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Microsoft Excel Games & Easter Eggs

Have some fun with Excel, by playing simple games, or fancy spreadsheet versions of classic games like Monopoly, Battleship, bingo, and much more.

Author: Debra Dalgleish

Excel treasure hunt game

Print Bingo Cards in Excel

In my Bingo Card template, there are three cards on the main worksheet, which is named Cards. Each bingo card has a set of 24 random numbers, with a FREE square in the centre of the card.

bingo card numbers 1 to 75

You can print sets of cards for a social event, or classroom, or as a meeting icebreaker at work. The random numbers are filled in by formulas, so there are no macros needed in this workbook.

And for younger players, there's a version that uses bingo pictures instead of numbers.

bingo card with pictures

Get the Bingo Card Excel file on the Print Bingo Cards page -- there are 4 different downloads for you to choose from.

Printable Guess the Word Sheets

There's a popular online game, where you can guess the daily 5-letter word. My granddaughter and I like to play more than once a day, so we challenge each other to guess the 5-letter word that we've written down

At first, we drew our own grids, but it's much easier to use these word game cards that I created in Excel.

Excel word guess game card

How to Use "Guess the Word" Game Cards

Here's how to prepare the Guess the Word game cards, that you can download at the end of this page.

  • Open the Word Guess Excel file, and print the WordGame sheet, which has 4 blank word guess games
  • Next, cut the printed sheet into four pieces, to play four games

Play the Game

Here are the steps for playing the game

  • To start the game, Person A thinks of a valid 5-letter word, and secretly writes that word on scrap paper
  • Next, Person B writes their first guess in row 1 of the word guess game card
  • Person A checks the word, and:
  • draws a circle around any letters that are in the word, but in the wrong spot
  • draws a box around any letters that are in the word, and in the correct spot
  • Person B tries again, until they guess the word correctly, or they run out of guesses (maximum of 6 guesses)
  • Person B can cross out alphabet letters, in the list below the word grid, to keep track of their used letters

When Person B has finished, it's their turn to think of a word, for Person A to guess

Excel word guess game card with guesses

Hidden Treasures Game

Here's another little Excel game that I created, with children in mind - Treasure Hunt. It's set up in a grid, similar to bingo, but you choose numbers, instead of waiting for the numbers to be called.

The main worksheet has 25 dark green cells, invisibly numbered 1 to 25. Some of the cells have a flower (good) and some have a raindrop (bad).

How to Play Treasure Hunt

  • Type a number, between 1 and 25, in each of the blue cells, to reveal the hidden items in those numbered cells.
  • Your score — the number of “good” items that you found — appears below the green grid.
  • To clear the blue cells, and scramble the hidden items, click the New Game button.

In the screen shot below, the Flower Hunt version is showing, but there are 4 themes to choose from - Treasure Hunt, Flower Hunt, Vacation Hunt and Smile Hunt.

To change the theme, click the data validation drop down arrow at the top left of the worksheet, and click on a game name to select it.

Excel treasure hunt game

On my Contextures blog, there are details on how I built the game, and how it works. There are instructions for changing some parts of the game, such as:

  • messages that show at the bottom of the game
  • number of "good" cells in the game grid.

Excel Function Personality Game

If you’ve been anywhere online in the past decade, you’ve probably seen those personality quizzes, such as Which Star Wars Character Are You?

If you've enjoyed those games, there's good news - now you can play a new game – Which Excel Function Are You? This screen shot shows the first question from the quiz, and I'm clicking on a radio button, to select my answer.

Excel function personality quiz

To see all the questions, and to take the quiz, get this Excel file in the download section, at the bottom of this page.

After you download the file, you can add more questions, or select different functions, to create your own quiz. Or, use this structure to create a completely different type of quiz!

On my Contextures blog, there are details on how I built the game, and how it works. That might help you get started, if you want to make changes to the workbook

Excel Concentration Game

Working with Excel can require extended periods of concentration. So, by the end of a longday, you might want a change of pace.

How about a game of Concentration in Excel? Doug Glancy, from the YourSumBuddy site, created a version of this classic card game (some people call it the Memory game), and you can can get a copy in the download section at the end of this page.

Here's what Doug says about creating this game:

  • One of my first Excel VBA programming fun projects was to write one for my daughter and I to play. It had multiple decks, 3 user modes and “animated” cards (the pairs moved across the screen to a pile when correctly selected). Somewhat fun to play, and a great learning experience

When the file opens, be sure to enable the macros, so the game will run. There’s one worksheet, with a button that you click to start the game.

