Summary

The Excel RAND function returns a random number between 0 and 1. For example, =RAND() will generate a number like 0.422245717. RAND recalculates when a worksheet is opened or changed.

Purpose 

Get a random number between 0 and 1

Return value 

A number between 1 and 0

Arguments 

Syntax 

=RAND()

Usage notes 

The RAND function returns a random decimal number between 0 and 1. For example, =RAND() will generate a number like 0.422245717. The RAND function takes no arguments. RAND recalculates when a worksheet is opened or changed.

Examples

RAND takes no arguments:

=RAND() // returns number like 0.073979356
=RAND() // returns number like 0.080313118

Automatic recalculation

The RAND function will calculate a new result each time a worksheet is edited. To stop random numbers from being updated, copy the cells that contain RAND to the clipboard, then use Paste Special > Values to convert to a static result.

To get a single random number that doesn't change when the worksheet is calculated, enter =RAND() in the formulas bar and then press F9 to convert the formula into its result.

Multiple random numbers

To generate a set of random numbers in multiple cells, select the cells, enter =RAND() and press control + enter. 

Random number between

To generate a random number between a and b, you can use a formula like this:

RAND()*(b-a)+a

For example, to generate a random number between 1 and 9:

RAND()*(9-1)+1

The RANDBETWEEN function can generate random integers between to numbers:

=RANDBETWEEN(1,9) // random number between 1-9

Note: In Excel 365, the RANDARRAY function is another way to generate multiple random numbers, and to generate random numbers between two values.

Notes

  • The RAND function takes no arguments.
  • RAND recalculates whenever a worksheet is opened or changed.
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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.