In everyday situations, casual Excel users write numbers manually in the cells when they need to create random four-digit numbers. It takes so much time and effort. Yet there are faster ways to fill thousands of cells with random numbers. In this guide, we will discuss five techniques as a random 4-digit number generator in Excel for you.
There are many circumstances when you may need to create random numbers. Suppose you must send a file to someone that includes confidential information. But you do not want the recipient to see some specific values. What do you do? You replace those cells with randomly generated four-digit numbers. This example is just one use of this number generator in Excel.
Even for some testing purposes or data analysis, knowing how to generate four-digit numbers pays off massively. We understand this necessity, so we are creating this guide for you. Read each method carefully and practice all the steps as you see in the demonstrations. For a better understanding, use the practice workbook that we are sharing with you in this guide.
Let’s jump in!
Random 4 Digit Number Generator in Excel: 5 Quick Approaches
Not many methods work most efficiently when talking about four-digit random number generators in Excel. However, we do not include anything in our guides unless it offers the best possible outcome. In this article, too, we are maintaining this idea.
Here, we will explain the five best methods for generating random 4-digit numbers in Excel. We will attach pictures for each step in all the methods. And whenever we use a formula, we will break it down with proper explanations. The goal here is to ensure a seamless learning experience for you.
Method 1: With the RANDARRAY Function
As the first technique for generating 4-digit random numbers in Excel, we will show how you can use the RANDARRAY function in the best possible way. It is one of the latest functions added in Excel to make work easier.
The RANDARRAY function works wonders when you want to generate four-digit numbers in Excel. The function returns random numbers in an array based on your input. The formula for the RANDARRAY function is =RANDARRAY([rows],[columns],[min],[max],[integer]).
- RANDARRAY: The function.
- rows: Optional argument. The number of rows you want to fill with random numbers.
- column: Optional argument. The number of columns you would like the function to fill up with random numbers.
- min: Another optional argument. It refers to the minimum number or digit you would like RANDARRAY to return.
- max: Optional argument. It is about the maximum number you would be returned. The min and max argument works as the formula’s lower and upper limits.
- integer: Boolean value for whether you want to get a whole or decimal number from your operation.
Now let’s use the RANDARRAY formula and generate an array of random four-digit numbers in Excel!
1. Select a cell in an empty column and then start writing the formula. The “rows” argument determines how many cells in a column you want to fill up with random numbers, and “columns” specifies the number of columns in your array to be filled up. Write the values you want.
2. If you want to make your random digits be any four-digit numbers, then for the “min” argument, write “1000”. Then for the “max” argument, put “9999”. Next, select “TRUE” for the “integer” argument.
In this demonstration, we wanted 12 random four-digit numbers in 1 column. And we limited the random numbers to below 4300 and above 4234. Therefore, all the random four-digit numbers we will get in this example will be between 4234 and 4300.
3. After completing the formula, close the parenthesis and press the Enter button.
4. The cells (or rows in the selected column) have been filled with random numbers. You can see our example in the picture below.
5. If you want to randomize the numbers, select the cells and press F9.
Every single time you hit the F9 button, the numbers will randomize. It is helpful if you are unsatisfied with the output and want new numbers by randomizing them even further.
Easy-peasy! However, this dynamic RANDARRAY function is available only in MS Excel 365 and Excel 2021. If your Excel program is older than that, follow the methods we are discussing next.
Method 2: By Combining RAND and ROUND Functions
Combining RAND and ROUND functions allows you to generate random 4-digit numbers in Excel. Implementing this powerful combo ensures that you get your random numbers despite being in earlier versions of Excel. Anything from Excel 2007 and onward editions lets you work with these functions.
Generally, the RAND function returns a random decimal number between 0 and 1. However, there is a way to generate random whole numbers with this RAND function. The formula is =RAND()*(b-a)+a. Here, “b” refers to the max number, and “a” is the min number. You can put values according to your needs. And finally, the ROUND function will help us eliminate the fraction numbers from the result.
