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When you are using word searches like our letter sorting tool or the Scrabble® Helper, you probably already know the pattern field beneath the letter input. This tutorial was written to explain to you how the pattern field works.

pattern field


pattern is optional, if …

Entering a pattern is optional, but if you enter anything, the results from the word searches must match the pattern. If the field is empty, you will get all words we can build from your letters.

characters to be used in the pattern

There are three different kinds of characters you might use in the pattern field:

dot = empty space

A dot “.” in the pattern means one empty field or space that can, but needn’t to be filled in the results.

letter = will be used

If you enter a letter into the pattern field, it will be used in all of the results. If you enter more than one letter with spaces between them, than only one must be used in the results.

numbers = bonus fields for Scrabble®

For word games like Scrabble® or Words With Friends, you might enter the following numbers for the bonus fields:

  • 2 – double letter bonus
  • 3 – triple letter bonus
  • 4 – double word bonus
  • 5 – triple word bonus

examples for patterns

Limit word length

You can simply limit the length of the results using a number of dots. Enter as many dots into the pattern field as the results can be long.

dots in pattern field

In the example above the results are limit to words with up to 4 letters, because of the 4 dots in the pattern field. So there will be results like EXAM or LAMP, but not EXAMPLE.

Note: Also any of the other characters symbolizes one letter in the result. So, results can’t be longer then the number of characters entered into the pattern field.

Use existing letters

Not only for word games it is important to use predefined letters. This can be accomplished by entering letters into the pattern field.

letters in pattern field

Beside entering dots for empty spaces, this pattern uses the letters N and R. Between them, there is a space for 2 letters, no more, no less. Results must contain at least one of these two letters. Best results for this word search is PANEER. Other possible results are RAMP, PANE or NEAR.

Typical for word games: there are no results with 2 letters after N, but without the R or 2 letters in front of R without using also N.

bonus fields and complex patterns

The last example are patterns with empty spaces, letters and bonus fields all together. Theoretically, a pattern might contain only bonus fields, because a bonus field also represents an empty field. In word games, bonus fields only count the first time you place a letter on them.

complex pattern

This pattern includes every kind of allowed character. The result length is limited to 9 letters. The words must contain either N or R or both.

For word games: If a letter in the result reaches a bonus field, it will be either counted twice (2) or the word score will double (4).

More tools

highlighted patterns in the results table

Above the result table you find the additional options. If you activate highlight bonus fields, the predefined letters and bonus fields will be highlighted in the result table. Activating align by pattern will align the results words so that the same position in the pattern is at the same place in the result list. Both features might help you to find the best results easily.

pattern highlighted

Visualization of the pattern field

We know the pattern field is tough, so we included a visualization for the pattern. The visualization shows empty spaces, predefined letters and bonus fields highlighted with colors. It is displayed as soon as you focus on the pattern field. This is an example for the pattern we used above.

pattern visualization

We hope you feel prepared for our word tools now. If not, please feel free to contact us.