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

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SEE ALSO: Non Repeating Random Numbers | Random Sampler Excel Add-in | Random Number Generator | Pseudo - Random Number Generator | Monte Carlo Add-In for Excel | Ozgrid Excel Plus Add-in

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)

SEE ALSO: Non Repeating Random Numbers | Random Sampler Excel Add-in | Random Number Generator | Pseudo - Random Number Generator | Monte Carlo Add-In for Excel | Ozgrid Excel Plus Add-in

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