A flexible, responsive, and easy-to-use crossword component for React apps

Usage no npm install needed!

<script type="module">
  import adamsonReactCrossword from 'https://cdn.skypack.dev/@adamson/react-crossword';


react-crossword: A flexible, responsive, and easy-to-use crossword component for React apps.">

npm version build status code coverage
known vulnerabilities dependencies dev dependencies peer dependencies
license more badges commitizen friendly semantic-release


npm install --save @jaredreisinger/react-crossword
  # or #
yarn add @jaredreisinger/react-crossword


See also the styleguidist docs for Crossword.

import React from 'react';

import Crossword from '@jaredreisinger/react-crossword';

const data = {
  /* ... puzzle data (see below) ... */

export default function MyPage() {
  return <Crossword data={data} />;

Clue/data format

To make crosswords as easy to create as possible, with the least amount of extraneous and boilerplate typing, the clue/answer format is structured as a set of nested objects:

  across: {
    1: {
      clue: 'one plus one',
      answer: 'TWO',
      row: 0,
      col: 0,
  down: {
    2: {
      clue: 'three minus two',
      answer: 'ONE',
      row: 0,
      col: 2,

At the top level, the across and down properties group together the clues/answers for their respective directions. Each of those objects is a map, keyed by the answer number rather than an array. (This is done so that the creator has control over the numbering/labelling of the clues/answers.) Each item contains a clue and answer property, as well as row and col for the starting position.

The Crossword component calculates the needed grid size from the data itself, so you don't need to pass an overall size to the component.


One other major difference (and advantage) to this crossword component is that it is very "stylable"... as many of the styling properties as possible are exposed so that you can create any look you want for the crossword. The Crossword component makes use of styled-components' ThemeProvider and offers the following properties to control colors and layout:

theme property default description
columnBreakpoint '768px' browser-width at which the clues go from showing beneath the grid to showing beside the grid.
gridBackground 'rgb(0,0,0)' overall background color (fill) for the crossword grid. Can be 'transparent' to show through a page background image.
cellBackground 'rgb(255,255,255)' background for an answer cell
cellBorder 'rgb(0,0,0)' border for an answer cell
textColor 'rgb(0,0,0)' color for answer text (entered by the player)
numberColor 'rgba(0,0,0, 0.25)' color for the across/down numbers in the grid
focusBackground 'rgb(255,255,0)' background color for the cell with focus, the one that the player is typing into
highlightBackground 'rgb(255,255,204)' background color for the cells in the answer the player is working on, helps indicate in which direction focus will be moving; also used as a background on the active clue

Note that these values can be provided either via ThemeProvider, or directly as a theme property on the Crossword component itself. (And further, if you're not using styled-components, but want to make use of ThemeProvider, this library re-exports ThemeProvider so you can pull it from here.)

Also, several class names are applied to elements in the crossword, in case you want to apply styles that way:

element class name
entire crossword component; encompassing grid and clues crossword
entire crossword is correct (on same element as crossword) correct
answer grid grid
all of the clues clues
header and clues for one direction direction
direction header ('across' or 'down') header
an individual clue clue
an individual clue with a correct answer (on same element as clue) correct

(No class names are currently applied within the grid, as the SVG layout is very layout-sensitive.)

Player progress events

In addition to providing properties for styling, there are some properties to help your application "understand" the player's progress:

property description
onCorrect callback function that fires when a player answers a clue correctly; called with (direction, number, answer) arguments, where direction is 'across' or 'down', number is the clue number as text (like '1'), and answer is the answer itself
onLoadedCorrect callback function that's called when a crossword is loaded, to batch up correct answers loaded from storage; passed an array of the same values that onCorrect would recieve
onCrosswordCorrect callback function that's called when the overall crossword is completely correct (or not)
onCellChange callback function called when a cell changes (e.g. when the user types a letter); passed the row and column and the character typed

Imperative methods

The following imperative methods can be called on a "ref" handle to the component:

method name parameters description
focus() (none) Sets focus to the crossword component.
reset() (none) Resets the entire crossword; clearing all answers in the grid and also any persisted data.
fillAllAnswers() (none) Fills all the answers in the grid and calls the onLoadedCorrect callback with every answer.
isCrosswordCorrect() (none) Returns whether the crossword is entirely correct or not.


Initially written as a replacement for @guardian/react-crossword, to make custom styling and puzzle-definition easier.

There are several things about the Crossword component from @guardian/react-crossword that are less than ideal, in my opinion:

  • the styles/formatting are baked in
  • semi-unrelated functionality like the "anagram helper" is baked in
  • the data format for clues/answers is horrendous

This is an attempt to create a less-opinionated component that's much easier to drop in to an arbitrary React page.


MIT, © 2020 Jared Reisinger