How to create lots of random text quickly and why?

This is an interesting feature of Word since its earliest version. It allows you to generate random text – and lots of it.

You’d probably be asking yourself: Who needs random text and why?

Word generate random text

Read on to find out …

Estimated reading time 7 min

The Need

Other than Windows – Microsoft Office is the most widely installed product across the world. It also means that maximum number of technical training programs conducted in the world also focus on Microsoft Office. The most commonly used product amongst Office tools is Word. Remember that Outlook uses Word as an email editor.

Now imagine that you are a trainer teaching Word to your participants. You start with a blank document. What next?

You cannot teach anything unless there is a document. You may be in some training center with a freshly installed Office setup. There will be no documents available. You have not had a chance to give all the participants a copy of sample documents.

Now how do you teach people Word with a blank document?

You ask them to write a paragraph. That is a nightmare. Most people will type random things like this…

fdsajkfds ljklfdsajf;ldksjf dlsakjfdsl;akjadl;kfjds orfjewoifemfksdafoijjf dsyoafjdsflkdsj fdslkjfdsalkfjdsfld sajfdslkj flkfjdskfjdifweojfewio efwcmkmdoiewmcweioacmewoi fdsalkmfdsl kjfds fjd fdsjlkfjed foi2ewefo wslfkdsaflkdfsd

What will you teach here? No words, no sentences, random keystrokes.

Some people make an earnest but excruciatingly slow effort to create a genuine sounding paragraph. Usually these people will have a very slow typing speed. So they will take pains to type with 1 or 2 fingers. By the time they finish creating the paragraph, the rest of random types are distracted and asleep (at least mentally!)

Now that everyone has something in their document… can you start teaching?

Unfortunately not. Because you have no idea what people have written.

This is the problem – primarily faced by trainers.

But wait – everyone of you is not a trainer. Fine. But are you a learner of Word?
Of course you are.

Therefore, the problem faced by the trainer is also faced by individuals. If we are learning Word on our own, we want some text in the document which is better than randomly typed gibberish.

This problem was noticed by Microsoft long back and they added a very useful feature.

The ability to instantly create text which looks and behaves like a regular document. No spelling mistakes, no manual typing, no endless sentences.

The Solution

Try this. Open a new, blank word document. Type the following and press Enter.

=rand() SNAGHTML11de86cb

In case of Excel, this will generate a random decimal number between zero and one. But we are using Word.

Word now creates few nice looking paragraphs with few sentences in each paragraph. What exactly the sentences will be depends upon the version of Word. I am using Word 2013. This is what I get.

random text dummy text

In earlier versions you may get different text, different number of paragraph and sentences per paragraph.

But the point is, this text looks and feels like a regular document. Without any effort.

So if you are a trainer, you know exactly what is seen on each participant PC. You don’t have to check. Now you can blindly tell them – Press CTRL HOME – Press CTRL RIGHT ARROW three times and you will be on the word “powerful”. Really powerful!

As a learner, you can also use this feature to create some quick text and try different features of Word. Otherwise you would be wasting time opening some existing document and copy pasting some part of it. Even if this is an acceptable option, you never know what formatting and settings are getting copied from the document. You are trying to learn Word. So you want unadulterated, unformatted, clean text.

That is the purpose the RAND() function serves.

Remember that this will work only if you type this function on a new paragraph. If you type it in between a paragraph, it will not expand.

Very nice. Now let us go further.

The text in new versions of Word is not just random text. It explains some new features of Word. Given below is the default text showing in Word 2013. I have highlighted features in Bold.

Video provides a powerful way to help you prove your point. When you click Online Video, you can paste in the embed code for the video you want to add. You can also type a keyword to search online for the video that best fits your document.

To make your document look professionally produced, Word provides header, footer, cover page, and text box designs that complement each other. For example, you can add a matching cover page, header, and sidebar. Click Insert and then choose the elements you want from the different galleries.

Themes and styles also help keep your document coordinated. When you click Design and choose a new Theme, the pictures, charts, and SmartArt graphics change to match your new theme. When you apply styles, your headings change to match the new theme.

Save time in Word with new buttons that show up where you need them. To change the way a picture fits in your document, click it and a button for layout options appears next to it. When you work on a table, click where you want to add a row or a column, and then click the plus sign.

Reading is easier, too, in the new Reading view. You can collapse parts of the document and focus on the text you want. If you need to stop reading before you reach the end, Word remembers where you left off – even on another device.

Controlling the paragraphs and sentences

It gives few paragraphs and few sentences. But what if I want to work on a very long document and practice – say – navigation. The default RAND() output does not even fill a single page.

Don’t worry. That has also been thought of. This is not a dumb function. You can ask it to create specific number of paragraphs of specific length.

It takes two parameters

=rand( number of paragraphs, number of sentences per paragraph)

If you type …

=rand(10,10) SNAGHTML11de86cb

… you will get this in Word 2013 – two pages full of text and one paragraph on the third page.

how to create lots of dummy text quickly

If you really want lots of text, you can try bigger numbers. The idea is not to stress Word’s capability of generating paragraph. The idea is to use this feature to your advantage. From some quick testing I performed, the limit in Word 2013 appears to be around 140 paragraphs and 140 sentences. This creates a 389 page document!

