Excel Random Student Name Generator

by Matthew Kuo on December 25, 2013

in Excel, Excel Templates

To learn more about Excel, go to the organized listing of all my Excel tutorial posts or review the most popular Excel books on Amazon

While cold calling is practice that most students dread, from a teacher’s perspective, it’s an effective way to encourage students to prepare for and participate in class.

We’ve all been on the wrong side of this situation at least once in our lives, coming to class completely unprepared.  And the natural thing to do when unprepared is to attempt to lower our odds of being called on, either by avoiding eye contact, sitting in the back of the classroom, or just not showing up.  When students get away with this, it lowers the incentive to prepare and basically allows some of your students to slack off.

The only way to fix this problem is to make cold calling completely random.  All you need is a list of your students’ names and the following Excel template.

Download the Excel Random Student Name Generator by clicking below:

Excel Random Student Name Generator

Instructions for Setup

The template is simple to use.  All you have to do is go to the ‘Student Input’ tab and paste in the names of your students.  This current template allows for a list of up to 300 student names.

Random Student Name Generator 01

How it Works

As you can see above, each student on the list is assigned a random number with Excel’s RAND() function.

The MAX() function is used to determine which student has been assigned the highest number. Then it performs an INDEX MATCH lookup on that maximum number to determine the student name.

Random Student Name Generator 02

For you Excel nerds out there, those higher on the list do technically have a higher probability of being selected.  With the way the INDEX MATCH formula works, if two students receive the exact same number from Excel’s RAND() function, the student higher up on the list will be selected.  However, those of you who’ve used RAND() before know that the likelihood of two numbers being the same is extremely low.

Once you have the data loaded, the template transposes the list into a table on the ‘Random Student Generator’ tab.  This is done using the TRANSPOSE() array function.

Random Student Name Generator 03

From here, all you have to do is hold down the F9 key to shuffle between different student names.  Conditional formatting has been setup so that the selected student will be highlighted in red within the table.

Random Student Name Generator 04

Excel Random Student Name Generator

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Bruce April 6, 2014 at 5:44 am

Hello, great work..that is that what i needed. Is it possible to get the password, because i want to add some features and pictures. greets


Matthew Kuo April 9, 2014 at 10:39 am

Hi Bruce,

Thanks for reading. Per policy with the co-founder of this website, we don’t distribute passwords for branded templates. Sorry for the inconvenience.



Brandon June 6, 2014 at 12:01 pm

This document here is absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing. I am wondering, however, how would one organize the code so there are no duplicates when shuffling through the names.


KANSIGO CHAKUPEWA NKWABI January 31, 2015 at 12:19 am



KANSIGO CHAKUPEWA NKWABI January 31, 2015 at 12:20 am

i really like how you did it,its quite impressing


KANSIGO CHAKUPEWA NKWABI January 31, 2015 at 12:22 am

keep it up ,its cool


Rajkumar Shukla August 2, 2015 at 12:56 am

is it possible that this sheet only show the number once. doesn’t repeat the name again.


Kevin February 26, 2016 at 5:09 am

Is it possible to put more than 300 names?
Or wil it not work then?


Matthew Kuo March 13, 2016 at 5:46 pm

Hi Kevin,

Not currently. The base format is just 300. To put in more names, you would need to update the TRANSPOSE() array formula that is built into the template.



BLAKE BACH February 26, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Is it possible to have the students’ GPA appear with the name selected in the random generator? (instead of it being hidden when randomly selecting name)
Also, is there any way to track (by week) the students that have been selected in the random generator??


genius April 1, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Thank you very much for sharing an excellent template with us but the problem arise when we see there is a password, if you really want to teach someone then I think you must not apply the password on it, because if prospective person want to apply this format somewhere or he wants to learn further then how can he do this so as far as my concerned is that you must teach all the tricks you have applied in the sheet or sheets, it is my humble request with you, now it is totally on you, but once again thank you very much for sharing an excellent template with us


Betty November 15, 2016 at 5:51 pm

How do we update the transpose array if we want to add more than 300?


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