Excel Breakout Puzzle 5

I think it’s about time for another breakout puzzle … yes! This breakout puzzle is inspired by The Matrix. The Matrix? Yes, the movie, you know … with Neo. If you haven’t seen it, it was a popular movie about 20 years ago. (Wow does time fly.) Anyhow, I love that movie and so decided to build a Matrix breakout puzzle. Hope you enjoy it!


Before I get to the puzzle, let me provide a quick background. The escape room trend is sweeping the globe. Here is the basic idea. You and some friends go to an escape room, and get locked inside. You have to look around the room and gather clues to figure out codes to various combination locks. Opening a lock provides access to additional clues, which provide additional codes, and so on. You ultimately figure out the final code used on the door lock to escape the room.

My family LOVES doing these escape rooms together. They are so fun that I wanted to do something similar in my Excel courses. So, I came up with the idea for an Excel breakout puzzle. You basically need to open the Excel workbook, and look around for clues. You use your Excel skills to solve the puzzle and reveal the code.

These Excel breakout puzzles are used in the Excel University Graduate Certification program as a fun way to apply what you’ve learned in each lesson.


The Matrix puzzle has 3 steps. In step 1, you want to find the 4 digit numeric key that I’ve hidden. You’ll have to use your Excel knowledge to find the key. Once you do, enter the key into the Step 2 sheet to reveal the code. To verify that the code is correct, head to Step 3 and enter the code. If it is correct, you’ll be able to use the resulting link to view a fun congratulations page. If you think you are up for it, download the file below:

If you decide to give it a try … good luck, I hope you have fun 🙂


If you solve the puzzle, please post a comment with something like “Got it!” but please don’t post the actual code.

Previous Excel Breakout Puzzles:

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Jeff Lenning

I love sharing the things I've learned about Excel, and I built Excel University to help me do that. My motto is: Learn Excel. Work Faster.

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  1. Kyle on August 8, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Got it! This was the first one I attempted, and I struggled at first. I then went to try the others and struggled with them as well. After watching the solution to a few of them I found I was overthinking some of them which helped me narrow my focus in and I was able to arrive at the solution. This was was very cool and I loved the theme.

  2. violet on August 8, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Got it!! The second part was tricky!!! We are having fun in the office with this puzzle.

  3. Nigel on August 8, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Needed to come back to it fresh at the last stage – simpler than I was making it.
    No knowledge of The Matrix required!
    Thanks, Jeff.

  4. Dan on August 21, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Done it


  5. Adina Marcu on November 13, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Got it !
    In the second part, after finding what to choose, I’m asked why I did not understand faster …
    Thank you very much Jeff, for all of this and .. for making my brain work !

  6. Edna Hudson on September 22, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    I’m so lost. help. 🙁

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