Sunday, 12 November 2017

Anagram Solver Guide

This is a guide for the Anagram Solver iOS app - a powerful word search engine helping you to find anagrams, solve crosswords and much more.

The guide will explain how to use the app, make the best use of advanced features like filters and show you plenty of examples of how to use the app for many popular word puzzles / games, such as Scrabble, Crosswords, 4 Pics 1 Word, Word Cookie and Countdown.

For the Android version of this guide, please visit the Android Anagram Solver Guide


Type in the letters you have, press Search to find all the possible words that can be made from those letters.
Enter the letters steam, to find: mates, meats, satem, tames, teams

For Countdown fans, guess these conundrums: ONEREDPIE, QUITESEXI and DOGGIRUNN
Try them in the app to see the answers.


Once all the anagrams have been found the app will then search for smaller words that use the same letters

Enter the word hearts to find: earth (s), share (t), rate (sh), she (art)
Note that the unused letters are shown after the word in brackets.

Anagrams and sub-anagrams are useful in many word games and are essential for apps like 4 Pics 1 Word and Word Cookie where you have many letters but need to make smaller words. See the Filters section below for filtering by word size.

Blank Letters

Games such as Scrabble or Words With Friends have blank tiles, you can use + to represent a blank tile.

Enter google++++ to find bootlegger, boondoggle, egyptology

In the screenshot above, the google letters are black and the 4 blank letters, ++++, are in red.

Two Word Anagrams

Enter Manchester United to find mechanised nutter, inducement haters, untested chairmen

The space indicates to the app to look for two words that use all the letters. In the example above the app will first search for words of length 10 and 6 letters, and then search for other combinations of words that total 16 letters.

For Pro users, three word anagrams searches are available, try cli ntea stwood to find old west action. The spaces in the query set the size of the 3 words to be searched, 3-4-6 in this example. In practice you will find that most 3 word searches will return 1000's of results and may take 10 seconds or more.

Crosswords / Missing Letters

Enter c..v.r to find clever, clover, carver

The . (period / full stop / dot) represents a missing letter. In this example the app will compare the pattern c..v.r to all the 6 letter words in its list of 130,000 (280,000 if Pro) words.

This type of search is also useful for bad handwriting! Not sure what letters have been scrawled, use a . and see what matches you get.


If you have many missing letters, you can use numbers to represent a group of dots

Enter z9 to find zookeepers, zombielike

z9 is equivalent to entering z.........

Suffix @ Prefix

Whereas a . represents a single letter, @ represents 1 or more letters

Enter @ace to find face, hyperspace, peace

You can also mix . and @ in your search,
Enter sup@x. to find supergalaxy
Here @ represents ergala and the . y


Find larger words that contain your anagram letters, use * to represent 1 or more extra letters (blank tiles)

Enter microsoft* to find discomforting, nonconformists, oversimplification

So here, all the letters in microsoft appear in these words and are shown in black in the screenshot above, the red letters are the extra letters represented by *

Codewords (Pro Users Only)

Codeword crosswords substitute numbers for each letter of the alphabet. You are shown a completed grid of numbers, given 3 letters and you then have to deduce what the numbers are for each letter.

The first step is to fill out the grid with the letters you are given. You then have to try work out words that will fit the grid, this can be tricky but words that use the same letter more than once will be easier to guess.

Lets say you have a word that is made up of the following numbers:

14 12 8 8 23 17 17 23

The 3rd/4th letters are the same,so are the  5th/8th and 6th/7th. In the app enter this query, ..112332

The app finds 11 matches, including barrette, cassette and pallette.

Breaking down the query, ..112332, the dots represent any letter and the numbers represent letters that are the same, here I specified 3 letters than must be the same 1,2 and 3. So for cassette, 1 is S, 2 is E and 3 is T. Mapping this back to the clue, 14 12 8 8 23 17 17 23, 1 is 8, 2 is 23 and 3 is 17, so S is 8, E is 23 and T is 17.

