RAND Function – Google Sheets

The RAND function is used in Google Sheets to generate a random decimal between 0 and 1. 0 is the lowest possible value, but the output must be lower than 1. There are no inputs, unlike most other functions in Google Sheets.

To produce a random integer, consider using the RANDBETWEEN. Get your copy of these examples in a live Google Sheet.

Purpose

This function returns a random decimal between 0 and 1.

Video Tutorial

Syntax

=RAND()

Similar Functions

RANDBETWEEN – Generates a random integer with a value between two numbers supplied to the function

RANDARRAY – Generates an array of random numbers

Examples

Example 1 – Simple Use of the RAND Function

The RAND function does not need any inputs.

RAND function
RAND Function

When you type =RAND() into a cell, Google Sheets returns a random decimal value less than 1.

Example 2 – Creating Larger Decimals

Depending on the layout of your spreadsheet, you may want a larger random decimal than those created by the RAND function. This technique adds to the function, creating a small formula to enable a larger range of numbers.

Using the RAND function plus a formula to make a larger decimal
RAND With Extra Formula

=RAND()*(b-a)+a

To increase the output of the function, we multiply it by(b-a)+a, which creates an output between a and b. To generate a random decimal between 7 and 13, we use the formula below.

=RAND()*(13-7)+7

Live Examples in Sheets

Go to this spreadsheet for examples along with RANDBETWEEN and RANDARRAY that you can study and use anywhere you would like.

Notes

  • The output of RAND changes whenever the spreadsheet changes or reloads (like TODAY, NOW, RANDARRAY, and RANDBETWEEN).
    • If you want the output to be static, consider using Copy and then Paste special as a value.
  • Avoid using too many RAND functions in your spreadsheet, as it can slow it down with the extra recalculations.
  • To force the random number to be recalculated more frequently, go to the File -> Settings -> Calculations, then change the setting from On change to On change and every minute or On change and every hour.

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