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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Excel Tip: Handy (and free) online tool for generating test data

Just a short post this week to tell you about a very handy little tool I found online.

If you develop as many spreadsheets as me, you will come across many situations where you need to enter some sample data into a spreadsheet to test it.

This can be pretty easy if it is numbers (you can use an excel function such as RANDBETWEEN, for example), but if you need a list of names, this can be a bit more tedious.

Aside: I've just realised that I don't have an earlier post on random number functions to link to in the above pararagraph, so expect to see that in the next few weeks!

For names, I normally start making them up, but this gets harder than you think once you have exhausted Fred Bloggs, John Smith, etc! It's also not the best use of my time!

I had a spreadsheet last week where I had to test it with the names of around 50 employees, which I had to make up. I thought a quick Google might be a better idea - and I came across a simple, yet ideal, on-line tool.

The perfectly titled listofrandomnames.com fitted the bill perfectly.

Within a few seconds I had 50 names to paste into my spreadsheet. I have to say that they weren't necessarily everyday names, but that just made them a bit interesting. Who wouldn't be impressed by a moniker as splendid as Sheridan Wolfenbarger?

There are a few quick choices to make:

  • 5, 10, 20, 30 or 50 names?
  • Male, Female or Both?
  • First Names Only or Full Names?
  • And even whether you require them to be alliterative!
Then the site generates your list on screen. You can choose then to spit it out as a pdf or even have the names sprinkled through a lorem ipsum filler text. For Excel, however, the most useful option is to List in a Text Area. From here you can simply copy and paste the list into your spreadsheet! Voila, no more pondering over made up names!



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7 comments:

  1. Brilliant! Amazing what people put up for the use of others. Thanks for pointing it out. I got Solange Baccus.

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  2. Oh Glen, I just love this one!
    What a gem when you want a list of names for trainees to practise the Text to Columns tool.
    Thanks for sharing :)

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  3. Fabulous, thank you.

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  4. There's a tool that will help with that in Excel here:

    http://officepowerups.com/2013/09/30/generate-random-demographic-data/

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  5. Great post,Thanks for providing us this great knowledge,Keep it up.
    A good blog.
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