Lets say we already had E, you would then enter the query as ..11E22E
Notice that I use 2 for the T now.

The Excluding Letters filter is really handy for Codewords, lets say we already have letters LMFR, so we can exclude any words that contain these letters:

Enter the letters you already know that aren't in the clue, press search.

The app now only matches cassette.


You can press the information icon on the right of a word to look up its definition on Google.  You can change from Google to Merriam-Webster, MW Thesaurus, Collins, Oxford Dictionaries, Word Game Dictionary or Wikipedia via the settings menu. For Scrabble fans I recommend the Word Game Dictionary lookup which checks if the word is allowed and shows its score and definition.

Instead of using the settings menu to change the default dictionary provider, you can long press a word to bring up a dialog of options:

Pressing copy will copy the word to the system clip board which you can paste back into the query field on the main screen. Copy All will paste all the words to the clip board so you can paste them into some other app.


Most searches will return hundreds of results, too many to easily wade through. You can press the filter button (it's on the top right) and get to the filter screen as shown above. You can set up 1 or several filters, press search and the app will perform the search again but this time with the filters applied.

As an example lets say you are playing Scrabble with the letters zsltera in your tray and you want to attach them to a tile on the board, say m. So enter zslteram as your query:

Press the filter button, top right, I would like to use my z tile and the word must start with m

 Press search to run the search with the filters you have set

Word Filters 
Only include a result if it contains a word or excludes a word, handy for cryptic crosswords.

Size Filters
Filter by word size (equal/less than / greater than) and are great for word games such as 4 Pics 1 Word and Word Cookie.

Pro Filters

For Pro users the app has two extra filters: Word Pattern and Regular Expression.

Word Pattern is very handy for Scrabble games as you can specify the pattern of existing letters on the board.
Use . to indicate any letter and @ to indicate 1 or more letters.

So lets say on the board there is,a letter m, an unused square and z. Enter all of your tray letters (stlerai) and the letters on the board you would like to use (mz) in the main query, slteraimz

If you have unoccupied squares either side of the m and z letters, enter this for the word pattern .m.z. to get smaze. If you have plenty of space after the z, enter m.z@ to get maziest.

If that makes sense, you maybe brave enough to try the regular expression filter (RegEx). RegEx is a very powerful matching tool used in computer string processing, don't panic I will give you a quick guide.

In the word pattern filter above, your pattern is converted into RegEx. So a . is converted in [a-z] meaning any letter a to z, @ is converted to [a-z]+ meaning 1 or more letters. Here are some more examples:

  • [aeiou] letter must be a vowel
  • [a-z]* any letter none or more times
  • [a-z]+ any letter one or more times
  • [a-z] any letter just once

For a simple crib sheet, please take a loot at

Tip! Remember to lookup the word on the Word Game Dictionary to verify that it is allowed in Scrabble


You can get to the settings screen by pressing the menu key, top left  on the main screen and then pressing Settings

The settings shown above are
  • Dictionary Definition - choose which dictionary provide to use when you press the information icon next to a word
  • Letter highlighting, chose the colour of the letters in Blank and Supergram searches
  • Automatically Show keyboard, enable to cause the keyboard to appear when you go to the main screen
  • Allow long press on results, disable to prevent you from accidentally causing a long press on a word making the lookup options appear 
  • You can set the maximum number of results returned, to 100, 500, 1000, or 5000.
  • Chose the standard word list of 130,000 words or the large list of over 280,000 words which contains rarely used / uncommon words.
  • If you only want to see anagrams and no sub-anagram results, uncheck Show Sub-anagrams

Go Pro

You can upgrade the app by making a small in app purchase for less than the price of a coffee.  For most folk, the standard app is more than enough for all word games and puzzles and I would only advise upgrading if you are a Codewords fan or detest ads enough to pay. 

Note that the only ads I show is a small banner along the bottom of the results screen. The ads are provided by Google Admob.

