Computer requirements

Does Crossword Compiler work on Windows 10?

Yes, Crossword Compiler 10 is fully compatible with Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10 (desktop/laptop).

Are there any particular system requirements?

No, the program should run fine on any computer that can run Windows.

Is there a Macintosh version of Crossword Compiler or WordWeb?

The program only runs on Microsoft Windows. However you can run the program on a Mac if you have a Windows running in a virtual machine (such as Virtual Box, VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop): this works very well, almost as fast as running it on a Windows machine. VirtualBox is free, and you can get free Windows virtual machines to try from Microsoft (or buy a second-hand Windows CD on e.g. eBay).

Can I use it on my iPad or tablet?

Crossword Compiler can only run on Windows desktop/laptop or tablets to make puzzles (or in a Virtual Machine). However interactive web puzzles that you create with Crossword Compiler can certainly be solved online on iPads and other tablets.

Purchasing Crossword Compiler

Can I pay by electronic transfer?

Yes, please see the ordering page, and on the basket page chose the non-PayPal payment option: one of the payment options is then wire transfer - you will be given the bank details after filling in the order form online.

What is your upgrade policy?

Minor upgrades are free and can be downloaded from the users' page. Major upgrades are generally about half the full price; none are planned at the moment.

How long does delivery take?

You can order online and download immediately if you need the program immediately - the download instructions are sent to your e-mail address as soon as you've completed the order (except in unusual cases where extra security checks are required). See the Ordering page for details. We no longer offer CDs/DVDs; you can if you wish copy the downloaded installation files to a disk for backup/transfer to an offline machine.

What about customer support?

This is available by e-mail, or use the discussion board. E-mail questions are usually answered within a day.


Can I install to my laptop as well?

If you have a main computer and a laptop, a single user license may be installed on both as long as no-one else uses either computer.

How does the solving applet licensing work?

The program comes licensed to use the solving applet on one web site. You can have as many crosswords as you like on that web site, and as many people as you like solving them. You can buy additional program licenses if you want to make crosswords for other sites. Alternatively you can buy a multi-user license, where the number of "users" is the number of web sites on which you wish to use the applet. Read the license.

Are there copyright notices that I would need to include on puzzles created with Crossword Compiler?

No, copyright on puzzles you create with the program is all yours. (But see the next question).

Can I get rid of the copyright notice on the interactive crossword applet?

No, though a customized version are possible. See the Custom Applet ordering page for standard customizations, or contact us with your requirements.

Lost programs

I had a hard drive failure - can you help me?

Probably, see the re-download request page.

Can I install the upgrade on my new computer, even though I lost the old version?

If you have received an upgrade notification email, you can order the upgrade through the personalized link provided. You will then be able to download and do a full new installation of the latest version, no need to install the old version first.

Word Lists and clue databases

Is there any limit on the size of word lists?

For all practical purposes, no.

Which countries' spellings are in the default word list?

When you install the program there is an option to use British, American, Canadian or Australasian English.

I already have a list of words. Can I use it with Crossword Compiler?

Yes, you can convert any plain text list of words for use with Crossword Compiler. Very short lists of words can also be used directly for making word searches and vocabulary puzzles. See the Word List Manager on the words menu and corresponding help topics.

Does the program come with a database of clues?

Yes, a sample American clue database is supplied. You can also create your own databases or use WordWeb Pro to quickly find definitions or synonyms.

How do I convert a plain text word list into a Crossword Compiler list?

Select the Word List Manager from the Words menu and select an option from the Convert menu.

How do I avoid vulgar words?

When using the default word list you can avoid vulgar words altogether by setting the minimum word score for grid filling and word finding to a number between 11 and 25 - all the vulgar words in the Default word list have a score of 10. You can change the minimum word score under Change List Usage on the Words menu, or for grid filling by selecting Fill Grid from the Words menu. When making a word search puzzle you can set a blacklist of words to avoid - see the Options tab in the Create Wordsearch Puzzle window.

Filling grids

Can I put theme words in the grid and then get Crossword Compiler to fill around them with non-theme words?

Yes, the Pro Grid Filler comes with a feature to find a grid to fit a small number of chosen theme words. You can also type words directly into the grid and then fill around them (though if you put too many theme words in the grid it is unlikely that it will be possible to find a fill). You can also create a themed puzzle using two word lists, one for the theme and one for surrounding words - use Fill Grid on the Words menu.

Does your program keep obscure words and abbreviations to a minimum?

Yes. The default word list gives a score to each word. The grid filling algorithm tries to use more of the higher scoring words. You can also set a cut-off to avoid obscure words altogether - see the settings under Fill Grid on the Words menu.

Export and printing

Several crossword markets still require "paper" submissions. Is there any way that the Crossword Compiler can output clues AND answers (side by side)?

Yes. Select Clues With Answers under Print on the File menu. You can configure exactly how it appears by changing the settings under Printout in Clue Properties on the Clue menu. You may also find the getting started guide and tutorials useful.

How do I go about submitting crosswords to newspapers?

Have a look at the Cruciverb-L web site. There are some submission guidelines there.

Can I print out a hard copy of the answers to use when writing clues?

Yes. When you've finished the grid print out "clues with answers", and the clues will be printed out with a space for writing each clue.

How do I change the way the grid and clues print out?

There are various options under Print on the File menu. The size of the grid will depend on the settings under Grid Properties (Grid menu), and the clue font can be changed on the Clue menu. You can change the spacing for printing clues with answers under Clue Properties, Printout, on the Clue menu. You can use the Print/Export Worksheet feature (File menu) to automatically fit everything on one page.

Printing clues with answers how do I put spaces in multi-word answers?

Use the Word Format entry in the Clue Editor. If you create cryptic clues this is what appears in brackets after the clue to indicate the solution length. For example, to make "pregnant pause" appear correctly the format should be "8,5". You can also type a space into the solution word in the clue editor. If you use a supplied word list or WordWeb Pro most words should be formatted automatically for you.

Other questions

Is there a way to clear a word slot without deleting it letter by letter?

Yes, put the cursor somewhere in the word and press Shift+Delete. This will delete all the letters in the word except for those that are part of intersecting words.

How do I put long dashes in clues?

In the Clue Editor right click on the clue and select Insert Symbol from the menu that pops up. There are various similar special characters that you can insert. The keyboard shortcuts are listed on the menu.

I want to use the Submit button in the solving applet. How?

The web hosting account automatically supports the Submit button. Using the Submit button on your own web site is more complicated. To implement the Submit feature you need to install a CGI script on your web server.

The solving applet works on my computer, but not when I upload it to my web site. What's wrong?

Make sure that you have uploaded all the files listed when you exported the puzzle (When you export these are automatically copied to the same folder). Check that the file names one your web site are the same case as on your local machine (web site file names are case sensitive).

How do I save my settings?

The options set under Preferences on the Options menu affect all the crosswords you create. However, most other settings apply only to the current crossword. To change the settings that are used when you create a new crossword, you need to create a new (or replace an existing) template. Look in the help index under Templates for more information.

How do I avoiding words I've used before in previous puzzles?

Select the "Change scores of words in puzzle" option on the Words menu when you have completed a puzzle. This feature lets you lower the score of the words in the puzzle so that they are less likely to be used the next time you create a puzzle. To avoid repeating words altogether you can change the scores to a value below the cutoff - e.g. nine. For more information about word scoring see the help file.

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