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Generate random number by given certain mean and standard deviation in Excel

In some certain cases, you may want to generate a series of random numbers based on given specific mean and standard deviation, how could you quickly solve this problem? Now this tutorial will introduce a way for you to handle with it in Excel.

Generate random number by given mean and standard deviation

arrow blue right bubble Generate random number by given mean and standard deviation

To solve this problem, you need to do as below steps:

1. Firstly, you need to type your needed mean and standard deviation into two empty cells, here, I select A1 and A2. See screenshot:doc-randomize-by-mean-stdv-1

2. Then in cell B3, type this formula =NORMINV(RAND(),$B$1,$B$2), and drag the fill handle to the range you need. See screenshot:doc-randomize-by-mean-stdv-2

Tip: In the formula =NORMINV(RAND(),$B$1,$B$2), $B$1 indicates the mean, $B$2 indicates the standard deviation.

3. Then in cell D1 and D2, you need to calculate the mean and standard deviation of the random number you has inserted in step 2. In D1, calculate the mean, type =AVERAGE(B3:B16), press Enter key and in D2, calculate the standard deviation, type =STDEV.P(B3:B16) and press Enter key.

Tip: In Excel 2007, you need to type the formula =STDEVP(B3:B16) to calculate the standard deviation of the first random numbers.


Tip: B3: B16 is the range you randomize numbers in step 2.

4. Now you can generate the real random numbers you need. In cell D3, type this formula =$B$1+(B3-$D$1)*$B$2/$D$2, and drag the fill hand to the range you need. See screenshot:

Tip: B1 indicates the mean you need, B2 indicates the standard deviation you need, B3 indicates the first cell of your first random numbers, D1 is the mean of first random numbers, D2 is the standard deviation of first random numbers.

You can check the mean and standard deviation of the final random number series.

5. In cell D17, type =AVERAGR(D3:D16) and press Enter key, then in cell D18, type =STDEV.P(D3:D16) (or =STDEVP(D3:D16) in Excel 2007) and press Enter key.

Tip: D3:D16 is the range of the last random number series.

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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    John · 1 months ago
    So why do you use the NORMINV function instead of the NORM.DIST function? What benefit does having the inverse of a distribution over
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    John · 5 months ago
    Is there a way to insert upper and lower limits to this formula?
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    RobertF · 1 years ago
    Kewl. I used this to simulate market returns. However, I should mention that Mean is not the same as CAGR; i.e. I had to adjust the Mean higher to obtain my desired return.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Fenamiphos · 1 years ago
    Thank you soooo much, I've looking for this all day. Extremely helpful !
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Karisteas · 2 years ago
    Amazing! Thanks for this post. It works!
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Keo · 3 years ago
    this is really helpful, but i have a problem with negative value. what should i do?