Computer requirements

Does Crossword Compiler work on Windows 11?

Yes, Crossword Compiler 11 is fully compatible with Windows 7, 8, 10 and 11 (desktop or laptop, also running on Windows 11 ARM and under Parallels on Mac).

Are there any particular system requirements?

No, the program should run fine on any computer that can run Windows. Advanced filling features will be faster if you have a more modern CPU with more cores, but it will work fine anyway.

Windows gives a warning or blocks me when trying to install the program - what to do?

Windows may give a security warning about installing any third-party software, this is normal so you can proceed anyway.

If Windows SmartScreen gives a warning about an "unrecognized app", go to Start > Settings > Update and Security. Navigate to Windows Defender and click Open Windows Defender Security Center. Click the App and browser control section, scroll down, find Check apps and files and turn it off.

If it does not give you an option to proceed, you may be running windows in a protected "S mode", where it does not allow installing any third-party software. To install the program you just need to first turn "S mode" off - see the instructions here.

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 Windows running in a virtual machine. If you have a new Apple Silicon Mac (or an older Intel Mac), you can use the latest version of Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion or the free Virtual Box. Parallels with a new Macs is known to work very well (running Crossword Compiler Windows 11 ARM). You can get free Windows virtual machines to try from Microsoft. It is also possible to run Windows on the cloud from your Mac in a web browser. See Windows 365 Cloud PCs for heavy usage, or try out and pay by the hour e.g. with AppOnFly.

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 be solved online on iPads and other tablets.

Purchasing Crossword Compiler

Do you accept purchase orders?

Yes, our order processing company MyCommerce accepts purchase orders from business clients. Please see the ordering page and on the basket page select the non-PayPal payment option. There will then be an option to select Purchase Order payment method and upload your order.

Can I pay by electronic transfer?

Yes, please see the ordering page one of the (non-PayPal) 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?

Subscriptions include all upgrades while the subscription is active. If you made a one-time purchase minor updates are free for one year and can be downloaded from the users' page.

How long does delivery take?

You can order online and download 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.

What about customer support?

This is available by e-mail, questions are usually answered within a day. You can also press F1 at any time in the program to see relevant help, and view a number of video tutorials.

How do I manage my subscription?

You will be sent a reminder a week or two before any subscription auto-renewals. Most purchases are handled by MyCommerce, their site allows you to cancel auto-renewals or change payment method. Request login details on their Get Login page. Note that your login User ID may be a combination of your email address and a number, not just your email address; the User ID for each purchase is also listed in your original order notification email. If you are in the UK and paid by PayPal, you can manage your subscription by logging in to PayPal.


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 website. You can have as many crosswords as you like on that website, 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 websites 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?

Yes, we offer a Business Bundle which includes a re-brandable applet licensed for one site. See the ordering page..

How does the quota for AI clue/theme word generation work?

You currently get a fixed generation quota per subscription year (larger with the Pro version). Whenever you use the Generate Clues feature it will tell you approximately how many generations of the same number of clues are left. The quota should be enough to make many puzzles, but if needed you can also purchase additional tokens.

Lost programs

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

Probably if you have an active subscription or purchased recently, see the re-download request page. if you make a one-off purchase, you should make your own backups.

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.

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. This is demonstrated in the video tutorial on importing.

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.

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.

Can I import my own list of words and clues?

Yes, you can import a `CSV' format file of words and clues, e.g. as saved by any spreadsheet program, see the option on the Menu button in the Clue Database Manager on the Clue menu. The import options and procedure to import from an Excel file are demonstrated in this video tutorial.

Help, I accidentally deleted a word list, how do I get it back?

You should be able to recover the list from your Windows recycle bin. You can also use "Undo/Revert Changes" in the Word List Manager's Word List menu to view file history and recover.

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. There's a video tutorial on the various types of themed fill you can do.

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. There's a video tutorial on scoring if you want to change or manipulate scores yourself.

Can I make number-fill puzzles?

Yes, there's no specific support, but they can be made quite easily. To fill a grid with random numbers open the blank grid, use Clue Properties-> Language Specifics to change the Alphabet to "0123456789". Then use Fill Random Letters on the grid menu. You may get some numbers starting with 0, but could manually tweak them if you don't want that. Fill-in words (numbers here) can then be printed or exported as normal.

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/PDF for review" on the File menu (there is a convenient button "Set for review" to set common settings for submissions). You can configure alignment and spacing by changing the settings under Printout in Clue Properties on the Clue menu. You may also find the getting started PDF 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 for mostly-US puzzles.

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

Yes. When you've finished the grid using "Print/PDF for review" on the file menu to print "clues with answers". 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 (e.g. with clues wrapping around the grid).

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. For more examples see the video tutorial.

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 website is more complicated. To implement the Submit feature you need to write and install your own processing scripts on your web server.

The solving applet works on my computer, but not when I upload it to my website. 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 on your website are the same case as on your local machine (website file names are case-sensitive). If you are using a WordPress site, use the plugin.

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 or the video tutorial.

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

For a vocabulary puzzle, simply start a new puzzle in the same session, then instead of re-using the same word list as it is, use the Action button option "Remove words used in last fill(s)", which will remove words you used in the previous puzzles. This is demonstrated in the video tutorial on vocabulary puzzles.

For filling grids from a word list, 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 from the same word list. To avoid repeating words altogether you can change the scores to a value below the cutoff - e.g. change scores of used words to 1. For more information about word scoring see the help file or the video tutorial.

Finally, if you are making a vocabulary puzzle or word search from a clue database, the Options tab has an option to avoid clues that have been date-stamped recently. By adding clues to your clue database with a date stamp each time you complete a puzzle, you can use this option to avoid repeating clues in future puzzles.

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