How to create a custom crossword puzzle interaction in Storyline 360
How to create a custom crossword puzzle interaction in Storyline 360

How to create a custom crossword puzzle interaction in Storyline 360

As we continue to adapt to the changing work environment throughout these unpredictable times, one thing is for certain: Training is evolving. eLearning is becoming more prevalent than ever as professionals try to stay up to date with the knowledge and skills they need for their jobs and licensures in a time when in-person training is just not possible.

At GAAP Dynamics, we know how important training is, and how good training leads to happier employees who are better at their jobs – ultimately saving organizations time, money, and mistakes. Our company was founded nearly 20 years ago based around the idea that accounting training can – and should – be both informative and entertaining, and that notion has translated into our eLearning courses too. We strive to make all of our training as interactive and engaging as possible, no matter the modality. One of the ways we achieve this in our eLearning courses is by creating custom interactions in Storyline 360. I recently got the chance to create a custom crossword puzzle, where the learner reads clues on the screen, then fills out the puzzle letter-by-letter to complete the answer words and phrases. After submitting their responses, they receive feedback based on whether or not they completed the exercise correctly.

Wondering how I accomplished this? In this post, I’ll walk through all the steps I took (in a simplified example) so you can create your own custom crossword puzzle in Storyline.

Step 1. Come up with the words (and the clues!) your learner will need to complete this slide. Then, use an online crossword puzzle generator like this one to make it easier on yourself when you create the puzzle in Storyline.

Step 2. Now that you have a guide for what your puzzle should look like, open a blank slide in your Storyline file, and paste in your clues and instructions. Don’t forget to tell the learner which words go across, and which go down! You will also need to create a Submit button with two associated layers: Correct, and Incorrect.

Step 3. Now that you have the rest of the slide set up, it’s time to get started on the puzzle! Insert a Text Entry Field by going to Insert > Input > Data Entry. Change the dimensions so the field is a perfect square (I made mine in this example 80 px by 80 px but depending on the size of your slide and the number of words in your puzzle, you can make yours whatever size you’d like!). Then, name your text entry field so it’s easier to identify when you create your trigger. I named mine with the letter and word it corresponded with – so if the letter that was supposed to be typed into that box was “C” for “Cow”, I named the field “C Cow”.

(Hint: It’s much easier to keep track of your work if you navigate to “Manage project variables” and rename the built-in variables as you work! As you can see in the video above, I renamed the built-in variable for this text entry field from “TextEntry” to “C_Cow”.) 

Step 4. Now it’s time to assign your triggers and variables! As previously mentioned, you will notice a trigger comes in with each new text entry box you add, which says, “Set TextEntry equal to the typed value when C Cow loses focus.” This means that the built-in variable (“TextEntry” until I changed the name to “C_Cow”) for each text entry field will be set to whatever letter the learner typed after they type it and click somewhere other than that text entry field (“C Cow”).

You will also need to create a trigger that says “Show layer Correct when user clicks Submit if C_Cow = value C (ignore case). Use the “ignore case” option in the Conditions panel if it doesn’t matter if the learner types in a capital or lowercase letter. This trigger is what tells Storyline to show the Correct layer if the user types in the correct response.

Step 5. Next up, create the rest of your text entry fields, using the same process described in steps 3 and 4, following the guide you made in step 1. You can also copy and paste the first one created to speed up the process, but don’t forget to rename your text entry fields and built-in variables! You will also need to add a new condition to the trigger you created on the Submit button for each new text entry field. Your trigger should end up looking similar to the image on the right.

(Hint: Make any formatting changes to your text entry field before you copy and paste it to speed up the programming time even further! I changed my font, made the text a little larger, and changed the text alignment to the center. You can also change the fill and outline color of the text entry field to make it look more like a traditional crossword puzzle!)

Step 6. Once you’ve created all of your text entry fields and added each of the conditions to the trigger on the submit button, you will need to copy that trigger, and make the following adjustments: Change the layer from “Correct” to “Incorrect” and change the equal sign to “is not equal to” for each condition. You will also need to change each “and” to “or” in the conditions panel. This tells Storyline that if the user types in any incorrect letter, to show the Incorrect layer instead of the Correct.

Step 7. Test, test, test! After you’ve made any remaining formatting changes you’d like, it’s time to preview your crossword puzzle and make sure it works!

Congratulations! You now know how to create your own custom crossword puzzle in Storyline. If you recreate this interaction or have created your own crossword puzzle a different way, let’s chat in the comments! I’m already dreaming up ways to make this interaction better the next time I create it… I recently saw an example where the learner types their answer into one text field, and then each letter from their answer populates into its own box on the screen (if the correct answer was typed) when the user hits submit. This would be a cool way to tweak the experience for more complex puzzles, so the learner doesn’t have to type each letter into its own unique box!

Want to see this puzzle in action? Be sure to check out our Banking Industry Fundamentals: Industry Overview course, coming soon to the Revolution!

About GAAP Dynamics  

We’re a DIFFERENT type of accounting training firm. We don’t think of training as a “tick the box” exercise, but rather an opportunity to empower your people to help them make the right decisions at the right time. Whether it’s U.S. GAAP training, IFRS training, or audit training, we’ve helped thousands of professionals since 2001. Our clients include some of the largest accounting firms and companies in the world. As lifelong learners, we believe training is important. As CPAs, we believe great training is vital to doing your job well and maintaining the public trust. We want to help you understand complex accounting matters and we believe you deserve the best training in the world, regardless of whether you work for a large, multinational company or a small, regional accounting firm. We passionately create high-quality training that we would want to take. This means it is accurate, relevant, engaging, visually appealing, and fun. That’s our brand promise. Want to learn more about how GAAP Dynamics can help you? Let’s talk!


This post is published to spread the love of GAAP and provided for informational purposes only. Although we are CPAs and have made every effort to ensure the factual accuracy of the post as of the date it was published, we are not responsible for your ultimate compliance with accounting or auditing standards and you agree not to hold us responsible for such. In addition, we take no responsibility for updating old posts, but may do so from time to time.

Join the Revolution
Need help with accounting training? Let's talk

Comments (0)

Add a Comment

Allowed tags: <b><i><br>Add a new comment:

Ready To Make a Change?

Cookies on the GAAP Dynamics website

To give you the best possible experience, this website uses cookies. By continuing to browse this website you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more details about cookies and how to manage them, please see our privacy policy.