Next, the game starts, with a deck of cards, turned face down. You select two cards and try to choose matching pictures. The game records the number of clicks, a timer keeps track of the seconds used, and the match count. I am very bad at this game!

There are game options, including number of players, and type of card.

Excel concentration game

How It Works

Doug’s concentration game is built on a UserForm. In the sample file you can see all the code that makes it operate.

Note: It took me a couple of minutes to find the sets of cards – one for mammals and one for birds. They’re to the right of the visible area on the UserForm.

Excel Timeline Game

For this game, the party host chooses timeline items ahead of time, using the Excel file. This example uses Christmas traditions, and the players guess where each one belongs on the timeline.

You can download the file, and put in a different timeline list, such as world events, important inventions, when popular toys/products were released, or the years that famous companies started.

List of Christmas Traditions

In the sample file that you can download, there are detailed steps on how to play the game. There's also an example sheet that you can show the players, before the game begins.

For the sample game, there's a list of fake Christmas traditions, that the host would read out. After each item is read, players put the item's code word on the timeline, using their best guesses!

Christmas tradition list

Play the Timeline Game

This screen shot shows one player's completed game sheet, with the codes for the fake traditions.

  • At the end of the game, the host reads the list in its correct order, and players mark their timeline.
  • There are scoring instructions in the Excel file, OR you can just play for fun, and not bother with scoring!

Christmas tradition game sheet

Get the Excel Timeline Game

Christmas Traditions: Click this link to download the Christmas Traditions timeline game workbook. The zipped file is in xlsx format, and does not contain any macros.

Hidden Games in Excel

In the early versions the early versions of some Microsoft products, including Excel, there were hidden features called Easter Eggs.

Microsoft stopped adding Easter Eggs to its products in 2002, and you can see the full list of hidden goodies in this Wikipedia Easter Egg article.

Excel for Mac Version 1.0

Did you know that there was an Easter Egg hidden in Excel for Mac Version 1.0?

To activate the Easter Egg, you had to do the following steps:

  • Go to cell IV16384
  • Then, press Shift+Command+J.
  • Nex, a Find window appeared
  • Drag inside the "Find What" text box, to scroll across a list of the Excel developer names.

Ah, the good old days!

Hall of Tortured Souls YouTube comment Ross Comer

Excel 95 Hall of Tortured Souls

For example, in Excel 95, there was a hidden first-person shooter game, similar to Doom, called "Hall of Tortured Souls". It had different rooms to explore, where you found the names and faces of the program's developers.

You can see a dizzying video of this Easter Egg in this video, on the FlyTech Videos YouTube channel.

Fun Facts

In the comments, someone claimed that Easter Eggs were added to increase the program's size:

  • "This actually comes from Microsoft's belief, at the time, that people would think an application wasn't worth much if it didn't take up much space on their system. Thus easter eggs like this were encouraged to bloat the application size."

However, in replying comment, former Excel developer, Ross Comer, said that was incorrect -- the Easter Eggs were only added as a fun feature.

Hall of Tortured Souls YouTube comment Ross Comer

I did a bit of searching, to verify that Ross Comer was really on the Excel team, and there are 5 Excel patents granted, with his name as an inventor, from 1998 to 2006. So, it seems legitimate!

And this 2011 Microsoft Bing blog post says Ross owned the AutoCorrect and AutoComplete features in Excel 5:

  • Ross Comer has had almost 20 years of experience at Microsoft.  He started on the Excel 5 development team where he owned such features as AutoCorrect (teh -> the) and AutoComplete (type Banana, press B, and Excel completes the word Banana).

Excel 97 Flight Simulator

In the next version, Excel 97, there was the most famous Excel Easter Egg, the flight simulator. This screen shot shows the names of some Charting Testers on the Excel 97 development team.

Excel Flight Simulator

You can see a choppy recording of that built-in game in this YouTube video, on the Tom.K YouTube channel.

Excel 2000 Dev Hunter

The last hidden game was in Excel 2000, and it was called Dev Hunter, similar to the arcade game, Spy Hunter. Running that game was more complicated than the previous Excel Easter Eggs. You needed to install Web Components to run that game, and go to cell WC2000 on the Excel sheet, to get the game started.

You used the keyboard to steer your car down a road, while shooting, spilling oil, and turning the car lights on and off. And if you hear the boss headed toward your desk, press Esc, to quit the game. Fun!

