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WHAT - Wolfberg's Helpful Anagramming Tool

WHAT, Wolfberg's Helpful Anagramming Tool, is really a toolbox of integrated powerful tools, with many facilities. An extensive list of its features is available here.

WHAT was announced and demonstrated for the first time at the National Scrabble® Championship 2004 Tournament, held in New Orleans, LA in early August, 2004. It has been in use in the Boston-area Scrabble® clubs since then. This program was a significant update to Mike's ANA program, in use for over 12 years. As of January 23, 2006, WHAT supports the new OWL2 lexicon (including definitions) which began to be be used for North American competitive Scrabble® starting March 1, 2006. There is also an OSPD4 lexicon as of 3-Mar-06, and it has been updated in July, 2007 to correspond with acceptable words for School Scrabble®. Also made available in July, 2007 was a lexicon for Collins Scrabble® Words (CSW) which is now the authority for World competetions; it was later updated in 2012 and 2015. In April, 2009, support for the FISE lexicon for International Spanish Scrabble® was added. In January, 2010 support for the ODS5 lexicon for International French Scrabble® was added. The WJ2 lexicon is supported as of July, 2015. The CSW2015 (Collins Official Scrabble Words 2015 © HarperCollins 2015) lexicon is supported as of September, 2015.

WHAT includes full support for Spanish which includes dealing with the Spanish-only tiles, three of which have double-letters. For now, the user interface employs English - French and Spanish languages are in the lexicons only.

As of WHAT Version 2, the popular 15 x 15 Word Game is supported. The 21 x 21 version of this game is also supported as of July, 2015. You can set up the board with tiles and find all the possible plays with a given rack. You can record and playback games, etc. There has been support for playing the popular 5 x 5 Word Game in English, and this has been also supported for French. As of January, 2010, there is support in English, French, and Spanish for playing a Word-Building Game which is based on a game called Wordsmith, found on some old TIVO DVR sets.

Quick Links

WHAT Availability - Now a Free Program

WHAT is initially available to run on PC computers running MS/Windows®. We expect it will work with most current versions including W95, W98, NT, W2K, and XP, Vista, and Windows 7. We believe it will not work with MS/ Windows® Millennium Edition (ME).

WHAT Version 1.0 was first made available for sale mid-June, 2005. Several updates have been issued since then, with improvements and repairs to the program. It was sold for nearly 10 years and has been loved by some avid users. As of 2015, the program is free, but donations are requested. One area which had gotten much attention over the years was transitioning from OWL1 to OWL2 lexicons. Version 2.0 is the current version of WHAT. As of October, 2006, WHAT has been approved by the NSA for adjudicating challenges at official tournaments.

Visit the Acquiring WHAT page to read about getting the program via downloading on the web.

WHAT Documentation

WHAT is a program with many features, and so its documentation is important. You can, however, begin to use it for many useful anagramming needs without having to master all of the program's facets. At a minimum, you really should look at the introductory tutorial entitled "WHAT's First - Getting Started Using WHAT" and an even shorter one-page blurb "WHAT Common Queries Reference Sheet"; it can indeed fit on one sheet of paper if you print the MS Word form of this blurb, what_common_queries.doc. See the WHAT Documentation page to find out about all the WHAT documents.

On-line help is lacking and is planned, but there is no current estimate for when you will begin to see this. Meanwhile, as mentioned above, you will need to read some amount of introductory material to make sense of using the program. As time goes on, we hope to adjust some of the user interface to enable faster learning.

WHAT Forum

There is a what-users yahoo-groups email group for WHAT users to have discussions and help one another. You can join the list at

Mike's Credentials

Mike Wolfberg is a highly experienced programmer, with several decades of software development experience. Mike's computer use began in the early 1960's, when he was an undergraduate student at M.I.T. After completing his B.S. degree, Mike continued his formal education at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received one of the early Ph.D.'s in Computer Science. Mike has been an expert Scrabble® player since 1980, and he attributes his fast rise to a high level of play to his use of computers, when they were not so prevalent for the game.

WHAT is a relatively large program, initially designed, developed, and documented by Mike in about 1 1/2 years of hard work. Mike has since supported and extended this program extensively, devoting much attention to this project for many years, and he intends to continue with this work into the foreseeable future.

WHAT Flyers

Current flyers can be seen here: front and back. The one-page tutorial on the back uses the OWL3 lexicon.

To communicate with me about WHAT, please send me e-mail at:

back to the top of this page This page, maintained by Mike Wolfberg, was last updated on September 17, 2015 .