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Solve Path now excludes unchecked strategies

Candidates can be Edited Highlighted Chained Coloured,  Shown
Enter clues or solutions
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Check for solved cells   
Show Possibles  
 1: Hidden Singles  
 2: Naked Pairs/Triples  
 3: Hidden Pairs/Triples 
 4: Naked/Hidden Quads 
 5: Pointing Pairs  
 6: Box/Line Reduction  
Tough Strategies
*: Gurth's Theorem  
 7: X-Wing  
 8: Simple Colouring  
 9: Y-Wing  
10: Rectangle Elimination  
    ( Empty Rectangles )  
11: Swordfish  
12: XYZ Wing  
13: BUG  
Diabolical Strategies
14: X-Cycles  
15: XY-Chain  
16: 3D Medusa  
17: Jellyfish  
18: Unique Rectangles  
19: Fireworks  
20: SK Loops  
21: Extended Unique Rect.  
22: Hidden Unique Rect's  
23: WXYZ Wing  
24: Aligned Pair Exclusion  
Extreme Strategies
25: Exocet  
26: Grouped X-Cycles  
27: Finned X-Wing  
28: Finned Swordfish  
29: Altern. Inference Chains 
30: Sue-de-Coq  
31: Digit Forcing Chains  
32: Nishio Forcing Chains 
33: Cell Forcing Chains  
34: Unit Forcing Chains  
35: Almost Locked Sets  
36: Death Blossom  
37: Pattern Overlay Method  
38: Quad Forcing Chains  
"Trial and Error"
39: Bowman's Bingo 

URs in Chain Links

Errors? [CRTL]+[F5] to clear and download the latest script files
Auto Tab Auto Clear
Clues+Solved: 0/81
Help on String Definitions used in this solver for transporting puzzles
Show bi-value cells
Show Strong Links in
Boxes Rows Columns
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Quick help: Using this Solver
Use the "Import a Sudoku" button or type in a Sudoku puzzle in the small board. You can also pick examples from the list above.
Click on Take Step to step through the solution. Unknown squares are filled with 'candidates' - possible solutions.
Any cells that are reduced to one possible candidate are solved.

You can use the << button to step back one go. Toggling between Take Step and << helps you see the changes.

Pressing "Enter" on the keyboard after clicking on Take Step is a quick way to activate "Take Step". Details of any solutions will be written out in the text box below the big board. Strategies are ordered by complexity.

Editing candidates will conflict with Take Step. Untick 'Auto clear' to stop the board being re-assessed each step. If you want to try and solve a puzzle yourself - best to export to the player. Use [>Player]

Version 2.24
See Strategy Overview documentation

Coordinate system: Letter/Number rYcX

New: Candidate and cell colouring
Free Sudoku and Str8ts for Print

Welcome to my Sudoku page

Since I first studied Sudoku in May 2005 I think I've finally got a handle on this puzzle. My original intention was to prove to myself that a small number of simple strategies existed that could solve every sudoku. How wrong I was. Sudoku has enormous depth and while this solver has grown up enough to crack 99.9% of puzzles there are many weird and wonderful examples that defeat it. The main reason to keep this solver in development is to analyse these difficult ones. To that end I've added new graphical tools and features which I hope you'll enjoy.

I am continuing to document the various strategies that I and many other people have invented. These are available here.

But in some cases progress has outstripped the documentation and I can only provide links to the best resources. I've tried to give credit where credit is due. Please update me if I have missed anyone or need to make a correction.

I am now working independently on puzzle creation, especially at

All feedback, comments, arguments, bug reports and strategy ideas are welcome. There is a FEEDBACK form with a column displaying comments and questions. Many thanks to all the people who have done so and helped improve this solver.

Original version 1.01 28th May 2005 - Full version history here

New in version 2.24 (19th July 2024)
Many updates and improvements across all solvers. Plus bug fixes.

New in version 2.20 (19th June 2024)
Custom Jigsaw Shapes! See Jigsaw Solver.

New in version 2.18 (June 2024)
New Solve Path to the side of the solver. Allows loading from all points in the path.