Therefore, we are nesting RAND within ROUND for this method. When combined for a completely random four-digit number, the formula stands =ROUND(RAND()*(9999-1000)+1000,0). The ROUND formula’s arguments are =ROUND(number,num_digits). We are putting the RAND formula, =RAND(), in the “number” argument of the ROUND formula. And we put “0” for the number of digits to remove the fractions.
We will play with the max value and min value in this demonstration. Let’s see the process below.
1. Write the formula for this method: =ROUND(RAND()*(9999-1000)+1000,0).
For this demonstration, we wanted to keep the numbers limited between 2000 and 4000. Therefore, we put “4000” as the “b” or max value and “2000” as the “a” or min value.
2. After writing the formula, press Enter. You will see the output of the formula. Click and drag the Fill Handle in the corner of your cell to fill up the column with the formula.
3. You will see that the column has been filled with random four-digit numbers. We wanted our numbers to be between 2000 and 4000, so our random digits are from that range. For any random four-digit outputs, make sure to write “9999” and “1000” respectively, for “b” and “a” values.
4. To randomize those values further, select the range of cells and press F9.
There you go! It wasn’t difficult, was it?
Method 3: Using the RANDBETWEEN Function
The RANDBETWEEN function is excellent for generating four-digit random numbers in Excel. It is much simpler than what we have discussed so far. The reason behind its less popularity is Excel’s version compatibility. It works only in Excel 2021 and Excel 365.
The RANDBETWEEN function generates a range of random numbers between the values mentioned. The formula’s syntax for this function is =RANDBETWEEN(bottom, top). The “bottom” argument here refers to the range’s minimum value or lower limit. And the “top” argument is the function’s maximum value or upper limit.
If you want to generate purely random four-digit numbers, put “1000” in the bottom argument and “9999” in the top argument. In that case, the formula will be =RANDBETWEEN(1000,9999). However, in this demonstration, we will generate four-digit random numbers between 1200 and 1300. We are doing it to show that you can limit your range any way you like!
Let’s see how to do it, then.
1. Write the formula and then press Enter.
2. You will see that a random number has been generated. Again, if you want your numbers to be any random four-digit number, make sure to put “1000” as the “bottom” argument and “9999” as the top argument in the formula.
3. Fill the range of cells with the formula based on your needs using the Fill Handle.
4. If you want to randomize the numbers further, select the cells with the RANDBETWEEN formula and press the F9 key. You can keep pressing the key until you are satisfied with your random numbers.
Method 4: Using the Analysis ToolPak Add-in
If you like avoiding formulas in your work as much as possible, this method is especially for you! You will need to load an add-in called Analysis ToolPak within Excel first. Afterward, you can use it to generate random numbers.
In two parts, we will show how to use Analysis ToolPak in this method. First, we will demonstrate the process for loading or activating this add-in. Then we will explain how it is used to generate random 4-digit numbers.
Enabling Analysis ToolPak Add-in
Go to File in your Excel, and then click Options. You may also use Alt + F + T key combinations to open the Excel Options window. And when this window opens up, click Add-ins in the left column.
Now, on the right, under Inactive Applications Add-ins, click the Analysis ToolPak option, and then click the Go button as marked (3) in the picture below.
A new mini-window will pop open. Make sure to check the checkbox beside the Analysis ToolPak option and then click OK. You will be taken back to the previous window. Click OK there as well to complete the process.
You should be able to use the Analysis ToolPak add-in now in your Excel program!
Using Analysis ToolPak to Generate 4-Digit Random Numbers
Now we will show how to use the Analysis ToolPak add-in to generate random numbers. In this case, it is going to be four-digit random numbers.
1. First, go to the Data ribbon and click the Data Analysis option in the Analysis group.
2. In the list of Analysis Tools, find the Random Number Generation option, select it, and then click OK.
3. A new mini-window with options will pop open. Before you do anything else, click on the drop-down menu for Distribution and select Uniform from the list.
4. Now some options will change in the window. Time to input necessary values in all the options in this window. First, see the image below and then follow the explanations given next.
We will explain all the options in the window one by one.
- Number of Variables: It refers to the number of columns where you want to generate your random numbers. Put “1” if you are going to use a single column.
- Number of Random Numbers: The number of cells or rows in your column(s). It may also simply mean the number of cells you want to occupy with randomly generated numbers.
- Distribution: The option for this has been selected in the previous step.
- Parameters: It refers to the range of numbers from where you want this add-in to generate your random numbers. If you wish to get any four-digit number, put “1000” in the first box and “9999” in the second box. We put “1200” and “1300” in those boxes to generate four-digit numbers between 1200 and 1300.
- Output Range: The array or range of cells where you intend to put those randomly generated numbers. Click on the box beside it, and select your cell range.
After completing this process, click the OK button.
5. Now you should see that the cells you selected in your Output Range in the previous step have been filled with four-digit numbers!
However, the numbers may have decimals in them. In that case, select all those cells with randomly generated numbers and click the right button on your mouse. Then select the Format Cells option. Now, click on the Number tab in the just-opened Format Cells window. Then choose Number from the list under the Category. Put “0” on the Decimal places option and then click OK.
Now your numbers will not have any decimal values in them. You have your ideally generated four-digit random numbers!
Pretty cool, right?
Method 5: With Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)
Visual Basic for Applications, or VBA, offers an excellent way to generate 4-digit numbers in Excel randomly. It is quick and so effective. You don’t need to write anything at all. Copy the formula that we will share with you in this method and then paste it into your VBA editor to be done with it!
The best part of this method is that you can generate hundreds or thousands of numbers with the same code. You need to select the cells where you want to create four-digit numbers, go to the VBA editor, paste and run the code, and witness the ultimate sorcery!
Let’s see the process below.
1. First, select the cells where you want to generate random four-digit numbers. Throughout this guide, we used 12 cells as an example. So, we also decided on the same 12 cells for this demonstration.
After selecting the cells, head to the Developer tab in your Excel. Then, in the Code group, click Visual Basic. Suppose you like to use shortcuts or don’t see the Developer tab. In that case, you may press Alt + F11 buttons on your keyboard to open Visual Basic.
2. Now, in the VBA window, click the Insert menu, and then from the list, click on Module.
3. A Module window will open. Copy the code from below.
Dim MySelection As Range, nmbr As Integer
For Each MySelection In Selection
nmbr = Int((9999 – 1000) * Rnd() + 1000)
MySelection = nmbr
And now, paste it into the Module editor.
Finally, click the little green play button marked (2) in the picture above to Run the code. Or you can press the F5 button to run it. Then close the window to return to your worksheet.
4. You will see that the cells you initially selected before going into the VBA editor have been filled with randomly generated four-digit numbers.
5. You can generate any amount of four-digit numbers. To do it, you must select the cells first, even if they are in thousands.
Then go to the VBA editor and paste the code. Finally, run it by clicking the green Run button or pressing F5.
After returning to your worksheet, you will see that four-digit random numbers have occupied your selected cells.
So simple yet highly effective!
Additional Tip: Remember that the more cells you select, the longer VBA may take to complete the operation. It also depends on your computer’s processing power. Your Excel program may stop working temporarily. But do not lose patience and wait for the VBA to fill up your cells with random four-digit numbers.
In this guide, we discussed the best five methods as random 4-digit number generators in Excel. Out of those five methods, Method 1 and Method 3 require the user to have Excel 365 or Excel 2021 program. The other three methods work flawlessly in Excel 2007 and later versions.
Although we talked about five different methods in this guide, they are all unique. Method 1 uses a dynamic array formula to generate random four-digit numbers. Method 2 may seem a bit complicated, but it is for everyone, irrespective of their Excel versions. Method 3 utilizes a newly-added function in Excel, and Method 4 uses a handy add-in.
Last but not least, Method 5 offers you the best way to generate four-digit numbers in Excel randomly. The idea of using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) may seem intimidating to some. However, you can copy and paste the code from our guide, and your work will be done in under a few seconds!
We encourage everyone to practice the methods as they read through the guide. Be sure to use the practice workbook we shared in this guide. With some effort, you will soon become proficient at generating four-digit random numbers in Excel.