Picross Glossary

There are many Picross variants that come with their own jargon. While some terms are not universally shared, the following are the ones in use on this website, derived primarily from the Jupiter-developed Picross games.


Picross is one of many names for a class of puzzle known primarily as “nonograms.” These puzzles involve using numeric clues to color in squares in a grid and reveal a picture. They are sort of like a more mathematical version of a crossword or a more spatial version of a Sudoku.

The most common version of Picross is monochromatic, with each square either being filled in or blank. In this version, the numeric clues tell you how many squares are in each contiguous group of filled in squares in each row or column, and in what order.

For more information, see “Nonogram” on Wikipedia.

Color Picross

A class of multicolored Picross variant in which each square can be filled with one of several different colors.

In some versions, the numeric clues represent ordered groups similar to standard picross, but each number also bears a color. In others, the numeric clues instead tell you the total number of squares in each row or column of each color and whether the squares of that specific color are contiguous.

Normal and Free

Digital Picross games have two main rule sets that differ in how the game responds when the player incorrectly colors a square.

In Normal play, the mistake is immediately corrected and a penalty is applied - generally to the puzzle’s play timer, but some games instead track number of mistakes made. (This is also sometimes referred to as “answer auto-check”.)

In Free play, the mistake is not acknowledged by the game at all, but the puzzle is not considered solved until all squares are correctly colored or left blank.

Free play more closely resembles the experience of doing a paper Picross puzzle, but can make it very difficult to recover from errors if the player doesn’t catch them immediately. Normal play guarantees mistakes are caught right away, but takes away the player’s ability to notice and correct their own mistakes. Consequently, beginners may prefer to play with Normal rules while Free rules are more suited to experienced players.

Mega Picross

A Picross variant in which some numeric clues span multiple rows or columns.

The strategies for solving such puzzles differ somewhat from standard Picross and this is generally considered an advanced form of play. Some games will present standard and mega versions of the same puzzles.


A Picross variant that nests multiple layers of puzzles in order to create an especially large or complex image.

The player first solves a standard Picross puzzle that represents a zoomed out and simplified view of the image and then zooms in to each colored square to solve another standard Picross puzzle that represents a higher-detail view on that portion of the larger image. Only when all such puzzles are finished is the overall image and Micross puzzle truly complete.

Hint Roulette

A randomly selected row and column are filled in automatically by the game at the start of the puzzle.

This is an assist feature and is generally optional.

Hint-Number Auto-Check

Numeric clues that the player has fully and unambiguously accounted for will be grayed-out or hidden to indicate that they player is done with them and may focus on the others.

This is an assist feature and is generally optional.

? Navigation

Rows or columns that the player has enough information to fill in further are highlighted, guiding the player’s attention as they progress through the puzzle.

This is an assist feature and is generally optional.

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