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Sorting lists randomly in Excel

Recently, I needed to sort a list of names in random order. Rather than manually figure out a random sort, I decided to see if Excel could do the sort for me. Guess what - it can! It's a little clunky, but it works.

  • Enter the list of names in an Excel column.
  • Select the column, right-click and choose Insert to insert a new column next to the list of names.

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  • Enter the formula =RAND() into the first cell of the new column.
    • (The RAND function will generate a random number in the cell.)

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  • Copy the =RAND() formula from the first cell to the rest of the cells, until you get to the end of the list of names.
    • (Click on the lower right-hand corner of the cell, and then drag the mouse down to the end of the list.)
  • You will now have a column with random numbers.

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  • Select the column of random numbers.
    • (Go back to the top of the column and click on the column's letter to select the column.)
  • Go to Sort & Filter and choose Sort Smallest to Largest.

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  • You will get a pop-up. Choose Expand the Selection, and click the Sort button.

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  • The list of names will sort in a random order, based on the numbers that were generated by the RAND function.
    • (Note that you can repeat the Sort & Filter process to generate a new random sort.)

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  • You can delete the column of numbers after you are satisfied with the name sorting. 

Comments

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Enjoying the Seussian element in your example!

A great book to use as an example!

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