Whirlwind WordSearch
Wild Word Search Maker

Available for Macintosh
Intel or Apple Silicon, MacOS 10.12 or newer


Overview Intro Video Pricing & Download Features What's New Examples Screen Shots Testimonials/Publications Help/FAQ/More... Future Press Kit Contact
 

Overview: What is "Whirlwind WordSearch"?

Whirlwind WordSearch is a Macintosh software application that lets you create customized word-search puzzles from your own lists of words.

Choose different sizes and shapes, difficulty levels, colors and fonts, even different languages.


Myriad Shapes and Sizes

You can choose from many built-in puzzle shapes, and the puzzles can range in size from as small as 4 letters across and down, all the way up to 50 by 50 letters.



Powerful and Easy-to-Use

Whirlwind WordSearch creates engaging word search puzzles from your own lists of words... in many different languages! You will be building and printing professional-looking puzzles right away.



Tough Love

It is not just a pretty puzzle though, underneath is a powerful puzzle-generator. You can instantly change the "Difficulty to Solve" setting to create easy, difficult, or diabolical puzzles. Or switch to Advanced Difficulty mode, and fine-tune the puzzle exactly the way you want.



Publish your Own!

You can export high-quality puzzle and answer images for the web, or into your own word processor for re-printing in books, newsletters, social media/blogs, or classroom handouts.

Any randomly-created "naughty words" are automatically detected and removed (in all supported languages), offering classroom-safe puzzles.



Lights Out

Dark Mode is easy on the eyes.



Features Galore

Hide secret messages within the puzzle, prompt with clues instead of the words, Instant Naughty-word elimination in all languages, and so much more...

All of this for one price... no monthly fees, no extra upgrade costs. Ever.



Your Questions are Covered

There is always the comprehensive user guide, with tutorials, tips, and an explanation for every item on every screen.


 

Intro Video

 

Pricing & Download

Full Software

Lite Software

User Guide

$19.99 USD

Click below to download from the App Store:



All future updates are free.

Free

Click below to download the free version from the App Store:



or, click the icon below to download directly from my web site:


Do you wish to try it first before you buy it? You can download and use this "Lite" version of the application for free.

Free

Click below to download the 40+ page User Guide:


If you want to look over the full user guide that comes with the software, it is separately and freely available here too (PDF document.)


Full/Lite Differences

Here are the differences between the "Full" and "Lite" software applications:

 

Features

Whirlwind WordSearch solves your puzzle-making needs with some pretty impressive features. Compare these features against ANY word-search software you are using now...

  • Easily customize your puzzles, choosing different colors, fonts, and sizes for the puzzle letters and titles. Choose to draw cell grid lines or not, or just draw an outline around the puzzle.
  • Choose from many built-in puzzle shapes: Square, Rectangle, Circle, Heart, Diamond, Bow-tie, Pinwheel, X, Plus-sign, Checkers, UL-Wedge, LL-Wedge, UR-Wedge, LR-Wedge, Square-hole, Donut, Crescent, Cross, Onion Dome, Right-Arrow, Left-Arrow, Up-Arrow, Down-Arrow, Up-Triangle, Down-Triangle, 4-Clover, Square-Peg, Round-Hole, Mushroom, Pentagon, Hexagon, Octagon, Trapezoid, Chevron-Up, Chevron-Down, Chevron-Left, Chevron-Right, 4-star, 5-star, 6-star, Oval-Easy, Oval-Up.
  • Create puzzles ranging in size from 4-by-4 up to 50-by-50 letters (that's a lot of words!)
  • Create puzzles with words in English, French, Spanish, Swedish, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese (Hiragana and Katakana), Danish, Hungarian, Romanian, Turkish, Greek, Sanskrit, Dutch, Ukrainian, Catalan, Portuguese, Czech, Welsh, and numbers too.
  • There are two difficulty modes, "Basic" and "Advanced". "Basic Difficulty Mode" lets you simply move a slider from "very easy" puzzles to "very hard" puzzles, without worrying about all the details of how it works. For more control, "Advanced Difficulty Mode" lets you control each of the fine-grained parameters yourself.
  • All created puzzles are yours to use and re-publish and make money with, no copyright restrictions or restrictive “commercial use” clauses!
  • Copy and resize the puzzles and answer keys (as PDF graphics or text) right into your own newsletters, worksheets, books, or other publications, or print them for handouts.
  • Export high-quality puzzles and answer keys to a number of different file formats for web or desktop publishing: PDF, PNG, JPEG , SVG, TEXT, IPUZ
  • Show "word clue" phrases instead of the words themselves, to make puzzles even more challenging.
  • Add a "secret message" into your puzzle, which will be inserted between your words as a secondary puzzle to solve.
  • Add "hidden words" into your puzzle that are not shown in the word list or answer key (for adding copyrights or extra credit words.)
  • Add compound-words (Blue Jay), words with apostrophes (O'Hara), or use entire phrases (May The Force Be With You).
  • Pour lots of words into your word list. Whirlwind WordSearch will automatically figure out how to make a puzzle from as many words as it can and tell you which ones it left out.
  • Supports Dark Mode and Full-Screen mode.
  • Work without a net... you never need an internet connection to create, save, and print your puzzles.
  • Save your puzzle files, and open them again later to instantly create whole new puzzles, or share them with other Whirlwind WordSearch users.
  • Comprehensive User Guide contains 50+ pages of tutorials and tips and describes every option, getting you up-to-speed right away. Advanced features are explained, helping you create high-quality and personalized puzzles.
  • Automatically finds and removes randomly-generated "naughty" words in any of your chosen languages.

 

What's New

4.6.1 - September, 2022

  • Modest re-arranging of the main window tabs, breaking the controls for the page titles out into a separate "Titles" tab now. This leaves some room for a BIG feature coming soon.
  • Updated final screen of Intro Window with new "full product software list"
  • Newly revised User Guide, increased font size a bit for easier reading.
  • Your word list is automatically "cleaned up" and updated in-place when you click "Create"... commas are turned into newlines and any empty lines between words are removed.
  • Added the ability to enter a specific font point size for the grid letters, instead of the auto-font-resizing style. You can still use the vertical centering controls with fixed font size. (thanks Jen!)
  • INCREASED font size a bit for easier reading of Word List text and of Secret Message text.
  • Added a "PRIOR" button to the intro screen
  • When you "lock in" your own SPIN (which forces the puzzle to be built with the same word layout each time you hit CREATE), there is now a warning text that displays just above the tabs that lets you know that you have turned this option on.
  • BugFix: Pasting a text word list from Microsoft Word was adding extra invisible (CR) characters and causing Whirlwind to issue a "Selected letter not allowed" error, now fixed (thanks Jen!)
  • BugFix: The "Draw only outline" feature now works correctly with square or rectangle shapes.
  • BugFix: SVG Export of Answer now correctly hides the "Secret Message" squares if you turn off "Highlight Secret Message on Answer" (Thanks Simon!)
  • BugFix: SVG Export of Answer now displays Hidden words with a light gray strikethrough, and now always shows hidden words correctly.

4.6.0 - July 14, 2022

  • Compound words can now be entered as-is with spaces instead of the underscore place-holder character! This means that your original word-lists will work as-is and will *not* need to be modified with underscores when adding to Whirlwind (one less step for you!)
  • Added a new "draw only shape outline" mode that draws the outer shape wall lines, but not inner grid-lines.
  • Added 4 new shapes: Chevron-Up, Chevron-Down, Chevron-Left, Chevron-Right.
  • Added some diacriticals to the English allowed letters, so you can now use many loan words, like façade and jalapeño. (Thanks Brad!)
  • The Secret Message printed hint at the bottom of the puzzle page now can be anything you want. There is a free-form text field to enter your own hint about what to find.
  • Exported file names can now automatically include the SPIN number that generated the puzzle in them, for easy differentiation.
  • Bumped minimum supported OS to 10.12.
  • Preview display now has two new checkboxes, "Show secret message" and "show hidden words", which let you visually show/hide these items on the PREVIEW display, without affecting your settings for the final printed answer key.
  • Added a "Copy Formatted Word List as Text" option (as a menu item and button under the word list) to export a clean text word list for easy page layout insertion. (Brad & Simon & others)
  • Many more "dirty words" are detected and removed from the random fill area, in English and several other languages. (Thanks Brad!)
  • BugFix: Checkboxes under the Word List are now consistent sizes. (Thanks Brad!)
  • BugFix: When exporting a puzzle or answer to PDF/PNG by using the keyboard shortcut instead of the File menu item via mouse, the highlighted preview extras (bad words/decoy words) no longer get accidentally added to the exported image. (Thanks Brad!)
  • BugFix: If you add a list of words with NO word clues, and you choose to print "word clues", it now simply prints your list of words (instead of an empty list.)

4.5.1 - June 12, 2022

  • When opening an older document that is updated/migrated, the warning dialog that appears now shows the data version of the old document to help the user know which version of Whirlwind saved it.
  • Removed the distracting tool-tip on the Preview area.
  • When words in your word list are too short or too long and you get an error message, they will now also be selected in the word list so you can find them more easily. (Thanks Roger!)
  • After you have entered your words and created a puzzle, the total # of words found is displayed under your word list, so you can insure they all got entered. (Thanks Roger!)
  • BugFix: Reading older puzzle documents into this newer software now works properly and updates the default font colors more reasonably. (Thanks Jen!)

