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This wikiHow teaches you the first steps to solving sudoku. At first glance, sudoku looks difficult because it is all numbers, but in reality, this puzzle game is not based on math. Even if you’re not good at math, you can still solve sudoku. Alternatively, numbers can be replaced with letters or symbols and the result remains the same; it all revolves around pattern recognition. Start by understanding the basics of sudoku, then move on to learning beginner and advanced techniques.

## Steps

### Learn the basics

**Learn how to sort.**A typical sudoku puzzle is a grid of 9 large squares. In each large square there are 9 more small squares and some of them will be pre-filled with numbers from 1 to 9. The fewer pre-filled squares, the harder the sudoku puzzle.

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- Large squares are usually shaded with a bold border, while small squares have a lighter border. In addition, sometimes large squares are colored in a checkerboard style.

**Sort rows and columns.**A basic rule in this game is that each row and column must have all the numbers from 1 to 9. This means that you cannot repeat certain numbers in the same row or column..

**Note the numbers inside the big squares.**Similarly, each of the 9 large squares must contain all the numbers from 1 to 9. This means that each number can appear only once in the 9 small squares of each large square.

- For example, if a large square already has the number “2”, then you cannot add the number “2” in any of the squares in that square.

**Use pencils instead of pens.**It’s easy for beginners to get things wrong, so if you use a pen and ink, the sudoku board will soon get messy. Instead, use a pencil so you can erase and correct. At the same time, you should also write a little lighter to make it easier to erase.

### Start with easy suggestions

**Find the only empty square in the big square.**Check each square to see if there is a single empty cell that hasn’t been filled in. If so, this is an easy start. You just need to determine the missing number (from 1 to 9) in this square range.

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- For example, if some large square contains the numbers 1-3 and 5-9, the missing square will definitely be “4”.

**Check for rows and columns with few empty cells.**Scan by row and column to see if there are rows or columns with only 1 empty cell. If yes, locate the missing number in the range 1-9 and fill in that row or column.

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- If in the column there are numbers from 1-7 and 9, you can immediately fill in the missing number as “8”.

**Scan columns or rows to fill in the big squares.**Consider a row of 3 large squares and find some number that is repeated in 2 different squares. Trace the rows containing that number. The third largest square should have this number, but must not fall in the 2 rows you just detected. So the number will belong to the remaining row. Sometimes that row is already given 2 other numbers, so you can easily fill in the number you are looking at in the remaining blank.

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- If the number “8” has been repeated in 2 squares, continue to consider the third square. Trace each row with the number “8” to exclude because the “8” of the third square will not fall in those two rows.

**Add the opposite direction.**Once you’ve mastered how to scan rows or columns, try practicing in the other direction. Continue with the above example but only slightly different. When you consider the third square, this row is only given 1 number and 2 cells are empty.

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- In this case, look for the columns of 2 empty cells. Find out if the number you are entering is in those 2 columns. If yes, exclude the empty cell of the column containing this number and fill in the remaining cell.

**Work with groups of numbers.**When you see a number of numbers in the table, follow the prompts and try to fill them in the appropriate places. For example, if the table has a lot of 5’s, use the detection technique to fill in as many 5s as possible.

### Apply advanced techniques

**Look at the sets of 3 large squares.**Another way is to consider a row or column consisting of 3 large squares for analysis. Pick a number and see where you can fill in these 3 squares.

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- Such as the number “6”. Look for rows and columns that already have a 6 in it, then start tracing in the large 3 squares scale you’re looking at. Based on the information available and the number in the squares, try to fill in as many 6s as you can.

**Sketch your assumptions in pencil.**As you gradually increase the difficulty, you will find that it is not always possible to solve sudoku with just the above techniques. You will then need to add additional assumptions to each blank. If detecting a number is also possible, use a pencil to write in the corner of the small square. You may have to jot down 3 or 4 numbers in each box when solving the puzzle.

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- When solving puzzles, if you encounter cells that can only contain a certain number, you can always fill in with a pen.

**Check back often.**When you have filled in more numbers, go back to the cells you left blank. The new number can serve as the basis for you to fill in those blanks.

- Apply techniques when double-checking blanks.

## Warning

- For each box you fill in, don’t forget to double-check the logic; Just one small mistake can mess up the whole sudoku board.

This article is co-authored by a team of editors and trained researchers who confirm the accuracy and completeness of the article.

The wikiHow Content Management team carefully monitors the work of editors to ensure that every article is up to a high standard of quality.

This article has been viewed 4,060 times.

This wikiHow teaches you the first steps to solving sudoku. At first glance, sudoku looks difficult because it is all numbers, but in reality, this puzzle game is not based on math. Even if you’re not good at math, you can still solve sudoku. Alternatively, numbers can be replaced with letters or symbols and the result remains the same; it all revolves around pattern recognition. Start by understanding the basics of sudoku, then move on to learning beginner and advanced techniques.

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