Playing games in Excel – yes, that really works

Simply open the right Excel sheet and you can sweeten your everyday office life inconspicuously. Games in Excel are becoming increasingly popular. PC-WELT takes a close look at the trend.

Some love it, others don’t want to know anything about it – and everyone knows it: Microsoft Excel. But if you think that you can only create boring tables or calculations in Excel, you are wrong! The gaming-savvy workforce has long known that the program can also be used to satisfy one’s own play instinct. PC-WELT takes a close look at the topic and shows which games you should try.

Esports Excel?

Excel as a new eSports trend? It’s not that far yet. But there is a growing scene that uses Excel as a platform for games programmed in Visual Basic.

Tech facts:

VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) opens up many possibilities when it comes to programming applications outside of the main task area of ​​Excel.

There is now a nice selection of games that can be run in the form of an Excel sheet. From a number of Tetris versions to word search games, chess or backgammon to very complex and entertaining role-playing games such as Arena XLSM.

Three recommendations at a glance

Battleship 2 – Battleship spreadsheet

Battleships is a wonderful Excel game. In Battleship 2, the user competes against a computer opponent. The goal is known: by clicking on the opponent’s squares, you sink his ships.

Battleships in Excel come in different versions.


Battleships in Excel come in different versions.

© E2 Online Marketing

Knight Attack – Logic game for Excel fans

Knight Attack gets your gray matter moving. The puzzle for Excel is available in German and English. A total of 50 different levels are available. And best of all: Each level has a step-by-step solution.

Knight Attack works in Office versions from 2016.


Knight Attack works in Office versions from 2016.

© Knight Attack

Monopoly – the classic board game for the office

No wonder: the classic board game Monopoly is also available as a spreadsheet game. For even more gaming fun, however, you should move to the competitor Google, since you can compete against other players via Google Drive.

Monopoly in the browser in Google Drive.


Monopoly in the browser in Google Drive.

© E2 Online Marketing

Inspired by the smartphone

Many games that are popular on smartphones, such as “2048”, are now also available for Excel. Then “Candy Crush Saga” becomes the game “Candy Number Crunch Saga” and “MineSweeper” becomes “CellSweeper”.

Note: Some of these games are embedded Flash games that were not created solely on the basis of Excel’s programming capabilities.

How to start the excel games

If you want to try one of the games, you first have to warm up. This means that users must activate the so-called VBA macros. This is a programming language based on executing macros.

By default, VBA macros are turned off. There’s a good reason for that. Because users can not only do very funny things with it, such as games, but also do very nasty things – keyword ‘smuggle in malware’.

Tip: If you want to test playing in Excel, you should first run the relevant game or file through a virus scanner. offers a simple possibility here. This scanner can also detect macro viruses.

How to enable VBA macros in Excel (on Windows machines)

  1. From the top left menu, click File, then click Options.

  2. Select the “Trust Center” and then open the “Trust Center Settings”.

  3. A vertical navigation menu appears on the left. Find the “Macro Settings” item.

  4. Finally, on the right-hand side of the window, check “Enable all macros”. Now you can close the window with “OK” – and get started. (Note: Typically, when you open a file that uses macros, Excel will ask if you want to enable macros.

The instructions described above apply to Excel on Windows PC, the procedure is slightly different on macOS.

After that, nothing stands in the way of a gaming session without any nasty surprises. At least as long as the boss doesn’t suddenly pat you on the back.

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