These examples show how to use the RAND and RANDBETWEEN function to create random numbers or random text in Excel

Use the RAND function to create random numbers in Excel. Then, use a column of random numbers for sorting or extracting records in a table.

To create a random number in a cell, use this formula:

**=RAND()**

To randomly assign numbers or tasks to a group of people, use the RAND function. In this example, there are 5 people, and the numbers 1 to 25.

- Starting in cell A1, type the list of people's names.
- Select all the names, and point to the fill handle, in the bottom right corner.

- When the pointer changes to a black plus sign, drag down to row 25. This will repeat the name list down the column.

- Leave column B blank
- Starting in cell C1, create the list of numbers or tasks to be randomly assigned.
- NOTE: For a sequential list of numbers, type the first two numbers, then select those tw0 numbers, and drag down to row 25.

- In cell D1, type a RAND formula, to create a random number
**=RAND()**

- Fill the RAND formula down to row 25
- Then, right-click on any number in D1:D25, and in the popup menu click Sort, then click Sort Smallest to Largest

- This sorts the list of 1 to 25 in random order
- Finally, delete column D (the RAND formulas), and delete column B (the blank column)
- Each name has a randomly assigned number, from the list of 1 to 25

See how to quickly create test data with month headings, customer numbers, and random numbers, then change the formulas to static values.

Written steps are on the Data Entry Tips page.

Use the RANDBETWEEN function to create random numbers in Excel. When combined with CHOOSE, it can even create random text. See the steps in this video, and the written instructions are below the video.

If you give the RANDBETWEEN function a bottom number, and a top number, it will return a random number within that range.

For example, in the screen shot below, we are creating a set of scores for records in a sample data file.The lowest score should be 30, and the maximum is 100, so this is the formula in cell H2:

**=RANDBETWEEN(30,100)**

Copy the formula down, in column H, to fill in the remaining scores.

The RANDBETWEEN function can only return numbers, so by itself, it can't create a set of random text data. However, you can use RANDBETWEEN inside a CHOOSE formula. to return a random item from a list of values

In this example, we are trying to fill the Gender column, in a sample data file, that will be used for testing. For Gender, there are 2 values two values -- Male and Female -- so the RANDBETWEEN function uses 1 as the bottom value and 2 as the top.

For the Value arguments, each gender is entered, with double quote marks around each value.

**=CHOOSE(RANDBETWEEN(1,2),"Male","Female")**

In this example, the RANDBETWEEN function will be combined with CHOOSE, to return a random Region name in each row of a sample data workbook.

There are 3 regions, so the RANDBETWEEN function uses 1 as the bottom value and 3 as the top.

Instead of typing the region names, you can use absolute references to the cells which contained the region names. Cell references are a better choice if the values are long, or if they'll change frequently.

**=CHOOSE(RANDBETWEEN(1,3),$K$4,$K$5,$K$6)**

The final step in setting up the random data is to copy the columns, and paste them as values. That will lock in the values, so they don't keep changing, as you work in the file.

- Use the mouse to select the columns, then drag to the right, while pressing the RIGHT mouse button.
- Drag the column back to its original location, and let go of the mouse button.
- Then, in the popup menu, click on Copy here as Values Only

- Download the zipped sample Excel RANDBETWEEN Function file

INDEX function and MATCH Function

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Last updated: March 4, 2021 7:34 PM

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