The Moves You Need to Know

Note: The cube images you see below are actually Javascript-enabled.* You can spin them around (to see the other faces of the cube) just by dragging on them. Nifty, eh?

*Thanks to Cube Explorer for this function. Cube Explorer is a Windows program that will generate solutions (and "pretty patterns") to Rubik's Cubes. Let it work and it can get solutions down to only 17 or 18 steps!

First things first

The Rubik's Cube has six faces, but they never move. Each face is determined by the color of the center block on that face. Thus, when I mention "the white face", you'll know that I mean the face with the white block in the middle; it doesn't matter if all the blocks around it are completely messed up.

Each face is named according to its relative position to you. When executing a maneuver, you should always set one face to be the front (F), and follow the steps of the maneuver without changing face. Here's a visual demonstration of faces:

Front: Red (assigned)
Up:
Blue (on top of Red)
Down:
Green (below Red)
Left:
Yellow (on the left side of Red)
Right:
White (on the right side of Red)
Back:
Orange (opposite of Red)

The Moves

To use any Rubik's Cube guide, you're going to have to learn the basic terminology of cube movements. Whenever a special maneuver is given, it is always given in code. This is a general guide to those codes, which you should get to know well if you want any hope of ever solving a Rubik's Cube.

The (U)p Maneuver

One clockwise turn of the top face. Think "screwing a jar".

U' would be one counterclockwise turn, and U2 would be a 180° turn.

The (D)own Maneuver

One clockwise turn of the bottom face. Think "screwing a light bulb".

D' would be one counterclockwise turn, and D2 would be a 180° turn.

The (R)ight Maneuver

One clockwise turn of the right face. Think "feeding a typewriter".

R' would be one counterclockwise turn, and R2 would be a 180° turn.

The (L)eft Maneuver

One clockwise turn of the left face. Think "reeling a fish in".

L' would be one counterclockwise turn, and L2 would be a 180° turn.

The (F)ront Maneuver

One clockwise turn of the front face. Think "screwing a screw".

F' would be one counterclockwise turn, and F2 would be a 180° turn.

The (B)ack Maneuver

One clockwise turn of the back face. Think "changing the oil".

B' would be one counterclockwise turn, and B2 would be a 180° turn.