New in version 2.17 (June 2024)
Fixed a bug where the new solved cells wasn't showing the text shadow.

New in version 2.14 - 2.16 (May 2024)
Added and Replaced 45 example puzzles with fresh ones
New Solution Count and Email popups.

New in version 2.13 (April 2024)
Added cell and candidate colouring

New in version 2.16 (October 2023)
Rectangle Elimination replaces Empty Rectangles

New in version 2.10 (October 2023)
Added chain cycling. If more than one chain is found the solver will provide buttons to cycle through them. Longstanding feature now implemented. More information on What's New

Many people have written to me to comment about multiple solutions for a given Sudoku. There are no logical tricks the solver can use to detect this other than to not complete correctly. The only way to check this is to perform a brute force analysis which tests every possible legal placement of a number. Computers are good at this and we now have a new yellow button called "Solution Count". Try this on any Sudoku to check whether it has a unique solution.

Detailed help

Use Clear to empty the board before entering your own puzzle. Save will remember the current state of the board so you can Reload it again (even if you close your browser - you must allow cookies for this to work). Restart applies only to the example puzzles in the list. The current list contains an example puzzle that tests each strategy.

Take Step first displays the possibles or candidates for each unknown cell. These are the numbers that do not contradict any known or solved cells. Once these are displayed Take Step will step through other tests and then loop until it can go no further. The first few tests are the most productive and the solver will often loop between them. If any are successful and the board is changed in any way it will go back to the start and "Check for Solved cells". The reason for this step is to make it easier to spot what's changed. Many of the strategies have knock-on effects which means that they can't be run back-to-back - it's essential that we return to the basic steps. We go back because we want the easiest solve route.

> The first six tests are the simplest and are required for any sudoku. After that you are allowed to choose which strategies the solver will use. Tick and untick the check boxes.

> The order of these advanced strategies - and my inclusion of them in categories 'tough', 'diabolical' and 'extreme' are my personal choice after close study and are roughly in order of complexity. While the logic is different for each, you should be aware that there is considerable overlap in their power to solve in certain situations. For example, X-Cycles are a subset of Alternating Inference Chains. If you turn off X-Cycles the same elimination might turn up under AICs. Since March 2010 I have reworked most chaining strategies to find the best and shortest chains - not necessarily the first one it happens to find. More about what is 'best' will be posted as a document.

> All strategies in the list have links to documentation, but it's worth describing what the first tests do:

  • Show Possibles (Naked Singles): For each unknown square we eliminate all possibles where those numbers are known in each row, column and box. This may reveal a single candidate, in which case we have a solution for that cell.
  • Hidden Singles: If a candidate occurs once only in a row or column or box we can make it the solution to the cell.
  • Test 2: In this test we check for 'naked' Pairs and Triples. For example, if we have two pairs, eg 3-4 and 3-4 in the same row, column or box, then both 3 and 4 must occupy those squares (in what ever order). 3 and 4 can then be eliminated from the rest of the row, column or box.
  • Test 3: This test is for Hidden Pairs, Hidden Triples
  • Test 4: Naked and Hidden Quads - much rarer but simply extends Pairs and Triples.
  • Test 5: See Pointing Pairs and Triples for a full explanation. This test helps us eliminate numbers in rows and columns outside the box.
  • Test 6: Box/Line Reduction. We check the box against the rows and columns that intersect it for each number.
If this solver comes up with an error or it can't be solved, first use the Solution Count button to prove it has only one solution. This uses a fast brute-force algorithm to check for all possible solutions. If it's valid, please use the "Email This Board" button to send it to I'd be very interested to study examples that can't be solved on this page.

All Solutions to a Sudoku
By Andrew Stuart and Rui Gonçalves, Syndicated Puzzles
Email your puzzle to a friend
Copy and paste the contents of the green box into your email program and send it off.
The links contain the puzzle which will load when your friend visits the Sudoku Solver.

Solver created on 28-May-2005.
This page was last modified on 19-Jul-2024.
All code and design is copyright and for personal use only and may not be reproduced elsewhere.
Copyright Andrew Stuart @ Syndicated Puzzles, 2005-2024, Privacy