How to Find Waldo

Three Methods:Knowing What to Look ForUsing Analysis to Find WaldoPlaying Other Waldo Games

Waldo is a cartoon character in a well-known book series called “Where’s Waldo” by Martin Handford. Each two-page spread challenges the reader to find Waldo in a sea of people in an adventurous and fun scene. Some people claim they’ve developed methods to help you find Waldo fast.

Method 1
Knowing What to Look For

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    Spot Waldo’s clothes. In the beloved “Where’s Waldo” books by Martin Handford, readers are supposed to look for a cartoon man named Waldo. Knowing what to look for is where you must start.[1]
    • Waldo wears a red-striped shirt and a red-striped hat. Be careful, though, because the illustrator has planted other people with red stripes in an attempt to fool you. There should be a picture of Waldo on the cover of the books.
    • Create a picture of Waldo in your “mind’s eye” by studying his picture for a few minutes. This helps your brain seek out similar colors and images in the pages.[2]
    • Waldo also has round black glasses, and a walking stick/brown wooden cane with a curved top.[3]Waldo wears brown work boots.[4]
    • Waldo wears blue jeans with pockets. He has short brown hair with longer bangs that are swept to the right. He usually has a smile on his face.[5]
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    Focus on landmarks. One technique that can be effective is to focus on landmarks where Waldo might be hiding out, rather than just wildly looking around.
    • Look around landmarks like a castle moat or a blimp or other central elements to the scene. Waldo often carries objects with him. This could be a camera, camping gear, a teacup, or any other relevant accessory. Sometimes, looking for these things on the page will lead you right to Waldo!
    • Handford has said that he didn’t strive to be purely random when choosing where to put Waldo. Instead, he said that he puts “Wally when I come to what I feel is a good place to hide him.”
    • Most of the Waldo books also contain a postcard from Waldo in the top left hand corner of the left page when you open a two-page spread. Waldo is never hidden here.
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    Know where else Waldo is not. Various studies have found that there are some places Waldo almost never appears on the page.
    • Waldo is almost never spotted in the page’s top left hand corner. He is rarely located on the edges of pages, and he is never found on the bottom of the right page.
    • Waldo is called different names around the world. He is Ubaldo in Italy, Jonas in Lithuania, Walter in Germany, Wally in the UK and Australia, and Van Lang in Vietnam.[6]
    • Have fun with it! Challenge yourself by scanning the page, and seeing how long it takes you to find Waldo without extra help.[7]

Method 2
Using Analysis to Find Waldo

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    Look near the middle area of the page. A graduate student named Randal S. Olson used computer science to create a way to find Waldo in each of the seven books in the “Where’s Waldo” series.
    • Olson charted where Waldo appears in each of the books. He found that Waldo is usually not found in the left corner or around the edges of pages. The bottom part of the right page is somewhere Waldo never appears.[8]
    • Olson even created a heat map that included a line for you to follow if you want to increase your chances of finding Waldo. It’s rather complex, but you can find it online.[9]
    • Olson claimed he could find Waldo in 10 seconds, and sometimes even less than that. Start at the bottom half of the left page. Then move your way up to the middle and then down the right side of the page.
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    Look in the middle bands of the page. Others have also tried to study Waldo’s hiding spots looking for patterns to help readers. They too have found that Waldo is often found near, although not exactly at, the page's middle.
    • Waldo is not hiding all of the time in any single one corner of a page. He found that Waldo is rarely in the right hand corner at the top of the right page. In general, Waldo is not found as often near the bottom or top of a page.
    • However, more than half of the time, Waldo is hiding within one of two 1.5-inch tall bands. The first one is located three inches from the page’s bottom. The other one is seven inches from the bottom. Waldo is also not likely to be found in the middle of the page, but just above or below it in one of these two bands.
    • Both of these bands stretch from one end of the page to the other when the book is open wide. Start by studying these areas to increase your chances of finding Waldo quickly. He is not always located there; he is just located there more often.
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    Find other characters. Initially, Waldo was the only character to find in each scene, but as more books have been created, other characters were added.
    • Wally or Waldo has a friend named Wilma who appeared in the Ultimate Fun Book. Her twin sister replaced her in Where’s Wally: The Magnificent Poster Book.
    • Odlaw opposes Wally. He looks a lot like Wally, but he wears yellow and black striped clothes. His glasses are blue tinted, and he has a mustache.
    • Wally has a dog named Woof, who shows up in the Ultimate Fun Book. The Wizard Whitebeard is a background character who often goes along on Wally’s travels. You might find Waldo located near these characters.

Method 3
Playing Other Waldo Games

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    Look online. Waldo is a cottage industry of his own. In addition to puzzles and the books, you can find online Waldo riddles and games.[10]
    • It works the same way; you are given a complicated photo that includes a sea of people and are tasked with spotting Waldo.
    • Sometimes you will be given a multiple sentence riddle containing clues as to his location.
    • Waldo is often harder to spot because the illustrator uses colors to fool you. For example, don’t assume he’s in the seas of red you see.
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    Download a Waldo app. There are Waldo apps you can download on the Android and iOS smart phones. The newest apps are free.[11]
    • The plot involves a twister that has torn through the countryside, and you must locate Waldo and other hidden objects that the twister has scattered about, or they will be lost in the sea.
    • Unusual stories accompany each new land. You will use a map to visit each of the lands, and will earn coins as you find the objects in them.
    • The coins are used to unlock new lands. The game is called Waldo & Friends. One downside of it is that it contains ads. The positive is that if you are done with all of the Waldo books, there are plenty of other places you can find Waldo!
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    Use tricks to find Waldo in the app. You can increase your chances of finding Waldo in the app with a few quick strategies.[12]
    • Try playing the same scene again and again so you figure out where objects are placed, and you will be able to find them when you play again.
    • When you find an object, don’t tap it right away. If you find more objects nearby and tap them to get combos, you will end up with a higher final score.
    • Save bones for really tough scenarios because you can use them to instantly find an item. Wait until the final star of the game because they’re hard to get.
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    Look at the scenery in which Waldo appears. Look for the colors that stand out in Waldo's clothes, or look for the hat. These items will either be differently colored from the surrounding scenery or will stand out as something out of context.
    • Watch out for Waldo lookalikes! Often, there will be Waldo impostors in red-and-white striped shirts or glasses, there to trick you into thinking you've found Waldo.
    • Be sure to look closely at the image you find to make sure it's the true Waldo.
    • Look for "extras." Often, scanning for the bonus items on each page, you'll uncover Waldo along the way! It's a two-for-one that can save many valuable minutes in your day.


  • Waldo makes a good Halloween costume.
  • Although finding Waldo is hard enough, at the end of the book are more challenges harder than finding Waldo.
  • Sometimes, if you're lucky, you can just put your finger down in any place and you'll find Waldo.
  • If you're older, it might help to wear reading glasses when trying to find Waldo!


  • No matter how much you convince yourself, Waldo will not find you.

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Categories: Books