# H S R ’

```Benjamin Popp
HOW TO SOLVE A RUBIK’S CUBE
A GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS
Benjamin Popp
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
Introduction .
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Before you Begin
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Solving the Upper Layer
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Solving the Middle Layer
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Solving the Bottom Layer
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Appendix A:
Pattern Quick Reference
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Appendix B:
Extended Lower Layer Patterns
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Appendix C:
Internet References .
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How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
Introduction
This instruction set will help any beginner solve the Rubik’s Cube. The Cube can be intimidating
to people who do not understand it, but it is easier to solve than it looks. With this guide and a
little practice you can solve the Rubik’s Cube in less than five minutes.
The Cube will be solved in three basic tasks: solving the top layer, solving the middle layer, and
solving the bottom layer. The process of solving the Cube is the simplest when broken into
these three sections.
Things You Will Need
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The Rubik’s Cube or other off-brand Cube puzzle.
This guide makes the most sense when you actually have a Cube available. If you
do not have a Cube with you, it might be a good idea to wait and try using this
guide once you have a Cube.
Time
The first time solving the Cube with this guide could take about an hour. Once
you are accustom to the notation and the general steps, solving the cube will
become a faster and more natural process.
This Guide
The first time through, this guide will be very helpful. The second time you
might only need the figures; Appendix A is a condensed solution set for the
middle and lower layers.
Note:
What if something doesn’t
work quite right?
All notes and tips to help along the way
will appear in a box with a yellow
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
Common problems are solved in boxes
with a blue header like this one.
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Benjamin Popp
Before You Begin
Figure i: 6 Center Cubies
Over the years, the Rubik’s Cube solving community created
standard notation and words to talk about the Rubik’s Cube.
This guide will use the standard notation as described below.
Cubie
One of the miniature cubes in a Rubik’s Cube
Center Cubie One of the six fixed centers with one visible
color (Figure i)
Corner Cubie One of the eight rotating cubies with three
visible colors (Figure ii)
Edge Cubie One of the twelve rotating cubies with two
visible colors (Figure iii)
Face
One side of the cube; the White face is the
face with a White center, the Up face is the
face with the center directed upward, etc.
(Figure iv)
Layer
All the cubies that are on a face; the upper
layer is the nine cubies with colors on the Up
face, the front layer is the nine cubies with
colors on the front face, etc.
Turn
Moving the cube in your hands, but not
changing the cube in any way. Usually this will
keep the same face on top and change the
front and side faces.
Twist
Changing a face with respect to the other
faces.
______________________
Figure ii: 8 Corner Cubies
______________________
The six faces are defined as:
(U)p,
(D)own,
(L)eft,
(R)ight,
(F)ront, and
(B)ack
Figure iii: 12 Edge Cubies
In this guide, all figures will appear with six sides, three of
which are seen as if mirrors were around the cube. The
three connected sides will always be the Up face, Front face,
and Right face. Cubies that are not important for a specific
step will appear in gray to simplify the figures.
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
Use the pattern from the
Figure…
Note:
During certain steps you will be asked to
perform a pattern in a Figure. This pattern
will always be found directly below its
Figure and is written in parenthesis. A
capital letter means to twist a face
clockwise; a capital letter with an
apostrophe (‘) means to twist that face
counterclockwise; a capital letter with the
number two (2) after it means twist that
face twice.
For example:
( U F’ R2 )
Twisting a face does not change the
colors on that face; it changes the
colors on the faces around it.
Which way is clockwise
for a face?
Look directly at a face and imagine a
clock on it, then twist that face in the
direction the hands of the clock would
move. Notice that this means that if
you are looking at the Front face of
the Cube, the Up face clockwise and
Down face clockwise appear to be
opposite directions.
The above translates to twisting the Up face
clockwise, the Front face counterclockwise,
and the Right face twice.
Figure iv: The Six Faces
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
Task I: Solving the Upper Layer
If you have not scrambled your Cube, do so now. Before you begin this task your Cube must be
in total disarray. It will not stay scrambled very long; soon your Cube will have all of the White
face solved and half of the Red, Blue, Orange, and Green faces solved. Also make sure you have
read the “Before You Begin” section and you understand the basic Rubik’s Cube vocabulary.
1. Turn the Cube so the white face is the Up face.
Figure 1.5A
Note:
you want, but this guide is easier to
understand if you solve White first.
The White Cross
(R)
2. Find the white-red edge cubie.
3. If that cubie is in the upper layer the lower layer, turn
the Cube until the cubie on the Front face and twist
the Front face either direction. This places the cubie
in the middle layer.
______________________
Figure 1.5B
4. Turn the Cube so the cubie is in the Front and Right
sides.
5. If the cubie has white on the Front face, twist the
Right face clockwise (Figure 1.5A). If the cubie has
white on the Right face, twist the Front face
counterclockwise (Figure 1.5B).
( F’ )
My colors are laid out different from yours!
Most modern Rubik’s Cubes have White opposite Yellow, Red opposite
Orange, and Green opposite Blue. If your colors are different, you can still
use this guide; just look at the introduction section and decide which of
your colors is which based on the center cubies.