4.5.0 - May, 2022

  • Builds puzzles much faster and better than before.
  • Title/Subtitle text is now displayed in the Preview Area and auto-updates as you change it. [Thanks Debbie]
  • New menu item to quickly set puzzle to black-and-white color scheme for printing. [Thanks Duncan]
  • New Upright-Oval Shape. [Thanks Jen]
  • Optional "Allow Duplicates" checkbox allows you to make a word search puzzle that contains the same word multiple times. [Thanks Matt]
  • Preview can now toggle between PUZZLE view and ANSWER view.
  • Better error message explanations when the puzzle cannot be built.
  • Non-English puzzles made in the "easier" difficulty modes no longer fill the puzzles with letters containing diacriticals.
  • The "Too Many Words" error message now displays about how many extra letters there are, so you know how many to remove.
  • SVG Export now supports the font size/vertical-positioning adjustments.
  • Better Italian support [Thanks Riccardo]
  • New feature to strip all diacriticals from puzzle letters, for supporting non-English language puzzle styles. [Thanks Riccardo]
  • Better arrangement of Secret Message controls.
  • SPIN text field handles non-digit text entry more nicely.
  • The Preview puzzle now floats in the center of the Preview area.
  • The Preview "extras" (Naughty Words, Dupe Words, Decoys) now display their lines on the Preview display slightly offset from each other, so they are easier to see when they overlap.
  • xxx - Many updates over the years...

    1.0 - Feb 1, 2013

    Available at the App Store!

    0.2 - Sept, 2012

    Idea formed - Wrote notes and started designing a powerful Mac word search application in C++.

    0.1 - 1982

    Wrote a simple word search program in AppleSoft BASIC

    0.0 - 1966

    First introduction to printed word search puzzles on the placemat of a Colony Kitchen restaurant.

     

    Example Puzzles and Answer Keys





    Example Exported "Answer Key" as a web "SVG" image

     

    Screen Shots


    Dark Mode is nicely supported too!
     

    User Guide - Some Example Pages

    The comprehensive user guide is over 40 pages, offering a one-page quick-start tutorial, examples of how to use its many features to get what you want, and detailed descriptions of every single setting!

    You can download the complete PDF guide for free (at the PRICING & DOWNLOAD link above) and review all the software features.

     

    Testimonials

    People are quite excited about what they can make with this software:

    • Very happy! - The software is tremendously increasing my workflow. It is creating fantastic word search puzzle for different puzzle makers with different requirments! Love it.
    • Fantastic - Thank you. From what I've seen, it's the best on the market. I like that I can keep my creations on my computer. With other software online, you don't know if the puzzles you create are captured and resold. I'd like to pay more money to have more puzzle types, like crosswords, soduko, etc. added. The attention to detail is impeccable. Thank you again.
    • Top Software - A great Tool to create puzzles. I worked with it for some time and I like especially the easy handling and the shortcuts to export the puzzles to word. Absolute Buy-Recommendation! Viele Funktionen und sehr einfach zu bedienen. Auch die Shortcuts für den Export sind sehr praktisch. Absolute Kaufempfehlung!
    • A++ Great Program Highly Recommended - was looking for a program to write word searches and decided to check the app store and was surprised to find this program. It didn’t have many reviews, but what was there was positive and it was not expensive, so I took a chance. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. The program is very easy to use. You just enter the words that you want and it creates a word search with a list of words, and it also creates a solution. You can export that in PDF format or as text. You can adjust everything- the size of the grid, whether the words are uppercae or lower, the difficulty of the puzzle, etc. Puzzles can be anywhere from very easy with just horizontal and vertical words to the most difficult puzzles, which would have words going in all directions and diagonals, crossing each other, and having the random letters throughout the grid that are similar to the letters in the search words, making it difficult to find the real search terms. I had to contact the developer to ask how to do something and he responded promptly, and I had overlooked part of the user guide. Very easy. Great price. Great service. A++
    • Perfect - I’ve been looking for a program that would let me create my own word searches for a long time and I am so happy for this one! The app works perfectly and allows for quite a bit of customization (you can even copy the word search puzzle image and the word list separatly into a word processor.) I love the different diffulty settings which control things such as how many directions the words can go in and whether or not there are randomly generated fake-outs with partial words from your list. The different shapes the puzzles can take give them a fresh, fun look. You can even include a hidden message inside the puzzle which is fun to discover. This app also has some of the best customer support I’ve ever seen. I had a problem with something and the developer emailed me back personally and quickly with multiple ways I could fix it and now everything is perfect. There is also an extensive user guide. The word searches look professional when printed, like something I would have copied from a book. I would definietly recommend this app and this developer.

    Publications

    Whirlwind WordSearch is being used all over the world, for fun and profit. Here are some places that are creating products with the software:

    (Please contact me if you want to have your product/site added to this list!)

     

    Help & FAQ & More Info

    FAQ: Here are some common questions/answers...


    Q: Can I make my own puzzle book with these puzzles and sell the book without royalty or copyright issues?
    A: Yes you can... Any puzzles you create using Whirlwind WordSearch are completely yours to give away or sell, no royalty payments or copyrights on your puzzles, you don't even need to mention this software.


    Q: Is this an interactive game I play on the computer?
    A: No, this is software that will generate PDF or printed puzzles and their solutions.


    Q: Can I save the puzzles as PDF files instead of printing them?
    A: Yes you can... Open your puzzle in Whirlwind WordSearch and click the "Print" button, and from the Print dialog, near the bottom is a popup menu. Choose "Save as PDF" from there, and it will write it as a PDF file to your computer. Or, choose the "File:Export:" menu and choose to export just the puzzle, or answer key, or both to PDF file.


    Q: Can I export the puzzles as text and import them as tables, to add my own formatting?
    A: Yes you can... Open your puzzle in Whirlwind WordSearch and choose "Copy as Text" from the Edit menu, and paste into your word processor, and convert the tab-delimited puzzle and answer into a table, and format it. Or, choose the "File:Export:" menu and choose to export just the puzzle, or answer key, or both to a text file.


    Q: If I save a wordsearch puzzle document, then later re-open it, will it keep the same word layout?
    A: Yes, if you open a saved document, it will be laid out exactly the same way that you saved it. The only exception to this is if you open a document that was saved in an older version of the software, for example, opening a document created with version 3.0 using Whirlwind 4.0. So many features and advanced settings changed that it cannot exactly re-create the older layout.


    Q: Can I use a multi-word phrase as a single "word" entry?
    A: Yes. You can add phrases like "may the force be with you", or compound words like "Blue Jay" by replacing spaces with the underscore character.


    Q: How do I 'lock' a puzzle I like, so that it keeps the word placement without shuffling the answer key, but also lets me change the title, fonts or colors and re-make the same puzzle?
    A: Once you have generated a puzzle you like, and want to 'lock the words into place', simply go to the advanced tab, and near the bottom, click "Choose your own SPIN below". Then you can change display-things like Title/subtitle text, puzzle letter font, secret message hint style, or grid display, and then re-create the puzzle and your word search words will still be in their original place, based on that locked SPIN value. Note: If you change other aspects of the puzzle though, a whole different puzzle layout will be created from the SPIN value. For example, if you change the puzzle size, shape, difficulty, or change any of the words or secret message or secret message position, the puzzle will have to change. This is because Whirlwind WordSearch has to re-check the new words or secret message text and find new places for them to guarantee no accidentally created duplicate or naughty words snuck into the new positions.


    Q: That wood-grain look is so... 1970s! Can I turn it off?
    A: Yes you can! Look under the top "Whirlwind WordSearch" menu and select the "Preferences" menu item, where you can turn on/off that look! Luckily I did not add orange shag carpeting or olive-drab buttons!


    Q: Can you add another language for me?
    A: Yes I can. However... it does take some research and work to add each new language. If you are fluent in that language and you are willing to help me a little with it (and get credit in the next version of the published app), then please e-mail me with your proposed language. The work you will need to do will only take about an hour of your time.


    Q: Where is the User Guide?
    A: You can find it under the HELP menu at the top of the screen, or by clicking the "User Guide" button at the bottom of the window. You can also download the full PDF user guide right now, for off-line reading, by going back up to the "Pricing and Download" section above.


    Q: Can I print the User Guide?
    A: Yes you can... simply open it from the Help menu, and when it is displayed (in the Preview application), choose PRINT from the File menu.


    Q: Do you offer a free version of this software, so I can try it out first?
    A: Yes! Please see the link
    Pricing & Download above.


    Q: I was peeking inside your application and see references to "WSS". Shouldn't (W)hirlwind (W)ord(S)earch be WWS? Are you dyslexic or acronym-challenged?
    A: WSS comes from the old project name for this software "Word Search Sensei", before I renamed it. Omoshiroi desune?


    Q: Will you make other kinds of educational puzzle software?
    A: Yes, I have recently released Lyttony (story-writing-helper), Bingo Genie (Customized Bingo-Card maker), and am working on other projects now. You can see hints for these upcoming projects on my main software page.


    BLOG: If you are interested in a deeper behind-the-scenes Blog/essay on the creation of this software, please visit my word-search blog entry here.


    Read the Software Privacy Policy Here

     

    What is next?

    Well, what would YOU like? If you let me know what things you would like to see next, and I will add them to my to-do list for the next update!

     

    Press Kit

    If you would like to publish a review of this software and would like more information and assets, download the free Press Kit below:

    Download Press Kit (".zip" file)

     

    Contact Me

    If you have more questions or wish to send me feedback:

    Contact Me

     
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