Excel Codenames

One of my favorite hobbies is playing games with my family and friends. However during a pandemic you should attempt to limit physical contact with other people. Unfortunately most of the games I own are not easy to play over zoom. That is why I created Excel Codenames. Codenames is a fun word game that can be played with 4 or more people.


The idea behind Codenames is that two teams of roughly equal size and skill take turns trying to guess which words belong to their team by single word clues given by a the person on their team designated as the clue giver. Teams take turns guessing at their at their words until all their teams words have been uncovered or the other team guesses the black word and immediately loses. Here is a link to the Official Game Rules.

How the Spreadsheet Works

When you open this spreadsheet you should see the typical Codenames board game. You will need to enable macros to run this game. Once you’ve done that you can start playing off this one or you can have the game randomly generate a new list of words for you by clicking “Generate New Game”

Once you are ready to start the teams will need to pick two clue givers. One from each team. Write their email addresses into cells B12 and B13. The spreadsheet will automatically email the correct answers to the clue givers when “Email Clue Givers Solution Board” is clicked.

NOTE: An instance of Microsoft Outlook will need to be running on the same computer when this is clicked.

Now that the clue givers know what word they are trying to get their team to guess the game can begin. When the clue guessers are ready to see if their guess is correct they can check by clicking on the word they want to guess and then clicking on the “Check Answer” box. If the word changes to the team color they have guessed correctly.

BAR is clicked.
BAR is checked

I’ve added a feature that doesn’t allow the same word to come up unless you play more than 15 games in a row and if you manage to do that maybe you should consider BINGO? If you do want to keep playing though you can click “Clear Word List” and the game will start drawing from the whole word pool again.

Download a copy of the game at the link below. If you have a question about how the game was programmed or how the spreadsheet works feel free to send me a question.

Excel Codenames

And once things go back to normal consider buying the game and having your friends over for an in person game

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