Excel Cipher Assistant: Using Excel to decipher text

Screenshot from the Excel Cipher Assistant Excel Spreadsheet

Screenshot. Click to enlarge

When I was young I loved playing with codes and ciphers. When I started to learn about Excel I thought it would be cool to use a spreadsheet with VBA to make it easier to break ciphers. So that’s what I set out to do. What I developed doesn’t break ciphers but it does make it easier to do it myself by replacing all occurrences of a letter when a substitute is chosen.

The spreadsheet is called Excel Cipher Assistant and you can download it in xls format. It works using Excels built-in macros so you will need to allow macros to run for it to work. I have included 10 encrypted messages to test your skill and you can easily add your own encrypted text to work on.

There are instructions within the spreadsheet.

How does it work?

The encrypted text is placed in the ‘Encoded Message’ cell. When the Decode button is pressed the Decode macro cycles through the characters in the Encoded Message cell and checks them against those entered in the ‘substitutions’ section. If a match is found it replaces the character with the one chosen by the user. When all characters have been checked the updated text is placed in the ‘Decoded Message’ cell and then it goes through the text and sets the style bold for each character that has been substituted.


Lately I have been thinking about ways to improve it, but I think I’ll just start again. I will add a post about it if I do. Feel free to modify it or change it.


Posted on August 21, 2012, in Encryption, Excel, Word & VBA and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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