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Family Tree Word Search Template

Instructions to create your own word search using Microsoft Excel.

Part 1 – Setting up the grid in Microsoft Excel

1) Open up Microsoft Excel to a new worksheet.

2) Determine the size of the word search puzzle you would like. A width of 15 characters wide by 15 characters high would be good for a basic family word search.

3) Set the column width to 2.5 for as many columns as the width you have chosen.

4) Use the draw border tool to draw a full border around the width and the height you’ve chosen.

Part 2 – Start with a randomized distribution of letters in the grid.

Option 1:

You can choose to just randomly type in letters into the grid. This can take a little while but is certainly effective.

Option 2:

Use Excel to create a random distribution of letters within the grid. There are several ways you can do this using Excel’s formulas. Here’s one which works.

1) Make a second grid of the same size to the right of the grid you created in part 1.

2) In each cell, copy in the formula “=ROUNDDOWN(RAND()*26+1,0)”. Note: This will create a random number from 1 – 26.

3) To the right of this grid of random number make a 2 column table of ;

1 A
2 B
3 C
… …
25 Y
26 Z

4) Finally in the original grid use Excel’s lookup function to put in a letter. The formula “=LOOKUP(AB1,$BC$1:$BD$26)” was used in a grid 26 * 26 in our family tree word search puzzles.

Part 3 – Putting the words to find in the word search puzzle

At this point, your word search puzzle should be filled in with random letters.
1) Now you can determine what words to add into your word search. There are many different themes to try. Here are a few ideas for words;
• Your surname and your ancestor’s surname
• Your forename and your ancestors forename
• Places your family and your ancestors have lived (towns, cities, states, countries)
• Places of origin of your ancestors

2) Once you decide on the words to use you, just start typing them into the grid (up words, down words, sideways, back words).

3) Put the word in alphabetical order at the bottom of the word search

4) If you don’t want the word search to randomly recalculate the letters every time. You can copy the main grid, the use Excel’s special paste and paste only the values.

Part 4 – The final product

Print out the main grid and the words to find and have fun.