From the Menu, press Go Pro:

Press Buy £1.99 (similar prices in other countries) and then follow the standard Apple in app purchase menus to complete the sale. Once the sale has successfully completed the app will load the Pro word list, remove ads from every screen, disable loading of any ads and unlock the Pro settings. 

If you buy a new phone or have re-installed the app, press Restore Purchases and the app will check if you have already made a purchase and enable Pro if you have.

Help Out

Thanks for using the app and if you have upgraded to Pro, thanks again.

If you can think of any other uses for the app, please enter them in the comments below. Reading comments in the app store and feedback from emails, users have found all sorts of uses for the app such as deciphering handwriting, learning English, writing poetry,  writing quizzes, creating puzzles and even helping with a hearing disability ( I think they enter part of the word they heard)

Tell your friends about the app, it's available for both Android and iOS devices. Scroll down the list of tips on the main screen to the Help Out tip, here you can send a link of the app on the App Store to your friends. You can also email me feedback from the help out tip and rate the app on the App Store.

I hope you will enjoy using the app for years to come, remember it's not cheating - just saving you a little time ;)

App Developer


  1. Hi! Great app!
    It would be good if you could also indicate sequences of letters that need to be in a particular order. For games (like Paperback) where the cards or tiles may have more than one letter on them.

    1. I'll be adding more filters in the next release such as a word filter where the word must contain a sequence of letters that you specify.

  2. Thanks for this! Need help for best usage with Letterpress, with a large rack. Used to use Zarf (32-bit), I could enter a subset of the available letters in one field, and the letters the anagram must contain in another field. If no matches, I could add "." one by one to the first field until (hopefully) I got some matches. With this, best I can figure, I enter the must contain in the search field with a *, like: "*seti", then adjust the include and exclude filters until i get some good possibilities. Feels a bit backwards to me; I'd like to enter _part_ of the rack (it's a big one so like half of it) with a * in the search field, then enter the must include letters in the include field. Or maybe there's a more sensible way? Problems are 1) if you redo search, filters are cleared [so it would help to have x last used in drop downs for these fields, and 2) it feels awkward to have the two screens. Would it be possible to have searches and filters on one screen, and all the hints and such on another tab? Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the feedback. 1) I can add a setting on the filter screen for the filters to be saved and not cleared. 2) For tablets there is plenty of space for the filters for me to add them on the main screen. I'll add your suggestions to my to do list.

    2. Great. Thanks for interest in the feedback! You know best, but see no reason you couldn't have them on one screen on an iPhone, even if it meant scrolling down to less used ones. And do you have any comments about the usage scenario I described? Main thing is I'm just not sure how to specify a partial (huge) rack. Like these are the available letters, with a couple more wild cards, and then I want to search for any larger anagrams that contain the "must have" letters and use the available rack. Sorry to be dense about this.

    3. Hi again, yes that's a good idea, the filters could be displayed on the filter card on the tips screen.

      I'm not sure about your usage scenario, you can use + as a wildcard letter and use the contains letter filter for the must have letters. Obviously at the moment, its a pain for you as the filters are cleared.

    4. Thanks again for the reply. Or better yet, you can just move the tips screen to the menu, and have the main search screen be the search + filters. You could even make the main search box be the same format as the fields on the filter screen, and therefore make the filter screen the search screen. :) yay! I think I finally figured out how sub-anagrams work, so maybe there could be a Setting for "display unused letters in sub-anagrams". (The settings are nicely done!) Look forward to the next version and going Pro. :)

  3. Yep hello again. Two more things:
    1) when you get around to update, please add a URL scheme, so it can be opened via Shortcuts (Open App action):

    2) the dictionary seems to have one bizarre, very long entry. try searching for just "*r". first result starts with "llanfairpwllgwyng…"

  4. Hi again,
    1) I'll have to look into this
    2) Llanfair... is a town in Wales, its famous for its very long name. *r will find any words that contain r, * means 1 or more letters.