click the "Edit Word List" button to go to the Clue Editor.

Criss Cross - Clue Editor

Here you'll see a table with the words and the clues. Once you click a word or clue, you can edit the clue. (see the screenshot below). Click "Close" on the Clue Editor window to close and save all clues and return to the Crossword module. Note: The Custom Word List area in the screen shot requires an add-on product.

Edit Clues

You can even edit the clues AFTER generating the puzzles. This is how most other crossword software works as well, but Puzzle Maker Pro will also generate your Puzzle Book in PDF or Powerpoint format after adding the clues.

If you want to edit the clues after generating the puzzles, make sure the "Edit After Create" box is checked. Alternatively, if any of the words is missing its clue, you'll see a warning like this, allowing you to edit the clues:

Criss Cross - 51 Clue Editor Warning

If you click "No", then some words in the puzzle book will have blank clues. You can always edit the PDF or Powerpoint document after it's created.

If you click "Yes", you'll see the following window:

Criss Cross - 53 Clue Editor Puzzle Clues - Numbered
  1. Select the file you want to edit. The file name may seem a bit cryptic, the dropdown list shows all the word / clue files for the puzzle. By selecting them one by one, you'll be able to check or edit the words for each puzzle.
  2. The words and clues are shown, along with the position in the puzzle (V 3 means Vertical word 3). By clicking the word CROSSSUM or the empty clue field, you'll be able to edit the clue
  3. Textbox to edit the clue
  4. Click "Save Clue" to save the clue to the table. Alternatively you can click the "Auto Save Changes" box, this will automatically save changes when you change to a different word or file
  5. Select a clue from the list - these clues are taken from the main and custom dictionaries (if you have the dictionary add-on)
  6. Add changes automatically to the custom dictionary, or "Add All" words and clues to the custom dictionary at once, for future re-use. (This requires the dictionary add-on)
  7. Save / Close: Leave the Clue Editor Window. After this, Puzzle Maker Pro will automatically generate puzzle books for you.

Using a Dictionary Word List

The use of main and custom word lists, is available as a separate add-on: Word List Editor for Puzzle Maker Pro. Not everybody may need or want this.

Our Dictionary system allows you to set up a main dictionary that has many words the clues for the words. Additionally you can add a 'custom' dictionary, that will be used to add all the new clues you add in Puzzle Maker Pro.

The main dictionary and the custom dictionary are separate files, this allows you to use dictionaries (clues) that you download or purchase elsewhere, and still save your own custom clues separately.

Theme Word List

In the (theme) word list for your puzzles, it's allowed to include only the words and not the clues. For the dictionaries, the clues are mandatory, since the main purpose of the dictionary is to provide you with clues.

When you use the Time Saver for Crossword, you can add multiple word lists, to create a large set of themed puzzles with a single mouse-click.

Main Dictionary

The main dictionary, or main word list, can consist of millions of words with corresponding clues.

For puzzles like Criss Cross, this dictionary is used to provide you with clues for the words that are used in the puzzle. This way you don't have to add clues in your theme word lists. Of course you still can add clues to the theme word list, which will have priority over the clues in the dictionaries.

The format of the main word file is identical to the theme word list format:

"Word : Clue"

The main dictionary will never be changed by Puzzle Maker Pro.

At the time of writing, we do not include dictionaries with Puzzle Maker Pro.

Custom Dictionary

The custom dictionary is used to save clues that you add while creating puzzles. You can edit the word list before creating puzzles, and add all the clues to the custom dictionary, you can also edit the puzzle clues after creating the puzzles (but before generating a puzzle book), and add the clues to the custom dictionary.

Using Multiple Languages

Like all other Puzzle Maker Pro features, you can easily use different languages with the Crossword modules. However, you should make sure that you change the main dictionary and the custom dictionary when you use word lists for other languages. Otherwise Puzzle Maker Pro may for example add English clues from the dictionaries to French words from your word list.

Workflow options

There are different ways to use word lists in Puzzle Maker Pro - Criss Cross (and future modules):

  • You can create Criss Cross puzzles using your own word lists, including clues. In which case there is no need to use the built-in Clue Editor. (Note: It's faster to edit clues and descriptions in Notepad or Notepad++ or any other text editor. Our Clue Editor needs to do some extra checks because it can be linked to your dictionaries).
  • You can create Criss Cross puzzles using your own word lists, and add clues before or after creating the puzzles. Before your puzzle book (Powerpoint or PDF) is created, there's an automatic check to verify that each word has a clue, and you'll get the option to edit the clues with the clue editor.
  • Optionally you can also edit the puzzle clue files in your favourite text editor, but you have to make sure that required parts, such as word positions, remain in place
  • If you use a dictionary, Puzzle Maker Pro will automatically retrieve missing clues from your dictionary. You can still choose to edit the clues before creating a puzzle book.

Why so many options? First of all: With professional crossword software, it's best practice to create the puzzle(s) first, and edit all the clues after that, to create the best possible puzzle and clues. We definitely wanted to support this workflow. On the other hand, many KDP book publishers want to create crossword puzzle books from ready made word lists, and there's also KDP oriented software that works like that. Which is why we decided to support this workflow as well. The other approaches are more or less a mix of these two.

Further Reading

Please enter a valid email address.