How to make a chessboard in Excel

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2021-08-18 12:00:11

I needed to make an image of a chessboard for the next blog post, and I’m not very good at image editing, so I make one using Excel.

There are Unicode characters for chess pieces— white king is U+2654, etc.—and so you can make a chessboard out of (Unicode) text.

I placed the character for each piece in an cell and changed the formatting for all the cells to be centered horizontally and vertically. The following is a screenshot of the Excel file.

The trickiest part is getting the cells to be square. By default Excel uses different units for height and width, with no apparent way to change the units. But if you switch the View to Page Layout, you can set row height and column width in inches or centimeters.

Another quirk is that you may have to experiment with the font to get all the pieces the same size. In some fonts, the black pawns were larger than everything else.

You can download my Excel file here. You could make any chessboard configuration with this file by copying and pasting characters where you want them.

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