Guide to puzzlehunting in Google Sheets
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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
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SHEETS
USEFUL SHORTCUTS
⌘ = Ctrl and Option = Alt
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Look down at the bottom of this page. See those tabs? Those are different sheets. If you want to test out a puzzling theory,
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but don't want to muck up your current progress, duplicate the current sheet, name it "<your name> copy" or something
Copy and PasteRows & Columns
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and try it out on the new sheet. If someone is referring to progress in a chat, but you don't see it, it might be on a different sheet.
⌘ + CCopy, duh
Highlight N rows/cols, right click, Insert N rows/cols
Inserting multiple rows/columns
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⌘ + VPaste, duhHighlight N rows/cols, right click, ResizeResizing rows/columns
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FORMATTING CONVENTIONS
⌘ + Shift + VPaste values onlyHighlight N rows/cols, right click, HideHide rows/columns
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LONGHORN
Use UPPERCASE and fixed-width fonts for short strings of data, like crossword clue answers.
⌘ + Option + V
Paste formatting only
Data → Split text to columnsSplit text by delimiter
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LONGHORN
Color answers that have been confirmed or used in some way (such as being added to a grid)
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longhorn ?
Use lowercase or single question marks for answers you are unsure about
MiscellaneousMovement/Selection
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LONG????
Use question marks or asterisks to denote partial knowledge of certain letters
⌘ + KInsert linkArrow (↑↓→←) | PgUp | PgDown | Home | EndMove cursor along direction (Home/End is ←/→)
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Prepend numeric-looking data with a single quote if you want Google Sheets to treat it as raw text
⌘ + DFill down⌘ + ArrowMove cursor to furthest non-empty cell
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⌘ + RFill right
Shift + [Arrow|⌘+Arrow|PgUp|PgDown|Home|End]
Select multiple (along movement)
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FORMULAS⌘ + \Clear formatting⌘ + ClickSelect multiple, noncontiguous cells
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Google Sheets provides a fairly powerful language for manipulating sheet data. We've listed some common patterns below, but
Option + EnterOpen link
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if you need to do something more advanced and are not sure how, consult Andrew He.
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CHAT
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=MID(A1, B1, 1)
Index B1 into A1
When there are multiple people viewing a Google Sheet, a chat panel will pop up on the right side of the screen.
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=SUBSTITUTE(A1, " ", "")
Remove spaces
THIS CHAT DOES NOT SAVE HISTORY, so if someone says something important, make sure it appears either on
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=UPPER(A1)
Convert to uppercase
the sheet itself or a corresponding Discord channel. Furthermore, if you are not the owner of the sheet, Google Sheets will
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=CHAR(A1 + 64)
Convert number to letter (A = 1, B = 2...)
by default display you as an anonymous animal. This is not very useful for conversing. To rectify this, SHARE THE SHEET
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=CODE(A1) - 64
Convert letter to number (1 = A, 2 = B...)
with yourself (a gmail address) and then re-open it.
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NOTES AND COMMENTS
IMAGES
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Right-clicking on a cell allows you to insert a note or insert a comment. In general you should prefer notes to comments. Comments
If the puzzle includes pictures, or elements that are not easily transcribed, take a screenshot and include it in the sheet as an image.
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notify the owner of the sheet via email, can be replied to and resolved, and are kept track of at the bottom of the page in front
Insert → Image → File from computer / link
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of the name of the sheet. None of these features are desirable in the context of puzzle solving.
Resize and move around the image to an appropriate size and location.
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This cell has a comment
This cell has a note
EXAMPLES
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VERSION HISTORY
PuzzleSheetFeatures:
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Google Sheets sometimes bugs out, especially when multiple people are making simultaneous edits. (Transactions are hard...)
Changing Roomssheet
grids, notes, crossword clues, heavy formatting
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If you've suddenly found that all your progress is gone, and can't identify who needs to Ctrl + Z to get it back, never fear!
Senior Superlatives
sheetindexing, formulas, data collection, images
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Simply ask everyone to stop making changes, and then dig through the version history (File → Version History) to restore your work.
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