Random Rearrangement Rocks!
Imagine you have a line of rocks. Each rock has been given a specific title. In this case, the rocks are labeled after each letter in the English alphabet and then numbers 1-18. The goal is to get the rocks from the current order to the final order (from A-Z, 1-18) in the FEWEST NUMBER OF STEPS POSSIBLE.
1. When you pick up a rock and place it into a new location, the rest of the line of rocks shifts down. Imagine a line of people waiting to pay for candy. If one person cuts another person, the entire line moves back one position.
2. You can pick up a rock (or adjacent rocks) and move it at the same time. You cannot move rocks that are separated in one step.
3. If you pick up multiple rocks, you cannot place them down in a different order than what you picked them up as.
It might be easier to use Microsoft Excel to complete this puzzle as movement of columns follows the rules laid out. For example, using cut and insert. To this end, I've attached an Excel 2003 file that has things prearranged for you.
500 points, but only if your steps are clearly laid out. (Example: Cut Cols D-F, Insert Before Col G). I will keep the question open until an accurate solution is posted and activity is minimized.
If you have any questions, please ask. Happy solving!