  • Fun Fact: The road is filled with names of developers and testers who worked on Excel 2000, and one of the Pivot Table testers was named Debra!

Excel Dev Hunter game names

You can see a short clip of Dev Hunger in this short video, on the RicoElectrico YouTube channel.

Excel Functions Word Search Puzzle

For your amusement, here’s a word search puzzle that’s filled with the names of Excel worksheet functions.

You can print out copies for all of your co-workers, and use it as an ice breaker at your next finance meeting!

The sample workbook has the printable Excel Function Word Search, and an answer key sheet.

Excel Dev Hunter game names

How to Create the Word Search

If you want to create your own Excel word search, here’s what I did:

  • First, I made a list of Excel functions in Notepad
  • I saved that list in text format (txt)
  • Next, I went to the Armored Penguin site
  • To import my Excel function list on that page, I scrolled down, and clicked the Browse button
  • In the Browse window, I found my Excel function list file, and uploaded it.
  • After that, I filled in the rest of the form, and clicked the Make Puzzle button.
  • The puzzle was created in a few seconds, and I copied the result into Excel.

More Excel Games

Here are a few more Excel games that you can check out.

Civilization Game in Excel

On YouTube, s0lly posted a trailer for a game that he created in Excel. It’s based on the old game, Civilization, and this version is called [Cell]ivization.

Wouldn’t you love to have a catapult or two in some of your spreadsheets?

Take a look at some of s0lly’s other Excel videos too, on his YouTube channel.

S0lly says that the game is “very light on features (basically just build units and attack the opposition)”, but S0llyplans to add more features, if people are interested.

Excel Monopoly

I found two versions of an Excel Monopoly game, created by Andrew Werner.

  1. This link takes you to his original article, with a download link for the first version of his Monopoly game.
  2. This link takes you to his later article, with a download link for the updated version of his game.

Excel Battleship

Andrew Engwirda has several Excel games on his site, including Battleship and a Word Search puzzle.

Update: The Battleship game is in an older Excel format (xls), and didn't work properly when I tried it

Excel Hangman Game

Have fun with this word guessing game - Hangman by Dick Kusleika

Blackjack Card Game

Ken Puls created a Blackjack game in Excel, that you can download from his site.

Excel Blackjack game

Andy Pope Excel Games

Next, see the games that Andy Pope has on his website. There’s a Suduko game, Mastermind, and several others.

For example, here's a screen shot of Andy's Excel-based Jawbreak game. The game is built on a UserForm, with a button on the worksheet to start the game.

Excel Jawbreak game

The object is to clear all the balls from the screen, by selecting and deleting matching balls. Remaining balls drop down to fill in the gaps, and when you clean an entire column, the other columns will shift left.

I enjoyed the game, which is simple to play, but takes a bit of thinking to plan your moves. It keeps a list of high scores, so you can try to beat your previous best high score.

You can download the Excel Jawbreak game from Andy’s website. While you’re there, take a few minutes to look at some of the other brilliant things that Andy has done.

Reddit Spreadsheet Games

There are several Excel games listed in this Excel Wiki on Reddit, including Tetris, Scrabble and CellSweeper.

More Excel Game Links

There are links to more Excel games in the following posts on my Contextures Blog:

Fun and Games with Excel

Take a Break with Excel Games

Excel Treasure Hunt

Get Sample Files

Concentration Game: Get the memory card game by Doug Clancy, and test your concentration skills! The zipped file is in xlsm format, and contains macros.

Word Guess Game Cards: Get the Word Guess game cards workbook, , then print out the word grid cards. The zipped file is in xlsx format, and does not contain any macros.

Treasure Hunt Game: To enjoy some Excel treasure hunting, you can download the sample file: Excel Treasure Hunt Game. It’s a zipped file, in xlsm format. For the New Game button to work, you’ll have to enable macros. The Hunt sheet is protected, with no password.

Excel Function Word Search -- Download this Excel Function word seach game, then print it out, and use it as an ice breaker at your next meeting. The workbook has the printable Excel Function Word Search, and an answer key sheet.

Which Excel Function Are You?:- Get this Excel function personality quiz, then answer survey questions with option buttons, to find out which Excel function you are. The zipped file is in xlsx format, and does not contain any macros.

More Tutorials

Excel Treasure Hunt Game

Excel Printing Tips

RAND Function

INDEX and MATCH

 

 

Last updated: July 9, 2024 3:59 PM