How to Randomly Select a Winner in Excel


Often you may want to randomly select a winner from some list of names in Excel.

Fortunately this is easy to do by using the following formula:

=INDEX(A2:A13,RANDBETWEEN(1,ROWS(A2:A13)),1)

This particular formula selects a random winner from the list of names in the range A2:A13.

To select a random winner from a different range, simply change A2:A13 to whichever range contains the list of names.

The following example shows how to use this formula in practice.

Example: How to Select a Random Winner in Excel

Suppose we have the following list of names in Excel:

Now suppose we would like to randomly select one of the names from this list to be the winner of a prize.

To do so, we can type the following formula into cell C2:

=INDEX(A2:A13,RANDBETWEEN(1,ROWS(A2:A13)),1)

The following screenshot shows how to use this formula in practice:

Excel how to select random winner

The formula returns the name of Eric, which is the winner randomly selected by the formula.

Note that we can run the formula again and pick a winner at random by double clicking on cell C2 and pressing Enter:

This time the formula returns the name of John as the random winner from the list.

Each time we run this formula, each name in the list has an equal chance of randomly being selected as the winner.

How This Formula Works

Recall the formula that we used to pick a random winner from the list:

=INDEX(A2:A13,RANDBETWEEN(1,ROWS(A2:A13)),1)

Here is how this formula works:

First, the ROWS function returns the total number of rows in the range A2:A13, which is 12.

Next, the RANDBETWEEN function returns a random integer between 1 and 12.

Lastly, the INDEX function returns the name in the range A2:A13 that corresponds to the row number returned by the RANDBETWEEN function.

The end result is that we’re able to randomly select a name from the list of names in the range A2:A13.

Additional Resources

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in Excel:

Excel: Generate Random Number Between Range
Excel: How to Randomly Select Cells Based on Criteria
Excel: How to Select a Random Sample

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