I received some PDF puzzle books for Christmas and have been solving them in a Google Sheets. The basic tools of borders, background colors, and entering numbers work for lots of genres (Nurikabe, Tapa, Statue Park, Slitherlink, Sudoku...), but the next set of puzzles are Masyus. Here is Wikipedia's example:

example puzzle

example solution

I have no idea how to represent this in Google Sheets. The circles I can do fine; I'll copy over some Unicode characters. But how do I draw the loop? It's not along the edge of cells as in Slitherlink, which is a loop genre I do fine in Sheets. Note that the loop will even need to enter cells with characters in them, which wouldn't be a worry in, say, Yajilin.

The Sheets aspect is pretty non-negotiable unless it's completely impossible. I want to have all my solutions neatly organized together on the spreadsheet, I want to solve when I don't have internet, I can't do Excel since 1) I know it poorly and 2) I'll lose my Office in few years when I graduate, and solving in the original PDF isn't an option since I loathe solving puzzles in image editors. That basically leaves Sheets. I would appreciate if answers took using Google Sheets for granted and refrained from recommending other tools.

How do I transcribe a Masyu into a Google Sheets, preferably as simply as possible?

  • $\begingroup$ This is a complete loophole, but Insert -> Drawing will allow you to use a vector image editor. You say you "loathe solving puzzles in image editors" and I have no idea whether that does or doesn't extend to vector editors. If you never tried them I would recommend them for solving these types of puzzles (although Google Drawing does not support layers and locking of layers). $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 14:48

3 Answers 3


I could do it like this:


... taking 4 cells (2×2) as one cell in Masyu puzzle.

The circles are not unicode characters, but images, those entered to the sheet by

+ > Image > Image over cells.

Once you enter the image you can resize it to fit a 2×2 region. Then you can copy and paste it in the corresponding cell by selecting the top left cell of the 2×2 box.

This was created on mobile, therefore selecting regions to shade borders were sometimes a little bit difficult (with fingers), but I believe it is easier on a desktop.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I appreciate that this takes up less cells than the other answer, lets me use borders (I like that for loop puzzles), and taught me about "image over cells", so I have accepted it. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 7:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I have been using this to solve the Masyu puzzles and it's been working wonderfully $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 1:46

What about translating each cell in the original to a 3x3 block of cells in Google Sheets? Then e.g. row 1 column 2 would have cells highlighted like:


Building on from Ed Murphy's answer, I put together a sheet using checkboxes for the lines, and uses box drawing characters to complete the look:

enter image description here

It uses conditional formatting to make the line stand out more, and to bring attention to errors in the solution.

Here is a link if you want to make a copy.

  • $\begingroup$ While this works, it's more complicated to set up, and I don't really like the checkboxes breaking up the thin line $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ Fair call. I was going for ease of input, rather than being visually nice $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 0:11

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