Practical uses of random text

Any feature must have some benefits and must solve some problem or cater to some need.

From that point of view we already have two convincing usage scenarios.

Trainers can use this to create quick documents

Ideally create =rand(10,10) so that we have few pages to work with. If you want the text to have a specific format, choose the format first on the blank document or new paragraph and then type the rand command.

If you want the text to be in a particular style, apply the style first to the blank paragraph and then use the rand command.

Anyone of us can use this for learning features of Word

This is easy. We already discussed this scenario. How many paragraphs you should make? Depends upon what you are learning. For example if you are learning how to position images in a page, you must have at least one page of text. If you are learning about headers, footers, pagination, layout, etc., you must have many more pages, say 10.

You choose and experiment with it. But is that all? No way. There are more uses.

Filling layouts quickly

Often we use Word to creates flyers, newsletters, whitepapers, case studies, reports, posters, etc. Usually in these cases we use a ready template or create our own. These templates typically contain either tables for laying out various elements or they use textboxes with different formatting options to create different parts of the document. Here is a template for a marketing flyer.

There are specific areas marked for title, body text, a quote, a side bar and so on. The font color, font type, the style, the background color – all that has already been decided. There is only one missing piece – there is no text in it!

Fill layouts with dummy text

Potentially you could copy paste some text from an existing document, but there is a good chance that there will be some formatting applied to the source text and it will interfere with the local formatting of the newsletter design.

This is when you use =rand() with different paragraphs and sentences parameters to fill the layout instantly with text and get the visual feel of the final appearance.


In fact, newer templates from Office Online come preloaded with the RAND() for your convenience.

Older version of RAND()

In earlier versions of Word, the sentence shown was different. To get that use the following command


This shows the same sentence repeatedly.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

I am some of you will recognize this sentence. This sentence is special because it contains every character from A to Z. In the good old days, this sentence was used for teaching typing.

The standard text used in publishing and graphic design

In page making, typography and graphic design, the standard filler text is…

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Maecenas porttitor congue massa. Fusce posuere, magna sed pulvinar ultricies, purus lectus malesuada libero, sit amet commodo magna eros quis urna.

Nunc viverra imperdiet enim. Fusce est. Vivamus a tellus.

Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Proin pharetra nonummy pede. Mauris et orci.

Aenean nec lorem. In porttitor. Donec laoreet nonummy augue.

Suspendisse dui purus, scelerisque at, vulputate vitae, pretium mattis, nunc. Mauris eget neque at sem venenatis eleifend. Ut nonummy.

This text can be inserted using the command…


In case of rand.old or lorem, the same syntax of number of paragraphs and sentences per paragraph works.

Where do I use RAND()

I use Rand() during all demos and training sessions related to Word. However, there is a special case which is usually not known but I find it very handy.

The most important feature of Word is Styles. While demonstrating styles, I impress upon people that as soon as you type a heading or subheading, you must apply the related styles Heading 1 to Heading 9.

I want to show the real life, practical way of using Word. Therefore, I don’t create long text first and then add the heading paragraphs.

Therefore after typing each heading and applying style, I need to fill lot of text to create a long document quickly. I don’t want to waste time typing =rand(10,10) after typing every heading paragraph.

This is where a nice functionality comes in use.

Type =rand(10,10) once. Select it and Cut it (CTRL X). Anytime you want the random text, just press Enter to add a new paragraph and PASTE (CTRL V). You would expect the command to be pasted as it is. But Word is so smart that it does not paste the command at all. It automatically expands the command and adds ten paragraphs with ten sentences each.

So the sequence becomes like this…

    1. Type heading
    2. Apply relevant heading style
    3. Press Enter
    4. Paste
    5. and repeat steps 1 to 4 quickly

Quick text in Outlook

As Outlook uses Word as the editor, everything mentioned above works in Outlook as well. Anywhere there is a body – Mail, Calendar or Task it will work.

Quick text in PowerPoint

You will be surprised to know that this rand functionality is not limited to Word.

It works in the Notes area of PowerPoint as well! It works in any textbox and notes area in PowerPoint. This is very useful to create quick content in PowerPoint.

=rand() in PowerPoint produces the “quick brown fox” sequence. The parameters also work as expected.

lorem() also works in PowerPoint. But it only accepts the number of paragraphs parameter. The sentences per paragraph setting does not have any effect in PowerPoint. It can only produce upto 3 paragraphs. Not more than that.

Rand() in Excel

This is a formal random number generation function in Excel. It creates a decimal number between zero and one. (Actually it is a pesudo-random number)

Special use: Creating lots of bullets using Rand()

This is a nice and easy way to create lots of bullets quickly.

  1. Go to a new paragraph and type =rand(1,2).
  2. This will add one paragraph with two sentences
  3. Now select the text and go to Replace dialog (CTRL H)
  4. Type <spacebar> in the Find textbox and type ^p in the replace box
  5. Choose Replace all
  6. Now all words will be put in separate paragraphs
  7. Apply bullets
  8. Simple – is it not?


Use RAND() and learn Word more quickly and easily. Enjoy.


One Response

Queries | Comments | Suggestions | Wish list

%d bloggers like this: