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Generating random numbers

From: Excel 2010 Power Shortcuts

Video: Generating random numbers

For a lot of people the term random number might sound a bit obscure, but it is a mathematical capability that has at least two good uses for wide applicability in Excel. One might be in the following situation. You might have a database. Now it could be about people, it might be about inventory, it might be about sales. Here and there and certain kinds of lists, you want to randomize the order. Maybe you have a certain primitive way of spot checking some data, your own idea of quality control.

Generating random numbers

For a lot of people the term random number might sound a bit obscure, but it is a mathematical capability that has at least two good uses for wide applicability in Excel. One might be in the following situation. You might have a database. Now it could be about people, it might be about inventory, it might be about sales. Here and there and certain kinds of lists, you want to randomize the order. Maybe you have a certain primitive way of spot checking some data, your own idea of quality control.

How do we take this list and randomize it? Either add an empty column on the right- hand side or left side, it doesn't make any difference, and even though that doesn't say random, I am just going to type in random here just a small indicator here. We are going to be putting in a random number here that will actually allow us to sort. So one function is called =rand(). It's one of those functions that has parenthesis, but nothing between them so we need to only type the left one. We can press Ctrl+Enter here. It might look like that. We don't care what it looks like really. Double-click the lower right-hand corner.

If we were to see this, we could press comma if we wanted to but that's not critical. But this function simply generates a random number between 0 and 1. If we click anywhere in here is to the right of our data here, we will simply for a quick sort, click the Data tab > AZ. We have randomized this list. It is in no particular order at all. Although I probably wouldn't imagine doing this whole lot with a list of this type, here and there it makes good sense to randomize the order of the list. So that's one use of a function called Rand.

Now if you need to create sample data, and I suspect I do this more than a lot of people, but we might want to be testing out some formulas, we might want to be testing out some data, maybe what we would like to have here are some salaries or any kind of number you might imagine. If you want to generate whole numbers, and you could do this for a whole cluster of cells at once, you want to type =RANDBETWEEN. Now with any function if you start to type it and you see the pop-up list if you see it here you can certainly click it and press Tab there we go, and now what? I want a bunch of random numbers here. I am thinking of salaries, so I have got a group of them here starting at 30,000, comma, as high as 80,000 in this list is fine. That's it.

Enter, or in the case here if we want just to go into multiple cells, Ctrl+Enter. So we have got a bunch of random salaries. The other thing about this that might fool you though. If you were to click somewhere and maybe start putting in your headings or something like that you know, maybe this is for a certain city or whatever, as I press Enter watch these numbers. They all got regenerated. So if you create random numbers this way and want to use them for your sample data or whatever, right after or actually you don't have to do right after, but at some point here you might want to freeze these numbers and a good quick way to do this is to use one of our top ten tips where we simply take this data and with the right mouse button, drag any edge into another column and then right back on top of it and copy here as values only.

So we have turned these into pure values. Here and there when you need to create random numbers, whole numbers, you can easily do this with the function called RANDBETWEEN.

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This video is part of

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Excel 2010 Power Shortcuts

64 video lessons · 18840 viewers

Dennis Taylor
Author

 
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  1. 1m 37s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. Using the exercise files
      20s
  2. 22m 45s
    1. Entering data or formulas in non-adjacent cells simultaneously
      2m 28s
    2. Converting formulas to values with a simple drag
      2m 34s
    3. Copying data or formulas down a column instantly
      2m 56s
    4. Adjusting all or selected column widths or row heights in a flash
      2m 21s
    5. Instantly displaying all worksheet formulas
      3m 16s
    6. Two quick shortcuts for creating charts
      1m 18s
    7. Print Preview
      1m 7s
    8. Instant date or time entry
      1m 16s
    9. Undo/Redo/Repeat
      3m 19s
    10. Zooming in and out quickly
      2m 10s
  3. 7m 37s
    1. Expanding and collapsing the Ribbon and Full Screen view
      1m 23s
    2. Keyboard command access
      2m 22s
    3. Quick Access toolbar display tips
      3m 52s
  4. 14m 30s
    1. Split screens and frozen titles in a flash
      5m 56s
    2. Repeating title creation and suppression
      6m 17s
    3. Customizing your display of Status Bar totals
      2m 17s
  5. 11m 31s
    1. Navigation shortcuts
      2m 30s
    2. Tips for navigating between workbooks
      3m 48s
    3. Navigating within worksheets
      5m 13s
  6. 11m 12s
    1. Selecting an entire row, column, or worksheet
      3m 20s
    2. Selecting noncontiguous ranges and visible cells only
      4m 39s
    3. Selecting the current region and moving around region corners
      3m 13s
  7. 22m 16s
    1. Accelerating data entry
      6m 27s
    2. Auto-Fill techniques for entering dates
      4m 59s
    3. Auto-Fill techniques for entering times
      2m 37s
    4. Custom lists for rapid entry
      5m 54s
    5. Cell editing tips
      2m 19s
  8. 12m 38s
    1. Copy/Move acceleration tips
      3m 27s
    2. Worksheet Copy/Move shortcuts
      2m 29s
    3. Dragging and inserting variations
      3m 47s
    4. Instantly displaying Paste Special options
      2m 55s
  9. 29m 31s
    1. Rapid formula creation
      3m 48s
    2. Selecting all cells that depend on the active cell
      5m 24s
    3. Selecting all cells that can affect the active cell
      2m 38s
    4. AutoSum shortcuts
      2m 57s
    5. Rounding shortcuts
      5m 14s
    6. Generating random numbers
      3m 16s
    7. Counting unique entries
      3m 11s
    8. Performing calculations without formulas
      3m 3s
  10. 17m 4s
    1. Controlling rows and columns
      5m 50s
    2. Realigning imported text
      2m 27s
    3. Handling blank cells
      4m 20s
    4. Collapsing and expanding detail
      4m 27s
  11. 28m 8s
    1. Formatting numbers
      6m 49s
    2. Aligning data
      3m 49s
    3. Adding background color for readability
      3m 43s
    4. Formatting data conditionally
      1m 54s
    5. Creating custom formats
      6m 23s
    6. Formatting periods over 24 hours
      3m 2s
    7. Applying strikethroughs and borders
      2m 28s
  12. 25m 46s
    1. Sorting shortcuts
      2m 40s
    2. Cleaning up spaces
      4m 47s
    3. Identifying duplicates
      6m 10s
    4. Splitting columns
      3m 57s
    5. Ensuring unique entries
      2m 46s
    6. Forcing dates to be weekdays only
      3m 56s
    7. Displaying unique items from large lists
      1m 30s
  13. 18m 38s
    1. Placing and adjusting charts
      2m 37s
    2. Creating chart titles from cell content
      2m 22s
    3. Creating and manipulating shapes
      5m 31s
    4. Linking and unlinking pictures
      8m 8s
  14. 9s
    1. Goodbye
      9s

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