Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Generating Double-Digit Random Numbers.

Generating Double-Digit Random Numbers

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 21, 2019)

1

Venkataramanan needs to generate random numbers in the range of -99 to +99, excluding single-digit numbers (-9 to +9). He wonders if there is a way to accomplish the task.

There are a couple of worksheet functions that are often used to generate random numbers in Excel. The RAND function is used to generate a random number between 0 and 1, while the RANDBETWEEN function is used to generate a random number within a range of numbers.

There is no function to do what Venkataramanan wants to do, but you can write a formula that will do the trick. Consider this formula:

=IF(RAND()>0.5,1,-1)*(RANDBETWEEN(10,99))

The first RAND function determines if the result is '+' or '-' and the next RANDBETWEEN function returns the desired number between 10 and 99. When the function is done, you have the desired double-digit random number.

Another formula is similar in nature:

=ROUND(RAND()*89+10,0)*((RAND()<0.5)*2-1)

The first part generates whole numbers in the range of 0 through 89. The formula adds 10 to this, effectively giving a number from 10 to 99. The second part of the formula is then used to randomly determine whether the result should be positive or negative.

Another approach relies entirely on the RANDBETWEEN function and doesn't use any multiplication:

=VALUE(IF(RANDBETWEEN(0,1)=0,"-","")&RANDBETWEEN(1,9)&RANDBETWEEN(0,9))

The formula puts together a string that consists of either a minus sign or a blank followed by two digits. The formula then uses the VALUE function to convert the string to a numeric value. An even shorter version of the formula would be this:

=VALUE(IF(RANDBETWEEN(0,1)=0,"-","")&RANDBETWEEN(10,99))

Another similar formula is the following:

=RANDBETWEEN(10,99)*IF(RANDBETWEEN(0,1),1,-1)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10611) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Generating Double-Digit Random Numbers.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Setting User Information

Need to change the information that Word stores about you? Here's how to find the info.

Discover More

Calculating Time Differences between Two Machines

Want to know how much of a time difference there is between your machine and a different machine? This tip provides some ...

Discover More

Changing Section Headers

Add subtotals to a worksheet and you can instruct Excel to start each new subtotal section on a new printed page. You may ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Counting Wins and Losses

Need to count the number of W (win) or L (loss) characters in a range of cells? You can develop a number of formulaic ...

Discover More

Referring to the Last Cell

It is not unusual to use worksheets to collect information over time. As you keep adding information to the worksheet, ...

Discover More

Moving the House Number to Its Own Cell

Excel is great at manipulating data, but sometimes it is difficult to figure out the best way to do the manipulation. ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 9?

2019-09-21 08:35:01

Bill Parks

A computer scientist or mathematician would point out that these numbers are really not random, but generated algorithmically. Since it was generated, it can be regenerated with the correct parameters, truly random numbers cannot be. Simple semantics for most people, but an actual distinction i f you are using it to generate crypto information like keys.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.