I'm a fan of sudoku, nonogram, and other various grid logic puzzles. I really liked to see something like this and this. But to post such a puzzle (or a solution to such a puzzle), I need to draw them. And I want them to be nice to see and use.

How do you draw such puzzles (and partial solutions)? Do you have any tools to help you draw such a nice-looking grid puzzles? Even better would be a tool that is not restricted to square grids, and can also draw hexagonal/triangular grids like this. And if you know Slitherlink / Tapa / Masyu / Yajilin / Star Battle / Spiral Galaxies... the ability to add various markers in the cell and borders would be really nice too.


3 Answers 3


As Bobble mentioned, Google Sheets is a very good tool for this kind of thing. Some tips if you use it:

  • Cells' heights are one pixel smaller than they say. So, with the default height of 21, if you want to make square cells you'll want your width to be 20.
  • With text packed too tightly, any border thickness of more than one pixel will make the heights stretch. This is fixable by going to a larger size or just sticking to single-pixel borders.
  • The "view" tab has an option to disable grid lines per-sheet.
  • Conditional formatting is very helpful, both for creating and solving.

Some other tools I use are:

  • puzz.link: Has editors for a wide variety of puzzle types, with a very nice solve interface as well! Works great for creating 'vanilla' logic puzzles.
  • penpa: A more general-purpose interface that lets you add puzzle elements from nearly every type of logic puzzle you can think of. Difficult to use at first, but very versatile. It also supports hex, triangle, staggered square, and "three faces of a cube" grids.
  • an image editor: I specifically use Paint.NET, but any modern image editor will probably work. For the puzzles you linked, I just drew things in the editor, copied them so they were pixel-precise, then upscaled by a factor of 4. (And in the case of the Heyacrazy, I drew the diagonal lines afterwards.)

For square grid puzzles, I use the cutting-edge invention known as Google Sheets. I open the puzzle and the Sheets in side-by-side windows, and then copy the grids into my Sheets. Sheets lets you resize cells (I usually do 25px width), fill in cells with color & text, and adjust borders. Usually that's all you need. I save intermediate steps with screenshots.

For non-square grid puzzles I use an image editor. The key things this image editor needs are:

  • the ability to save intermediate pictures/steps
  • a paint-bucket/fill-in tool
  • a line tool - freehand & straight
  • an arrow tool
  • a circle or rectangle tool

The first step is to grab the initial-state picture given by the setter. Usually you can just download their image, but sometimes it is better to screenshot it. Then you can start solving! Here's what those key things listed above do, respectively:

  • save pictures of key moments or checkpoints of the puzzle (for doing a write-up later)
  • color a grid cell
  • write in cells (freehand) and connect cells + make a border bolder (straight)
  • point to where a key deduction is made
  • highlight a certain area of the puzzle

If you need something else, such as a certain shape to mark cells/borders, you have two options. Either draw that shape using whatever shape tools the image editor has, or find a transparent picture on the internet and copy that into your larger picture.


Not an answer, but:

I'll tell you what isn't advisable as far as posting a solution... (from my recent experience in your first link). Don't just copy the image and open it in GIMP (or any other image editor), and then solve it on a series of transparent layers!

Why? Because if you are me (or anything like me) then you will post your answer as a sequence of images with huge gaps in your logic. Then spend the rest of the day trying to find the accidental mistakes where you solved pieces on the wrong layer and re-exporting every missing step.

(Mostly posted to show that something can be pretty... but also pretty silly...)


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .