Excel Breakout Puzzle 4

It is time for another breakout puzzle … yay! Have you ever played Sudoku? My family loves doing these puzzles, in fact, last week we had a full-on Sudoku race and competition. Who won? Not me. My daughter totally crushed it. I’d get like 5 squares done, and she’d be like, “done!” Again and again. Anyhow, that Sudoku competition was the inspiration for this Excel Breakout Puzzle. Hope you get a chance to check it out.


The objective is to find the 4 letter code I’ve hidden. You’ll first need to complete the Sudoku puzzle to get the key. Then, use the key in step 2 to reveal the code. If you aren’t sure how to play Sudoku, the rules are fairly easy. You basically want to use each number 1-9 once in each row, column, and block without overlapping. Do a quick web search for Sudoku rules if needed.

I hope you download the workbook and give it a try:

If you get the 4 letter (not number) solution, please let me know by posting a comment below. Enjoy 🙂


The video below contains the answer, so, if you want to do the puzzle, try it before watching the video.

Also, quick heads-up: the answer may appear in the comments below, so, don’t scroll down to the comments if you want to try the puzzle.

Previous Excel Breakout Puzzles:


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Jeff Lenning

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  1. Linda Lotz on April 25, 2018 at 7:39 am

    Thanks for a fun puzzle, Jeff. I enjoyed the puzzles you had during the Excel University Graduate Certification course. Now that I have finished the course, I missed the puzzles. Not to worry – you have come to the rescue! Only thing is, once the code is solved, there’s no place to input it to receive the fun little congratulatory messages you gave during the graduate certification course. Maybe another step?

    • Jeff Lenning on April 25, 2018 at 7:40 am

      That’s a great idea! I should figure out some way to do a cool animation, like confetti or balloons or something 🙂

  2. Caleb on April 25, 2018 at 7:54 am

    Jeff, thank you for the breakout puzzle. I was fun and simple. I must confess I have not been able to figure out the other breakout puzzles. I appreciate having one that was much simpler to solve.

    Thanks for keeping us on our toes. Great work!


    • Jeff Lenning on April 25, 2018 at 7:56 am

      Cool, thanks … this one was totally for fun, and I liked the “reveal” in this one the best so far 🙂

  3. Tara on April 25, 2018 at 11:09 am

    Jeff: This was fun – the Sudoku part was easy. But I’m stuck – once I get the key, how do I know in which order to enter the numbers in Step 2? (Brand new to your blog and website – apologies if I’ve missed something.)

    • Jeff Lenning on April 25, 2018 at 11:11 am

      Welcome! So, for this puzzle, the order of the key is just left to right (regardless of the row).
      Hope it helps, and I hope you enjoy the “reveal” … it is my favorite reveal so far 🙂

      • Tara on April 25, 2018 at 3:40 pm

        Thanks! That’s what I had done – somehow, I was thinking that the “secret code” will spell something out like, “Drink more Ovaltine!” 😉

        • Jeff Lenning on April 25, 2018 at 3:47 pm

          Ah, nice … when I use these breakout puzzles in a course, you would enter the code into the a quiz to validate the answer. But, on the blog, they are just for fun. But, you gave me a great idea which I can hopefully incorporate next time. By the way, I loved your reference to the Christmas Story … what a great movie!

  4. Lola Simmons on April 25, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Thanks Jeff, that was the coolest breakout yet. Thoroughly enjoyed myself.

    • Jeff Lenning on April 25, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      Thanks! I just figured out a new technique for the “reveal” so I expect to incorporate that going forward. I’m working on a Matrix themed puzzle for the next one 🙂

  5. Monica on April 25, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    What fun! Thanks for the puzzle!

    • Jeff Lenning on April 25, 2018 at 3:35 pm

      Welcome 🙂

  6. Chris Wagner on April 25, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Hi Jeff,

    Now, I don’t want to be a sudoku party pooper but I always like to be an excel enthusiast. As soon as I saw the first cell turn green I knew that there had to be conditional formatting in play. So, I invoked Goto [F5] key and selected special, conditional formats to light up all the green cells. A shortcut to step 2.

  7. Saumil on April 26, 2018 at 11:40 pm


  8. Mimi on April 27, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Fun one – I get CIBN? If I am doing it correctly – The Sudoku was way easy, but fun! Love these puzzles! Thanks much!

    • Jeff Lenning on April 27, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      Yep … you got it 🙂

  9. Greg Jimenez, CPA on April 27, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks Jeff, fun playing, nice quick break, enjoyed it.

  10. Anonymous on November 27, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful puzzles

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