Steps to solving the Rubik's cube (3x3x3)

• Legend: Key to Symbols for the Moves Key Cube

The figures in this document represent a sample cube. Although the colors on your personal Rubik's cube may be different than the figures, I feel that the colored figures will still be helpful in solving the cube. I would suggest matching as many colors on your cube as possible to the figures, then making mental notes about which colors correspond between your cube and the figures. For example, perhaps you can match the red, green, and blue sides exactly, but the yellow in the figures corresponds to pink on your cube. Just keep this equivalency in mind when looking at the figures. In addition, I have numbered the middle-center pieces for reference such that 1 and 2 are opposite each other and 3, 4, 5, and 6 go around the cube in a circle. Finally, the diagrams show all six sides of the cube by pretending that mirrors are being held up so that you may see the "hidden" sides. If you have trouble discerning the difference between green and yellow, try this alternative page.

The directions for what parts of the cube to turn and when are given in a code that is relative to the current positioning of the cube. Each side or slice descriptor refers to a side with respect to the figure the move is referenced to. This means that the front side can be a different color, depending on the diagram being used. The code is easy to follow and instructive diagrams are included for each of the moves.

The Letters:
The side descriptors are:

The slice descriptors are:
Although the directions are relative to the current positioning of the cube, the numbers assigned to each side always stay with the same color/side they were originally assigned.
If you are wondering what symbols are used for the bottom, right, and back, I haven't left them out. The main directions do not reference these sides, so I won't assign them symbols.
The Numbers:
The numbers tell you which direction to rotate a given side or slice and how many times to rotate it: 1 for one quarter turn clockwise, -1 for one quarter turn counterclockwise, and 2 for two quarter turns (half way around).
To further clarify this notation, each of the moves has detailed accompanying figures to better describe them. Simple click on a figure to see the moves graphically.

In the figures, any gray pieces represent pieces that don't matter and can be any color. To increase clarity, I have shown a lot of colored pieces. In most cases, the figures represent an example of the situation being described, while the colors don't have to match perfectly, particularly when I describe correctly positioned yet incorrectly rotated pieces. Wherever I have placed numbers on the pieces in the figures, though, they should match up perfectly.

• Step 1: Solve the top side of the cube (Side 1 in the figures)
Figure 1 Pick a middle-center piece to represent the first side of the cube solved (side 1 in the diagrams) and solve that side (make it a solid color). Be sure to have correctly colored and matched edge and corner pieces, such that an evenly colored border exists around the side, as shown in Figure 1.

Hopefully you can accomplish Step 1 without any additional help. It's just a matter of moving pieces out of the way to insert desired pieces in the correct locations. Still, if you would like further help on this, then please visit the Step 1 page.

Go on to Steps 2 and 3

Back to my home page.

Standard Disclaimer

Contact info: I appreciate receiving e-mails describing your success with these directions, but I cannot provide any additional help in solving the Rubik's cube beyond the instructions and steps shown here. Please also e-mail if you have problems accessing a page or seeing a graphic.

Last Modified May 9, 2009