# Excel Formula Function - Pick a number, name or item at random.

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Excel has two useful volatile functions that will produce random numbers. It has the RAND function, which returns an evenly distributed random number greater than or equal to 0 and less than 1. It also has the RANDBETWEEN function, which returns a random number between the numbers you specify.

*A Volatile function is a function that recalculates when you enter any data into any cell, or take any other action. One of the few exceptions is changing the format of a cell.

For example:

RAND FUNCTION

=RAND()

will produce a random number between 0 and 1. If you want a higher range you can use:

=RAND()*100

If you want only whole numbers you can use:

=INT(RAND()*100)

RANDBETWEEN

=RANDBETWEEN(1,500)

Will produce a random whole number between 1 and 500.

As you can see, both can produce pretty much any sort of random number. But what if you have a list of names and you want to select one at random? It easier than you may think! Follow these simple steps;

1. Enter a list of names in column A
2. Now enter the formula below in the cell you want the random name returned.

=INDEX(\$A:\$A,RANDBETWEEN(1,COUNTA(\$A:\$A)),1)

This will pick a name at random from your list in column A. It will also be dynamic in that when/if you add/remove names from the list they will automatically be included/excluded.

If you have a table of data (more than 1 column) and you wish to select an item at random from the table, you could use:

=INDEX(\$A:\$C,RANDBETWEEN(1,COUNTA(\$A2:\$A65536)),RANDBETWEEN(1,3))

This assumes your table 3 columns wide, hence; \$A:\$C and RANDBETWEEN(1,3) and we do not want row 1 includes as it contains headings, hence; COUNTA(\$A2:\$A65536)

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