RAND function

This article describes the formula syntax and usage of the RAND function (function: A prewritten formula that takes a value or values, performs an operation, and returns a value or values. Use functions to simplify and shorten formulas on a worksheet, especially those that perform lengthy or complex calculations.) in Microsoft Excel.

Description

Returns an evenly distributed random real number greater than or equal to 0 and less than 1. A new random real number is returned every time the worksheet is calculated.

Syntax

RAND()

The RAND function syntax has no arguments (argument: A value that provides information to an action, an event, a method, a property, a function, or a procedure.).

Remarks

  • To generate a random real number between a and b, use:
RAND()*(b-a)+a
  • If you want to use RAND to generate a random number but don't want the numbers to change every time the cell is calculated, you can enter =RAND() in the formula bar, and then press F9 to change the formula to a random number.

Example

The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.

ShowHow do I copy an example?

  1. Select the example in this article. If you are copying the example in Excel Online, copy and paste one cell at a time.
    Important: Do not select the row or column headers.

Selecting an example from Help

Selecting an example from Help

  1. Press CTRL+C.
  2. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
  3. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V. If you are working in Excel Online, repeat copying and pasting for each cell in the example.
    Important: For the example to work properly, you must paste it into cell A1 of the worksheet.
  4. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Formulas tab, in the Formula Auditing group, click the Show Formulas button.

After you copy the example to a blank worksheet, you can adapt it to suit your needs.

 
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A B
Formula Description (Result)
=RAND() A random number between 0 and 1 (varies)
=RAND()*100 A random number greater than or equal to 0 but less than 100 (varies)
 
 
Applies to:
Excel 2010, Excel Web App, SharePoint Online for enterprises, SharePoint Online for professionals and small businesses