Excel Maze

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Excel Maze

Download the Maze Spreadsheet - Save the file, then open in Excel.  It does not work as well when you open the spreadsheet within Internet Explorer.

Excel has a lot of fancy functions that nobody uses.  As a challenge, I decided to try to make an Excel spreadsheet that could create randomly-generated mazes.  Here were the rules:

1. No macros.  Of course, it would be relatively easy to create a maze using Excel's built-in Visual Basic programming language.  But most people have this feature turned off for security reasons.  The hard part is getting it to create mazes using only its "native" spreadsheet functions, the kind you type inside cells to do calculations.
2. Exactly one solution.  What fun is it to solve a maze when there are multiple paths through the maze?
3. Variable sizes.  Type in a width and height to get different size mazes.

The effort was more difficult than I expected, but after many attempts using different approaches, it finally worked.  You can download the spreadsheet and try it for yourself!

A couple of limitations:
1. Widths and heights are limited to 49 rows or columns.  This number is arbitrary, but larger sizes would make for an even bigger file.
2. The spreadsheet does not work in OpenOffice, as of version 2.0.  Some of the formulas used are apparently not compatible.  It does work in Excel 2000 and later.

Copyright 2006 by Tony Isaac

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