Quick, clean, and to the point

Random text values

Excel formula: Random text values
Generic formula 

To quickly fill a range of cells with random text values, you can use a formula based on the CHOOSE and RANDBETWEEN functions.

In the example shown, the formula in C5 is:


Which returns a random color from the values provided.


The CHOOSE function provides the framework for this formula. Choose takes a single numeric value as its first argument (index_number), and uses this number to select and return one of the values provides as subsequent arguments, based on their numeric index.

In this case, we are using four values: Red, Blue, Green, and Pink, so we need to give CHOOSE a number between 1 and 4.

To generate this number, we use RANDBETWEEN, a function that returns a random integer between a bottom and top value. Since we are only working with 4 values in CHOOSE, we supply 1 for the bottom number and 4 for the top number.

When this formula is copied down, it will return one of the four colors.

Note that RANDBETWEEN will calculate a new value whenever the worksheet is changed. Once you have values in the range, you may want to replace the formulas with values to prevent further changes.

Dave Bruns

Excel Formula Training

Formulas are the key to getting things done in Excel. In this accelerated training, you'll learn how to use formulas to manipulate text, work with dates and times, lookup values with VLOOKUP and INDEX & MATCH, count and sum with criteria, dynamically rank values, and create dynamic ranges. You'll also learn how to troubleshoot, trace errors, and fix problems. Instant access. See details here.

Download 100+ Important Excel Functions

Get over 100 Excel Functions you should know in one handy PDF.