I used data to find the best* starting word in Wordle!

Wordle has become a part of my morning routine. I have a Wordle Whatsapp group with friends, I engage on Twitter. As many have said, it’s a lovely, communal start to the day. The burning question for many is ‘What’s the best opening word?’

I analysed the data to find out. What do I think is the best* opening word? Scroll down to find out….

There are 2,315 possible solutions, hard-coded into the Wordle home page. The best* word contains the letters that are most likely to appear in each position, based on the list of possible solutions.

You can use the interactive explorer below to find your own solutions.

The best* starting word? Below is the five letter word where each letter is the most likely to be in that position in the solution.


* Is this the ‘best’ word? There are other ways to calculate the best, involving much more complex statistical analysis. Those consider how your first choice impacts your subsequent turns. Me? I just chose a solution that optimises your chance of greens in the first turn.

How did I build this?

I downloaded the data from FiveThirtyEight’s The Riddler.

Tableau Prep flow for Wordle data

Then I used Tableau Prep to join the list of all allowed words with possible solutions. I split the words into individual letters and then took the data into Tableau Desktop. The interactive above is hosted on Tableau Public.

Tableau Desktop view of the Wordle word searcher

What’s your solution for solving Wordle? Do you try and pick common starting words, or do you have another? In reality, I try and choose a different word each day. I’ll try CRANE for a few days and see if it helps me get the splendid 3-turn solution!

While you’re here: do subscribe to my newsletter. Every couple of weeks, you’ll get curated commentary on the data zeitgeist. Check out previous editions here.


Add Yours →

I go with a first word using 5 of the letters from “retains” and then second word I try to use the remaining letters plus the other vowels depending on how many greens and yellows are in the first word. All based on which letters are supposed to be best for Scrabble. But might try a different approach after reading this.

Interesting. My thought when I started was to try and maximize the vowels. So I’ve been starting with audio. But I’ll have to give crane a try

Leave a Reply