### Generating Random Numbers, Dates or Letters

Quite often I am asked to create dashboards without having the actual data. When I am presented with this dilemma, I will create dummy data to use in lieu of the real data.
To generate numeric and date data, I often will use the =RANDBETWEEN formula.
The different between Excel’s RAND formula and RANDBETWEEN is that you can determine the start and end points for the random number to be generated.
=RANDBETWEEN(Starting Number, Ending Number)
RANDOM NUMBERS
In this example I use the RANDBETWEEN formula to generate numbers between 100 and 500.
 Formula Results =RANDBETWEEN(100,500) 350 =RANDBETWEEN(100,500) 217 =RANDBETWEEN(100,500) 491 =RANDBETWEEN(100,500) 183

RANDOM DATES
The RANDBETWEEN formula only returns integers so you can’t directly generate dates. However you can add a random number generated with this formula to a date column to generate a date. In this example I generate a random number and add that to the start data of my criteria (1/1/2012). The random number increments the date by the number of days that the random number represents.
 Formula for Random Number Random Number Starting Date Random Date Random Date Formula =RANDBETWEEN(100,365) 114 1/1/2012 4/24/2012 =C2+B2 =RANDBETWEEN(100,365) 268 1/1/2012 9/25/2012 =C3+B3 =RANDBETWEEN(100,365) 328 1/1/2012 11/24/2012 =C4+B4 =RANDBETWEEN(100,365) 142 1/1/2012 5/22/2012 =C5+B5

You can also use the following formula to pick a random date keyed off of the current date. In this example I am looking for a day within 30 days of the present date:
=TODAY() + RANDBETWEEN(0,30)
=TODAY() - RANDBETWEEN(0,30)
Using the same logic, you can select a date in or within the last year you could use the following formula:
=TODAY() + RANDBETWEEN(0,365)
=TODAY() - RANDBETWEEN(0,365)
RANDOM LETTERS
So how do we generate letters using the RANDBETWEEN formula? Return the Character specified by the code number from the character set on your computer.
=CHAR(RANDBETWEEN(65,90))   - returns one uppercase letter
=CHAR(RANDBETWEEN(97,122))   - returns one lowercase letter
=CHAR(RANDBETWEEN(65,90)) & CHAR(RANDBETWEEN(65,90))   - returns two uppercase letters
FINAL THOUGHTS
I would also like to point out that the number generated is not truly random but for most cases, can be used for generating generic data.