How to Decode a Caesar Box Code

Two Methods:SampleDecoding Instructions

Julius Caesar was one of the first people to write in code. He invented the Caesar cipher, in which each letter is replaced with another letter that's a fixed number of positions down the alphabet. The following cipher is not the Caesar cipher, but rather what cryptographers call a "columnar transposition cipher" or "Caesar's Box" though it is unclear if the code was ever actually used by Caesar.


Caesar Box Code Example

Decoding Instructions

  1. Image titled Decode a Caesar Box Code Step 1
    Count the number of characters in the code. Here we have 16: G T Y O R J O T E O U I A B G T
  2. Image titled Decode a Caesar Box Code Step 2
    Determine how many rows you can divide the letters into equally (Find the square root of the number you found in step 1. If the square root isn't a whole number, round up). We can put 16 into 4 rows of 4 (I.e. the square root of 16 is 4). If we had 25 letters we could put them into 5 rows of 5 (square root of 25 is 5) and so on. In cases where the number doesn't divide so neatly, use the number of rows for the next "boxable" (perfect square) number up. The "boxable" (square) numbers are 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, etc. If the code has 22 letters (square root of 22 is 4.69), the next number up is 25, which would mean 5 rows (4.69 rounds up to 5).
  3. Image titled Decode a Caesar Box Code Step 3
    Write the letters out into rows. With the example given, it'd be written out as such:

  4. Image titled Decode a Caesar Box Code Step 4
    Start from the top left letter and read down, then start at the top of the next column and read down again, and so on. This example has the message: "GREAT JOB YOU GOT IT".
  5. Image titled Decode a Caesar Box Code Intro


  • H U H U
    E D A P
    Y E T
    D W S
  • When turning these codes into "boxes" you won't always have exactly enough letters to make a perfect square. Simply count the letters and which ever perfect square it's closest to, use that number. For example:
  • Here is another example: h a e a n d v i a e c y
  • This will decode as "have a nice day"
  • "Hey dude what's up" is only 14 letters long. The closest number (always round up) is 4x4 = 16. So pretend you have 16 letters... H U H U E D A P Y E T D W S


  • This code is usually not very difficult to decode. Do not put highly important information in this format.
  • Some codes CAN be extremely difficult to decode, BUT:

Article Info

Categories: Codes and Hidden Messaging