A metal (Au) wire network, nearly invisible to the naked eye, has been realized on common substrates such as glass, to serve as a transparent conducting electrode (TCE). The process involves coating a TiO2 nanoparticle dispersion to a film thickness of 10 m, which following solvent evaporation, spontaneously forms a crackle network; the film is then used as a sacrificial template for metal deposition. The TCE thus formed exhibited visible transmittance of 82% and sheet resistance of 3-6 /square for a metal fill factor of 7.5%. With polyethylene terephthalate substrate, flexible and robust TCE could be produced and with quartz, the spectral range could be widened to cover UV and IR regions. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.