You are probably already familiar with word search puzzles. They are puzzles that consist of a grid of letters arranged in rows and columns. If you just glance at them, they appear as if the letters are completely randomly chosen. However, a closer look will reveal that there are words hidden within the grid. The goal of the puzzle is to find all the hidden words – they can start at any point in the grid, and can be orientated in any direction whatsoever, not just horizontally and vertically, but including diagonally, and backwards directions such as right-to-left.
Word search puzzles can be enjoyed by people of all ages. They can be themed around any subject whatsoever – simply by choosing the type of words to conceal in the grid. And, the level of difficulty can easily be varied, by giving or not giving the solver a list of words to look for, by varying the size of the grid, and in puzzles intended for younger children, by avoiding hard-to-spot word directions such as backwards or diagonal directions. This flexibility makes them very well suited for magazine and newsletter publishers, and also means that they can easily be used as an educational tool (children can be introduced to new words, and also help learn the spelling of words they already know).
Creating your own word search puzzle of course involves fitting words together into a grid. If you try it using a pen and paper, you will soon discover this is no easy task and requires a lot of trial and error. However, this is the kind of thing that computers excel at. If you use a PC and some word search generator software, you can make a new original puzzle in just a few minutes.