Word searches are fun!! I did spend some hours looking up research articles on the educational benefits of word searches. While they are fun for students, circling words does not have a lot of benefits in terms of learning. BUT sometimes we do things just for fun, so I have a way to generate your own Word Search.
Copy the Template
I coded a Google Sheets spreadsheet to allow you to create word searches. Notice you are making a copy so this is now your spreadsheet and your code. Later, when you authorize the code it will say you did not submit the Add-on to Google, of course you didn’t! You’re just using it for yourself and you’re authorizing yourself access to your own Google Drive apps.
Get Your Word List
The first thing you need when creating a word search is a list of words. I found this website with a collection of 4th of July words. Delete the sample word list in column B and replace it with the words you want. Notice the spreadsheet will automatically space out each letter for you. NO SPACEBARS! Notice I entered Fourth of July as fourthofjuly.
Word Search Menu
Use the “Make Word Search” menu next to Help menu to choose “Create Puzzle.”
This will randomly place your words on the 25 by 25 grid.
Test for Errors
When randomly placing the letters on the grid the words might “eat” other words accidentally. The Add-on tries to identify when this is happening and creates a list on the right hand side. Use the menu to choose “Test for errors” to identify words that were “messed up.” Note: this is not foolproof. You may want to double check that all the words are on the answer key correctly.
Place the Words
For the words that did not place correctly you will want to manually place them on the 25 by 25 grid. Tip: Make some diagonal or backwards if you want!
Choose “Update puzzle” from the menu to add the manually placed words to the puzzle grid. Notice the tabs at the bottom which indicate list, puzzle, and answer key.
If you are going to print the Word Search use the menu to select “Print Puzzle.” Use Control P to launch the print options.
Change to portrait.
The default is landscape, you will want to change to portrait before printing.
Copy Puzzle to New Spreadsheet
If you want students to fill out the puzzle digitally, choose the option to copy the puzzle to a new spreadsheet. This will export the puzzle and you can find it in Google Drive.