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
6. Repeat steps 2-5 for the white-green
edge cubie; before step 5, twist the
Up face so the green cubie will be
placed next to the red cubie (Figure
1.6).
Note:
If you have trouble getting white edges
into the upper layer correctly, just try all
the possibilities. If a twist produces an
undesired effect, undo that twist and try
twisting the Up face before continuing.
7. Repeat steps 2-5 for the whiteorange edge cubie, placing it beside
the white-green cubie (Figure 1.7).
My centers line up
wrong in step 9!
8. Repeat steps 2-5 for the white-blue
edge cubie, placing it beside the
white-red cubie (Figure 1.8).
Some of your white edges are in the
wrong place. See the note above.
9. Twist the Up face to align the four
white edge cubies with the four side
center cubies (Figure 1.9).
Figure 1.6
Figure 1.7
Figure 1.8
Figure 1.9
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
The White Corners
Note:
Figure 1.10
Do NOT choose a white corner cubie
that is already in place with white on
the Up face in step 10. You know a
cubie is in place when its colors match
the centers around it.
10. Choose two adjacent sides, such as red and blue.
Find a corner cubie with those colors and white. If it
is in the upper layer, turn the Cube so the cubie is in
the Front-Right-Up corner and use the pattern in
Figure 1.10 to move it to the bottom layer.
11. Twist the Down face to place the cubie directly
beneath its desired location.
( R’ D’ R )
______________________
Figure 1.12
12. Turn the Cube so the cubie is in the Front-Right-Down
corner and perform the pattern in Figure 1.12
continuously until the piece is correctly positioned.
13. Repeat steps 10-12 for each of the four white corner
pieces.
( D’ R’ D R )
The pattern in Figure 11 was unhelpful…
Those four twists will get the piece where it needs to go in
the direction it needs to be, but you might need to use the
pattern up to five times before the piece is correct. Also
make sure you are twisting the faces the right way; clockwise
for the Down face is opposite of clockwise for the Up face.
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
Figure 1.14
14. Double check to make sure the Cube
looks like the Figure 1.14 before
moving on.
The upper layer completed
When you made it this far, take a deep
breath and relax a little; you just finished
one third of the Rubik’s Cube! That is
farther than most people can get.
If you have time, go ahead and mix up the
Cube and solve the first layer again. Take
this opportunity to become comfortable
with how the cubies move together; the
more you understand the Cube, the easier it
is to work through the next two layers. Try
to understand how the patterns listed in
Figures 1.10 and 1.11 work instead of just
memorizing them; it will make Cube solving
more natural and less mechanical.
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
Note:
The method detailed here is just one
of many ways to solve the first layer.
If you want to solve the Cube for
speed, solving the upper layer should
become natural so you can focus on
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Benjamin Popp
Task II: Solving the Middle Layer
Note:
This layer involves more complex patterns
than the upper layer, but also only involves
four cubies. From this point on, be careful
applying the patterns; messing up a pattern
could force you back to solving the upper
layer.
The middle layer is the eight cubies
between the upper and the lower
layer, NOT the eight cubies between
the front layer and the back layer or
the right layer and the left layer.
1. Find an edge cubie in the bottom
layer with no yellow side.
Figure 2.4A
2. Twist the Down face so the cubie’s
side color is under the center of the
same color.
3. Look at the color on the bottom of
the cubie to decide if the cubie
should go up and left or up and
right.
( D’ R’ D R D F D’ F’ )
_________________________
4. Perform the pattern in Figure 2.4A
to move the cubie up and right, or
perform the pattern in Figure 2.4B
to move the cubie up and left.
Figure 2.4B
5. Repeat steps 1-4 for each of the four
middle layer edge cubies.
You should now have at least six colors
correct on the four side faces as well as the
whole white face. Take another deep
breath; you will soon conquer the Rubik’s
Cube.
( D F D’ F’ D’ R’ D R )
All the edges in the bottom layer have yellow sides!
First make sure you are looking at the edges, not the corners. Use one of the patters in
Figures 2.4A and 2.4B to push a yellow edge cubie into the middle layer. This will pull a
cubie you need back to the bottom layer where you can apply one of the patterns again.
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
Figure 3.2
The bottom layer is the most reliant on
patterns; this is because you must be
careful not to ruin your work from the first
two layers while fixing the third layer.
1. Turn the entire cube over so the
yellow face is the Up face and the
white face is the Down face.
( F U R U’ R’ F’ )
Orienting the Yellow Cross
Figure 3.5
2. If you can turn the Cube to make it
3. Apply the pattern from Figure 3.2 to
the Cube. The front face color is
4. Turn the Cube to make it look like
Figure 3.2 and aply the pattern from
Figure 3.2.
5. If you do not have the yellow cross
Note:
The patterns used to solve the bottom layer are
freely available online from many websites and
are considered public domain. Appendix C lists
the website of Lars Petrus, the only known human
creator of some of these patterns.
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
Note:
The purpose of the next section is to get all the yellow corner cubies between the
center cubies with the same colors. For example, you want the fellow-green-orange
cubie between the yellow, green, and orange centers. It is not important for yellow to
face up on all of the corner cubies; just get the corners between the right centers.
