How To Create a Random Sample in Excel (With Tips)

How to generate a random sample using Excel
  1. Add a new column within the spreadsheet and name it Random_number.
  2. In the first cell underneath your heading row, type “= RAND()”
  3. Press “Enter,” and a random number will appear in the cell.
  4. Copy and paste the first cell into the other cells in this column.

How to Create a Random Sample in Excel (in 3 minutes!)

Steps to create a random sample in Excel

You can create a random sample from your data using Excel by doing the following:

1. Add a new column

Add a new column for the random sample next to the last column in your data set. Right-click on the letter in the top column of your spreadsheet to add a new column. You can choose “Insert” from a drop-down menu to add a column. You can name this column “random” to organize your data.

2. Enter the formula into the first cell

Enter the Excel formula for random sample generation in the first cell under the “random” column heading.


Any random number between zero and one can be produced by Excel’s RAND() function. This is helpful for creating random samples because it aids in rearranging your data and choosing an impartial sample size. When you enter this formula into an empty cell and click Enter, a random number will appear in its place.

3. Apply the formula to all cells in column

Click on the cell to apply this formula to every cell in the “random” column. The cell’s edges are highlighted, and the bottom right corner has a tiny black cross. To apply the Rand() formula to all of the cells in the “random” column, double-click on this black cross, which is a fill-handle. This inserts a random number into each column that corresponds to your data set.

4. Copy and paste random values

By highlighting them, pick out all of the cells in the “random” column. By choosing the column’s first cell and dragging the cursor all the way to the bottom, you can complete this task quickly. To copy every number in the cells, hold down the “Ctrl” and “C” keys on your keyboard at the same time. Paste the numbers into the cells by pressing the “Ctrl” and “V” keys after that.

This step is crucial because it produces a fresh set of random values each time you refresh or reopen your Excel worksheet. You can stop the values from changing by pasting the values into the cells.

5. Sort the column

Left-click on your computer mouse or trackpad and swipe the cursor across the columns you want to sort; they should all now contain numbers. Once the columns have been highlighted, move your cursor over or select the “Home” option from the toolbar. This summons a drop-down menu. Choose “Sort and Filter” and then “Custom Sort” from this menu.

There is a pop-up window that offers the option to sort by column. For this, choose the column with the random values. Select “Cell Values” as the “Sort On” option, and then let the order be whatever the default is. Although smallest to largest is frequently the default order, since you are collecting a random sample of your data, it is irrelevant how the data is arranged.

What is a random sample in Excel?

A random sample is a small group of data that is representative of a larger set of data. Utilizing random sampling can help you streamline your research, represent your observations in a random manner, and improve the objectivity of your presentation.

Excel’s random sample feature helps you eliminate any bias you might have when choosing a small number of observations. For instance, the marketing division might apply this strategy to choose a group of customers at random to receive rewards for being among the first to try a new product. When promoting the product, the marketers might mention a chance drawing for a cash prize for a select few of the first 500 customers.

Tips on creating random samples in Excel

To navigate an Excel worksheet and generate random samples, follow these tips:

Learn keyboard short keys

Gaining proficiency with short keys, or button combinations that carry out commands, on your keyboard, can boost your productivity at work. You can speed up these processes by using shortcuts like “Ctrl + C” or “Ctrl + V” rather than highlighting cells, going to “File,” and then selecting a command like “Copy,” “Paste,” or “Save.” Knowing the short key combination “Ctrl + Z”—an undo button—is also useful. If you accidentally delete data or enter the incorrect function, this is beneficial. You can start over and undo work using this quick key.

Save your work

When analyzing data in Excel, it’s a good idea to frequently save your work to prevent losing or otherwise compromising the data. By simultaneously pressing the “Ctrl” and “S” keys on your keyboard, you can save changes to your worksheet. Additionally, you can choose “Save” from the “File” drop-down menu by going to the “File” tab at the top of the page.

Choose a sample size

The number of data observations you want to use from your larger data set is known as the sample size. When creating a random sample in Excel, try to decide on an appropriate sample size. You could choose your sample size before you see the list of the rearranged data in order to maintain objectivity.

When selecting your sample size, it’s crucial to think about what size will accurately represent your data while remaining modest enough to be used for presentations. When choosing a sample size for this data set, for instance, if there are 100 data observations, you could pick at least 25 observations as a random sample.


How do I create a randomizer in Excel?

Generate Random Numbers using RANDBETWEEN function in Excel
  1. Choose the cell where you want the random numbers to appear.
  2. In the active cell, enter =RANDBETWEEN(1,100).
  3. Hold the Control key and Press Enter.

How do you create a random sample?

There are 4 key steps to select a simple random sample.
  1. Step 1: Define the population. Select the population you want to research first.
  2. Step 2: Decide on the sample size. The next step is to choose the size of your sample.
  3. Step 3: Randomly select your sample. …
  4. Step 4: Collect data from your sample.

How do you create a sample data set in Excel?

There are 4 key steps to select a simple random sample.
  1. Step 1: Define the population. Select the population you want to research first.
  2. Step 2: Decide on the sample size. The next step is to choose the size of your sample.
  3. Step 3: Randomly select your sample. …
  4. Step 4: Collect data from your sample.

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