Positioning the Yellow Corners
Figure 3.8
6. Choose a color from one of the four
sides: red, green, blue, or orange.
Make sure there are two yellow
corner cubies of the chosen color in
the same side layer. For example, in
Figure 3.8, both yellow-green corner
cubies are on the right layer.
7. Twist the Up face to allign those two
cubies with the center that shares
their color.
( L’ U R U’ L U R’ U2 )
8. If those two cubies need to switch
places, turn the Cube so both cubies
are on the Right face, then use the
pattern in Figure 3.8.
9. Repeat steps 6 through 8 for the
color on the opposite side of the
Cube. For example, if you chose
green first, repeat the steps for blue.
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
Note:
The pattern in Figure 3.11 rotates three corner cubies at a time and can be difficult to
use. Due to this complexity, there is a little guess-and-check in the next section. If you
have trouble passing this step, Appendix B lists patterns for all possible configurations
for the yellow face. Go directly to step 13 if you use one of those patterns instead.
Finishing the Yellow Face
Figure 3.11
step 13. If the yellow face has
exactly one yellow corner cubie
Otherwise, turn the cube so the
cubie in the up-front-left corner
does NOT have fellow facing up.
Configuration A
11. Use the pattern in Figure 3.11, then
not look like either configuration in
Figure 3.11.
Configuration B
12. Turn the Cube so the cubie in the
up-front-left corner has yellow
facing up and perform the attern in
Figure 3.11 until the fellow face is
solid (you may have to use the
pattern twice).
( R U R’ U R U2 R’ U2 )
13. Twist the Up face to align all the
corner cubies and make sure the
colors line up with the colors in the
other two layers. If some corner
cubies have the wrong colors on
their sides, you made a mistake
step 6.
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
Figure 3.14
Finishing the Side Faces
14. If one of the four side faces is
solved, turn the Cube to make the
side face the Left face.
15. Use the pattern in Figure 3.14, then
might have to do this up to three
times.
( R2 U F B’ R2 F’ B U R2 )
Congratulations! You just solved the
Rubik’s Cube. Now that you understand the
process, you might try doing it again using
just Appendix A. If you’re interested in
learning to solve the Cube faster, start
working with Appendix B for an extended
set of lower layer patterns or Appendix C
for internet references.
Note:
Appendix B lists more patterns for
solving the bottom layer. It can be
solved using only these four; however,
the more cases you remember, the
faster you can solve the cube.
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
Appendix A: Pattern Quick Reference
( D’ R’ D R D F D’ F’ )
( D F D’ F’ D’ R’ D R )
( F U R U’ R’ F’ )
( L’ U R U’ L U R’ U2 )
( R U R’ U R U2 R’ U2 )
( R2 U F B’ R2 F’ B U R2 )
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
Appendix B: Extended Lower Layer Patterns
Yellow Face Patterns
V - Fix
cosune
sune cosune
F U R U’ R’ F’
R’ U’ R U’ R’ U2 R
R U R’ U R U2 R2 U’ R U’ R’ U2 R
Line - Fix
double sune
bruno
F R U R’ U’ F’
R U R’ U R U’ R’ U R U2 R’
R’ U2 R2 U R2 U R2 U2 R’
sune
anti-cosune anti-sune
triple sune
R U R’ U R U2 R’
R’ U2 R U R’ U R2 U2 R’ U’ R U’ R’
R U R’ U R U’ R’ U R U’ R’ U R U2 R’
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
Yellow Edge Patterns
Clockwise 3-Spin
Counterclockwise 3-Spin
R2 U F B’ R2 F’ B U R2
U’ R2 U2 R2 U2 R2 U R2 U2 R2 U2 R2
Reverse Pair Switch
R2 U’ F B’ R2 F’ B U’ R2
R U R’ U R’ U’ R’ U R U’ R’ U’ R2 U R U2
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
Appendix C: Internet References
http://www.cubestation.co.uk/cs2/index.php?page=3x3x3/cfop/f2l/f2l
Dan’s Cube Station provides information about solving the Rubik’s Cube using the F2L, or First2-Layers method. Instead of solving the cube layer by layer, the F2L solves the cube by fixing
the first two layers at the same time. It can be much faster than the method listed in this
document. However, there are also many more patterns to remember.
http://lar5.com/cube/
The website above explains the Petrus method for solving the Rubik’s Cube, invented by Lars
Petrus. While fundamentally different from the method outlined here (Petrus begins by
creating a 2x2 Cube and expands it), the last section of the solution is very similar. Petrus also
invented the Sune pattern used in this document and the Niklas pattern which appears in
Figure 3.4.
http://www.geocities.com/rubiks_galaxia/PLL.html
The Permutation Last Layer is a system for speeding up the lower layer by adding more patterns
to move all the lower layer cubies at the same time. With this system, you would skip step 4-6
of the lower layer and just solve the face; then use one of the patterns listed on the web page
above to move all the cubies to their proper positions, solving the entire last layer in only three
steps.
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube
A Guide for Beginners
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Benjamin Popp
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